Avenue 18/19 Bike Lane Couplet Brings the L.A. River Bike Path closer to Downtown

Newly installed westbound Avenue 19 bike lane at Broadway

Portions of Avenue 18 and Avenue 19 in Elysian Valley were recently resurfaced as a part of a scheduled Bureau of Street Services maintenance project. Taking advantage of the scheduled street improvement, a couplet of bike lanes were installed as part of the requisite restriping work following the resurfacing. They are an important first step in a project that will eventually connect the L.A. River Bike Path to Downtown Los Angeles via a continuous on-street bikeway route. More info below the fold.

Building a Network

The L.A. River Bike Path was extended to Barclay Street through Elysian Valley in 2010.  This newest segment added an additional 2.58 miles along the L.A. River, bringing the path from Fletcher Drive in the west to its current terminus near the I-5 and I-110 interchange. Active Metrolink and Union Pacific Railroad tracks lining the river’s banks, as well as a Metro Gold Line light rail maintenance facility, currently inhibit continuing the bike path south along the river in the short term. Perhaps we’ll see a cantilevered path in the long term?

Since a more direct path along the L.A. River through Downtown Los Angeles will take some time to sort out, the City is planning on creating an alternate route that combines both path and on-street facilities to get bicyclists from the current terminus of the river path to DTLA. Plans call for the bike path to be extended along Riverside Dr. across the L.A. River (as well as Metrolink/Union Pacific R.R. tracks) via a newly reconstructed Riverside Dr. bridge.

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Riverside Drive Bridge

The Riverside Drive Bridge project will demolish the existing bridge and replace it with a new smooth curved bridge that will include a bike path. On the northern side of the bridge, at the intersection of Riverside Dr. and San Fernando Rd., a roundabout will be installed that will include landscaping and a public art feature.

Bicyclists traveling towards Downtown from here will make a left turn around the new roundabout and make their way west to the intersection of San Fernando Blvd. and Avenue 19 to make their way east and south again. Bike lanes on Avenue 18, Avenue 19, and Barranca St. will guide bicyclists to and from Spring St., where bike lanes will cross over the L.A. River on the Spring St. bridge.

To North Spring Street and Beyond

Plans are already underway for a project that will seismically retrofit and widen the Spring St. bridge to secure four auto travel lanes, bike lanes, a striped median, shoulders, and sidewalks on both sides of the bridge. The project also includes the closure of Aurora Street and Baker Street at the existing intersections with North Spring Street. Wilhardt Street will be extended to Baker Street with a new 4-way intersection at North Spring Street.

As more developments come to the L.A. River Bike Path and its connecting bikeways, LADOT Bike Blog will do our best to keep you up to date.

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