LOS ANGELES ZOO Parking Lot

The Los Angeles Zoo Parking Lot Project is one of the several Proposition O Clean Water Bond projects that will remove trash and other pollutants in urban runoff before discharge into Los Angeles' water bodies.

The Los Angeles Zoo is a major attraction in the City of Los Angeles, located in Griffith Park and next to the Los Angeles River. However, its existing main parking lot consists of 33 acres of impermeable asphalt pavement that flood during large storm events. The existing asphalt pavement throughout most of the parking lot is also damaged, creating safety issues for vehicles and pedestrians. Furthermore, stormwater runoff from the Zoo parking lot picks up trash and other pollutants as it naturally flows straight to the Los Angeles River.

The City of Los Angeles Department of Public Works will improve the existing main parking lot and implement stormwater Best Management Practices (BMPs) that will improve water quality. The parking lot improvements will upgrade the existing deteriorated parking area and demonstrate sustainable Low Impact Design (LID) principles. The BMPs for this project include:

- Bioretention cells
- Landscaping using California Native/drought tolerant plants
- Permeable pavement
- Educational signage


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These BMPs are designed to mimic natural hydrology and minimize the amount of pollutants in stormwater runoff from the parking area before it flows into the Los Angeles River. The project will reduce runoff by capturing stormwater for onsite reuse, and infiltrating stormwater to the underlying aquifer. The renovated parking lot will include efficient lighting fixtures, recycling receptacles, and an improved parking lot layout. The parking lot will also encourage alternative methods of transportation by providing easy access to bicycle paths and public transportation.

Bio-retention cells — one of several BMPs that will be used in the Los Angeles Zoo's parking lot.

The new Los Angeles Zoo Parking Lot Project will serve an educational purpose. Apart from the project being a demonstration project by the City of Los Angeles on sustainable parking lots, it will also provide an exhibit space where Zoo visitors can learn about environmental conservation, ecological sustainability, and native planting techniques.
Construction of the LA Zoo Parking Lot Project will be done in two phases. The first construction phase begins in the first quarter of 2010, and the total project construction period is approximately one year.

FAST FAQs:

Project Location: In the Los Angeles Griffith Park near the intersection of the Golden State Fwy (I-5) and Ventura Fwy (SR-134).

  • Stormwater BMPs are sized and designed to capture pollutants, trash and other debris and significantly reduce runoff that would otherwise flow directly into the Los Angeles River.
  • Ground infiltration via permeable pavement will help restore groundwater and natural hydrologic cycles.
  • The first construction phase will begin in early 2010 and all construction will be completed in early 2011.
  • There will be a temporary reduction in available parking spots during construction. The construction in the parking lot will not impact the flow of traffic outside of the parking lot.
  • Amount of parking spaces in the renovated parking lot will be approximately 10 percent less than the existing parking lot, but the flow of traffic of the new parking lot will be greatly improved.
  • Total design and construction budget: Estimated at $14 million (paid for by Proposition O Clean Water Bond funds)

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If you have questions or comments, please contact (213) 978-0317.