New presentation on three potential routes for L.A. River Path Project

pdf here

Three Metro community meetings were held earlier this month to introduce three potential alternatives for the L.A. River Path Project, which aims to fill the eight-mile gap in the river path between Elysian Valley and Maywood.

The goal of this project is to close that gap with a safe and accessible path for walking, bicycling and rolling. Once connected, the path will create a continuous 32-mile path between San Fernando Valley and Long Beach. The project has $365 million in funding from Measure M and the hope is to begin construction by 2023 and have the path opened in the 2025-2027 timeframe, just in time for the Summer Olympics and Paralympics in 2028.

As you can see in the above presentation, there has been a lot of community input gathered over the past year that has helped shape the project, the access points, and the types of paths in the draft alignments.

From the community input received, staff evaluated what is technically feasible and how much the project’s budget can provide in the river corridor, which is constrained by railroad tracks, utilities, gas lines and development.

Overall, these draft alternatives identify a “core project,” the lines and access points in green. The lines and access points in light gray are “future opportunities,” meaning the design of the core project won’t preclude implementing any future opportunities that could be made possible down the line if/when additional funding is identified (for instance, please see the three access points north of Albion Park).

Let’s dive into these draft alternatives.

The majority of people polled in previous meetings and surveys preferred a top of bank/cantilever and an elevated path type. Compared to a bottom of channel path type, these options will be reliably open all year since they won’t be threatened by water in the river channel when it rains. While a bottom of channel alignment might better connect users to nature and the river, this option would have less access to amenities, like lighting and shade, and would have to be closed any time rain is forecasted.

In case you were wondering about how a path would go beneath and around utilities and bridges, this would be through an incised path. This path type is incised, or cut, into the side of the river channel. It would be open most of the time (except during heavy rains) and could accommodate lighting and other amenities.

As for access points, the presentation shows how each one was rated by the public. All three alternatives do the following:

•They blend both east and west bank alignments that weave across the river to connect to access points that were most desired by the public.

•They blend the three most desired path types: top of bank/cantilevered, elevated and incised.

•They begin and end on the west bank to connect to existing paths north and south of the project area.

•Due to their high favorability among the public and to enhance connectivity to important points including transit lines, LA State Historic Park, Union Station, Washington Boulevard near the Blue Line station, and the Bandini-Soto Triangle in Vernon.

•In terms of meeting project goals such as equity, safety, and user experience, these alternatives score high.

With community meetings now complete, Metro staff will present the three alternatives to carry into the environmental study as well as a report of all the community input received to date to the Metro Board of Directors in Fall 2019. The scoping meetings kicking off the environmental clearance process are expected to begin after the Board’s decision. You can find more information about the project on the website here [hyperlink metro.net/lariverpath] or get in contact with the team at lariverpath@metro.net.

Here’s a recent video that explains the project:

16 replies

  1. Eight miles of paving costing 365 million dollars taking four years to complete. Just another example of the amateurs running the MTA. No wonder nothing gets done in a timely manner at a reasonable cost.

    • I think that’s a very unfair characterization of this project. It’s not just paving. It’s finding a viable location to put a path, carving it out of the side of the river channel, building access points and bridges and adding the right things that will make it appealing (lighting and signage, for example). As you can see in the video or the presentation, these eight miles of river are surrounded by railroad tracks, utility wires, buildings and roads. It’s not just a matter of paving something already there.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

    • @fine7760 – that’s a very uneducated characterization that trivializes the work that goes into planning and designing a project like this, especially with the unique constraints along the path routes! If you aren’t willing to dig into the details and work on solutions, then your uninformed comments are part of the problem.

      I’ve only been able to make it to one of the public meetings, but I appreciate the outreach and information being presented. This is going to be an incredible addition to the region.

      • Hi Nina —

        I couldn’t agree more. Riverside bike paths have become a staple in many great cities and it’s a shame that until now L.A. doesn’t have one. We certainly have our challenges, given the industrial nature of our river corridor. But there are some great plans to make the river look more natural and having a path to access that is a great thing. It may be hard to imagine at this point, but this is an investment in our region that I think will pay off for decades to come.

