PermaTrak Observation Decks Included in Johnny Carson Park Revitalization (Burbank, CA)
Note: Segments of this article were re-published with permission from AHBE Landscape Architects and the American Society of Landscape Architect’s Southern California Chapter.
Without a major renovation since 1977, it was time for a change at Johnny Carson Park in Burbank, CA. The namesake of the popular Tonight Show host, the multi-use park has emerged out of the renovation as a lively oasis in the midst of the bustling urban highways and buildings. Located just across from NBC Studios in Burbank where Johnny Carson moved his popular show to in 1972, park goers can enjoy the impressive amenities and appreciate the project’s eco-focused efforts for the area’s water system.
AHBE Landscape Architects was the project’s landscape architect and prime consultant while the City of Burbank served as the project owner. The project narrative on the AHBE website details the scope, design goals and new features of the Johnny Carson Park revitalization:
“AHBE led a team of consultants on a $3.7 million infrastructure upgrade and sustainability-focused improvement project for the core of a 17-acre park. The work focused on the restoration of the Little Tujunga Wash Creek, which flows into the Los Angeles River and traverses the park. AHBE conducted numerous community workshops to solicit residents' feedback on the design. The creek is now a destination with enhanced habitat, recreational access, and water quality, as well as new walking paths with parcourse equipment and improved accessibility, bridges crossing the creek, picnic areas, new LED lighting, an expanded children’s play area, new acoustic concert stage, California native plant palette, and reclaimed water irrigation.”
The park revitalization also included the installation of two custom PermaTrak trapezoidal precast concrete observation platforms; one nearly 16 linear feet (LF) and almost 7 ft. wide and the other over 25 LF, and 15 ft. wide. The precast concrete PermaTrak treads were installed on cast-in-place piers, with the smaller platform requiring 7 support piers and the larger one with 21 support piers.
AHBE outlined four significant benefits of the Johnny Carson Park revitalization in the Johnny Carson Park Project Description submission to the Southern California Chapter of the ASLA. They include:
- Restoration of a tributary to the Los Angeles River
As area water quality and retention is vital, The Little Tujunga Wash Creek was uncovered and the existing concrete channel was replaced with native riparian plants that will thrive in a natural stream bed.
- Improved wildlife
The restored creek conditions provide more food, water and shelter for area wildlife, giving the community greater opportunity to enjoy the nature and wildlife.
- Recreational amenities for the community
The park’s updated amenities provide ample outdoor green space for residents and visitors to enjoy a social and active lifestyle.
- The importance of large-scale project leadership
This endeavor exemplified how integral landscape architects are in the process of creating multi-function open spaces that deliver large-scoping environmental improvements (better water quality and ground water recharge).
The Impact of the Johnny Carson Park Renovation
The park’s refreshed offerings include ample green field space, restored pathways for walkers and runners, lush vegetation, large mature trees, and the aforementioned restored meandering wash creek. Additional amenities include: outdoor fitness equipment, picnic tables, PermaTrak pedestrian platforms, a playground and public restrooms.
Southern California ASLA Chapter Design Awards
The American Society of Landscape Architect’s Southern California Chapter (So Cal ASLA) consists of 700 area members and is dedicated to “promote the profession of landscape architecture and advances the practice through advocacy, education, communication, and fellowship.”
For their visionary design work on Johnny Carson Park, AHBE Landscape Architects was awarded a 2016 Merit Award at the ASLA Southern California Chapter’s Quality of Life Awards.
“We articulated a vision to the City for transformation of an existing concrete storm channel that bisects the park into a restored natural stream – actually, a historic water body: the Little Tujunga Wash, a tributary of the Los Angeles River that conveys a significant portion of urban runoff from Burbank into the river itself. Transforming this gutter into a natural system would provide not only local benefits of habitat restoration and aquifer recharge, but also regional benefits by lessening the demand on the Los Angeles River itself.”
– excerpt from AHBE’s “Purpose of the Project” Project Description
Thanks to AHBE Landscape Architects for including the PermaTrak concrete boardwalk system on this unique and rejuvinating project, and congratulations on the SoCal ASLA Quality of Life Merit Award!
Photo credit: Sibylle Allgaier / Heliphoto (courtesy of AHBE Landscape Architects).