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First Person: Jack Moreau wants a more connected Arroyo Seco

by Erika Aguilar | First Person

Jack Moreau pauses during the Dry River Walk he leads through the Arroyo Seco Bikeway and Ernest E. Debs Park on Mar. 7, 2015. Along the way, participants listened to speakers on the issues behind connecting the areas with bicycle and pedestrian transportation. Susanica Tam for KPCC

Jack Moreau describes himself as an "urban sustainability professional" seeking to "revitalize ecosystems, communities, and urban structure through community-based action." He's also a project assistant at Los Angeles Walks, a "pedestrian advocacy group."

He recently led a walk in the Arroyo Seco and talked about its beauty, its potential, and its limitations as a public space.

The Arroyo Seco is a creek that runs from the San Gabriel Valley foothills through several cities until it meets the Los Angeles River downtown.

"It's a really good bikeway, there's really good parks and tennis courts and soccer fields next to it, but there's fences that run all along it," said Moreau. Standing on stairs that lead up from the bikeway and the riverbed, he pointed out that "at the top of these stair sets are chain-link fences with no gates, no possibility for access." So "people from the community have been cutting holes in the fences," he said, adding, "it's just very obvious that we could put in more access points, it's very obvious that people want it."

"There's a lot of beautiful spaces in Highland Park and Cypress Park and all of northeast L.A., and we also have a river running through it, and this river can be the connection to all of our spaces," said Moreau. "When you talk about public health and environmental health, it's easy for everyone to agree" on the need for greater access to nature.

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