        Steve Hymon
        Editor, The Source

      • I was about to write the same but you beat me to the punch. As an avid cyclist, I am very glad to see the effort that has gone into making this into a workable plan that takes into consideration not only those who will be using the pathway but those in the adjacent communities as well. That should be lauded, not criticized!

        Simply paving the existing path would not be enough. Clearly, the intent is to create an smooth, efficient and beautiful pathway environment that will attract more users than just those of us campaigning for improvements. THAT is a worthy goal which must be well-considered.

        • Hi Bruce —

          Thanks for your comment. I’ll add one thought: I also think that completing the path from the Valley to Long Beach could help serve as an impetus to river revitalization efforts. The first step is admitting we have a problem — and that’s been done. The second step is getting people to the river to show them what is there. And what could be.

          Steve Hymon
          Editor, The Source

    • I totally agree with fine7760….. the MTA shows us so many cool diagrams, maps and drawings about how our future transit connected region will look like BUT in reality perhaps only 10% gets done in a very UNTIMELY manner. Time to fire these clowns and bring in some Japanese or German civil engineers. How come other cities and countries around the world can get it done correct while we wallow in sub-mediocracy FOREVER???

      • There’s nothing quite like ignoring the immense complexity of building rail lines in the vast territory of Los Angeles. Funding must be found, community objections overcome, obstacles overcome, unforeseen events during construction dealt with, etc., etc., etc. There are always a LOT of etceteras, many of them caused by ever-griping curmudgeons.

        I for one am quite pleased with Metro’s progress during the last 40 years since arriving in L.A. I use it all the time and it gets me almost everywhere I wish to go, plus Metro is always working on improvements. Of course everybody wants everything done lickity-split fast and faster, but that’s not reality.

  2. That was fast! A good sign, perhaps, Now all we need is a speedy decision by the board and leading to prompt development of the plan selected. I’ve done the ride as it is now and somehow survived, but it was rough! And ugly to boot. These changes have been long coming but will be much appreciated by all. Keep up the good work!

  3. I understand there are plans to “revitalize the river” but is there actually any funding to do it? They seem like pie in the sky ideas that will never come to fruition.

    • Hi Spencer;

      Some limited funding has been secured — a lot more is needed for the larger project. I think there is a pie in sky element to this project but I also think its time will come and there will be enough demand by the private sector to make it happen. When that is — I’m not sure. But I think the folks will only tolerate the river as is for so long before things change.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

    • Much of the revitalize the river will happen in the “death by a thousand cuts” method. There are a large number of projects that have been planned. Some have been constructed. I worked on revitalizing the river (in a minor role) a while back in a former job (and my current organization has done work on other project(s) along the river).. There are projects like bike path entrances in the Valley, the bike bridge in Los Feliz, the little parks and entrances in Frogtown, the other new bridges across the river for bikes, pedestrians, and horses. Those have been or are being built. The 6th Viaduct has park elements that are being built. The Army Corps of Engineers have been working long term with the cities of LA, Burbank, Glendale, and Long Beach on the river work. Monies are being gathered from various sources over time, some local, some state, some federal, and some private. This connection of the bike path will help in people’s view of the river. The kayaking that opened up a few years ago helped people see the river differently. Getting some work done on the low flow channel will help the fish population. When people start to see the low flow part as a living river, they will get it.

  4. The last time I rode my bike on the LA River path I had to turn around before I even got to the southern terminus because of a homeless encampment that was literally spilling onto the path. Someone in the camp was pacing back and forth on the path and the surface was covered in glass from bottles that had been purposefully smashed.

  5. Find the most viable and easy to construct route, build it, then find a way to fund the bells and whistles that probably will not be used while others will be closed down in no time due to becoming unsafe like restrooms where homeless will take up residence.

  6. Wow. Thanks for that encouraging information and in such detail. Forget the nattering nabobs of negativism. There are always obstacles to be overcome and they will be. Let’s keep our eyes on the prize. This report makes me look forward to the day when all those projects are completed. All this is marvelous, in my view. We should welcome any and all work that is ongoing toward the ultimate goal, and such reports as this are very encouraging. THX!