On the horizon for the L.A. River Bicycle Path

LA River bike path opening 11.16.2012 3

New L.A. River bike path segment recently opened in Reseda; the Daily News has a great photo of Councilman Zine riding the new path.

City officials and residents recently celebrated the latest addition of L.A. river bike path in the city, in the West San Fernando Valley. The new 1 mile portion of bicycle path between Winnetka Ave. and Vanalden Ave. was officially opened to the public on November 16th. The official ribbon cutting ceremony drew over 60 supporters, including Mayor Villaraigosa, Councilman Dennis Zine, and Friends of the Los Angeles River founder Lewis MacAdams, among others. Phase 2 of this project is currently under construction and expected to be completed soon. It will extend the path 1 mile further, from Winnetka Ave. to Mason Ave.

A few other major projects are on the horizon for the L.A. River Bike Path. First up will be what is known as Phase 4, a 1 mile  extension to Forest Lawn Dr. from the current terminus at Riverside Drive (at Zoo Drive). This project is funded and currently in design. Also in design is a project to extend the West Valley path segment further, from Mason Ave. to Owensmouth Ave., at the river’s headwaters.

Looking further into the future, the city has plans to bring people to and from the river path at Barclay St. (where it currently ends) to Downtown. This project, known as Phase 3, will span the Riverside Dr. Bridge (at Figueroa St.) and the N. Spring St. Bridge via a combination of additional bike path and bike lanes. Additionally, the L.A. Planning Commission recently approved a  391 acre NBC Universal studio and park expansion that will parallel the L.A. riverfront for 1 mile. NBC Universal is committed to improving this portion of the bike path and has dedicated $3 million in funding to go to L.A. County for the construction of this portion of the bicycle path. They are also funding a feasibility analysis and preliminary design study on how to connect the L.A. River bike path from the 101 freeway in Studio City to Griffith Park.

In the next few weeks, here at the LADOT Bike Blog, we’ll be publishing a summary map sketching out these planned extensions. Last but not least, L.A.D.O.T. will be re-dedicating the Baum Bicycle Bridge on Thursday December 13th, From 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. Expect to hear more information about Alex Baum’s influence on bicycling in Los Angeles and details about the ceremony soon, as well.

0 replies
  1. ubrayj02
    ubrayj02 says:

    When are we going to have some street signs along the path to let people know where they are in the neighborhoods they are riding through? It is one detail of many, but it really would help make these paths more valuable.

  2. Dennis Hindman
    Dennis Hindman says:

    The overall usability of this latest addition of the LA River bike path wasn’t well thought out.

    Realistically, its only accessable on Winnetka Ave by riding on the sidewalk thats on the east side of the street. Only if you are a daredevil or foolhardy would you ride on Winnetka Ave in that area. Its like a four-lane speedway and there is simply no room to ride a bike other than in front of the motorized vehicles. I’ve waited to cross Winnetka Ave about a block south of the LA river at the Orange Line bike path several times since this new LA river bike path has been built ,and it sometimes becomes like a drag race with the northbound cars in the far right lane trying to get ahead of cars in the other lanes when the light turns green. Riding south you would have to ride in front of high speed traffic and cross four lanes of this busy street to get to the entrance. And wouldn’t you know it, LADOT decided not to put in the bike lanes that are on the bike plan when the street was repaved for this project.

    Two other entrances on Corbin Ave and Tampa Ave are not on the bike plan for any type of bicycle infrastructure. So, how is any cyclist–other than the less than 1% of the population that will ride anywhere–going to access this path by way of these two streets? Oh, I forgot, you can get there by riding on the sidewalk! I can just imagine the deep thought that went into this: “But how will anyone anyone on a bike get to this bike path? Why look! The streets have sidewalks. Problem solved!”

    I rode this path for the first time tonight, and where I found that I could not go any further east seemed to be at a dead-end street that doesn’t cross the river and doesn’t have a traffic signal to cross busy Victory Blvd to the south. I turned around and took the Corbin ave exit, then road on the sidewalk to the Orange Line bike path to get back home. Maybe LADOT should stensil directions to the LA River bike path on the sidewalks of the streets that you can access it on. That would be more helpful than putting signs next to the street that less than 1% of the population would be willing to ride on.

