The Los Angeles Metro Greenway

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The Los Angeles Metro, or Metro Green, runs along Broadway and is one of the main arteries in the city. It begins just north of the Staples Center and stretches to Santa Monica, connecting the Arts District to the Sunset Strip. It is the largest urban greenway in the world, stretching three miles out.

This sprawling park, which is part of the Santa Monica Mountains Recreation Area, is home to more than 100,000 trees, most of them planted in the 1970s. Metro Green, which was built as a public open space after the Santa Monica Mountains were incorporated into the city in 1963, has a natural beauty that is truly extraordinary.

But the park is also a public health haven, and for that it should be commended. Here’s why:

First, there is the water. The lush greenway is home to streams, canals, meadows, and a waterfall. The beauty of the whole place is that the water is constantly flowing, and the park has no sewers or septic systems. What is also helpful is that, unlike most places in L.A. and beyond, Metro Green is not built on landfill. Instead it fills in a former sand and gravel pit, and the water is the most precious commodity in the park — just think about the fact that it is used as an aqueduct for L.A.’s water supply.

Metro Green was designed and created by L.A.’s Office of the Public Utilities Commissioner. In 1971 he decided the only way to deal with the polluted waste water that used to rain on downtown L.A. was to build a park where the city could dump it. The Public Utilities Commission decided that such a public park would attract visitors, so they bought the former landfill from the city of Los Angeles. According to the Office of the Public Utilities Commissioner’s report to the government,

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