    So far, this section of the LA River Bike path is mainly just a curiosity rather than a bicycle infrastructure that is useable on a daily basis for the vast majority of adults who know how to ride a bike.

    Let me remind the traffic engineers of the chart in planner/engineer Hilie Talens presentation at the ThinkBike workshop that showed a functional design that the Dutch use as a balance between “use”, “function” and “design” that are connected in a circle by arrows. If accessing this by using the street exceeds the tolerance for stress of most adults, then how is this a balanced design, or even a very useful design?

    • B Clarke
      B Clarke says:

      Dennis, one thing to think about is that most of the arterials, at least in the West Valley, have alleys behind them so that there are no driveways to cross. This makes the sidewalks much lower stress than typical sidewalks because you don’t have to worry about being hit by a car coming out of a driveway hidden by a tall hedge. It also means these streets are the low hanging fruit for putting in parking buffered protected bike lanes.

  3. David
    David says:

    I rode this short segment of the trail last weekend. It is very nice, but not very useful. I try to remind myself that it is a start and only a phase of a bigger project. But it really is pretty useless in it’s current form. It does end at Vanalden not Reseda. Reseda would make much more sense because there are bike lanes on Reseda for miles in both directions. I rode it at noon on a beautiful Saturday. I was the only person on it for the 10 minutes or so it took me to ride from end to end and back. Looking across Winnetka toward Mason, it does appear that there is some kind of work going on. I rode Tampa from the Orange Line Bike Path to get to it. It is pretty comfortable street riding until you get to Victory. For someone that doesn’t ride in the street very often, I’m sure this would be a deterrent. I agree totally with the comments about Winnetka.

  4. Thetrain09
    Thetrain09 says:

    I just rode the Brown Creek Bike path in Chatsworth and noticed that it had no lighting and path is very damaged. Is there a place/way to request for this path to be repaired/updated?

  5. Michael Bratkowski
    Michael Bratkowski says:

    A little maintanence is required on the LA River path across the 5 from griffith park. There are many bits of root damage which need a grind down. Most of them have been marked by the LA River century people. Also, a grind down is needed in the cement part of the orange line trail, from just west of the south bound victory blvd/405 on ramp until Balboa. There has been root damage which has lifted the seams and created some fairly bad bumps. Thanks.

  6. B Clarke
    B Clarke says:

    When I rode to and from Councilmember Blumenfield’s West Valley Community Bike Ride, and the following weeks also a week or so later still, the path was closed from Winnetka to Corbin. The only problem I could see was a pile of gravel or something on the path. Is that section re-opened yet?

  7. D Bumgardner
    D Bumgardner says:

    I rode the path from Vanalden to where it’s closed at Winnetka, then traversed over to the next open section – very disappointing. The sections of the path that were left hard packed dirt with a sandy/loose crumble on top is a terrible idea – very dangerous! Quite a bit of slippage on these sections. Also, kids throwing stones from the landscaping at each other and passersby. Overall a huge disappointment and an accident waiting to happen.

  8. sergesret
    sergesret says:

    Well, apparently the whole thing is open Today (Xmas eve 2014). I don’t mean to complain but I guess I’m going to. First off, there is no direct connection to the Orange Line path. I had to cross Canoga at Van Owen and ride up the sidewalk to get to the entrance. Then, it’s dirt except for the underpasses until you get to Mason. I guess they wanted a park vibe, but seeing as they did both sides of the channel, they could have had park on the south side and bike on the north side. Then, before you get to Mason, there is a bridge over a tributary channel marked Pedestrian Only. Really? So this is not a fully continuous bike path? Maybe you are supposed to cross over to the other side before that and I missed it. Then crossing on the Mason bridge there is a narrow sidewalk.

    Finally from that point on, its what one expects a bike path to be. Not terribly long, but a longer uninterrupted stretch than any part of the Orange Line path until it terminates at Vanalden. I crossed the Vanalden bridge and find no curb ramp to the street. You have to ride the sidewalk to the first intersection before you can get onto the street. Maybe the bridge there isn’t intended for bikes either.

    Anyway, it’s got planning issues. Probably a combination of politics, budget, opportunities and hurdles the site presents and planning that misses some of the details. Will I ride it again? Probably, but not that often, mainly because of the access hurdles between it and the Orange Line path.


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