A map of the L.A. River was used at a community meeting about the L.A. River closure.
Last October, we reported that the Elysian Valley section of the L.A. River Path had been closed with little or no public notice by the Army Corps of Engineers. This week, we received notice that the non-native vegetation removal had been completed, and that the path has been re-opened!
This is a huge announcement for people who use the path to commute by bike, people that run or bike on the path for exercise, or community members who use the open space and need access to enjoy the L.A. River.
Throughout the closure, LACBC has been in contact with the Army Corps of Engineers, the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT), L.A. City Council staff, and Representative Adam Schiff’s office on this issue and on how the process can be improved in the future.
The first thing to note is a bit of history. The L.A. River Path we all know and love was built on the former access road along the river. The original agreement was that the Army Corps granted the City of L.A. to use the road to build a path. Part of that agreement was that the City of L.A. would maintain the path with the understanding that the Army Corps would need to perform periodic maintenance of the actual channel. A representative at the Army Corps pointed out that they had not performed maintenance along the path for several years, in part, due to the drought. Now that we were seeing more rain, they needed to get into the channel to perform much delayed work. They explained their goal was to minimize the closures and aimed to keep the path open on the weekends.
In a meeting with the Army Corps, we asked why the access road on the east/north bank of the river was not used. The Corps explained that the river flows primarily on the east bank in the area where the work is being done, hence the need to work from the west bank, where the path is located.
For any future closures, we would also like to see an improved communications process. The lack of communication in advance of the closure combined with the lack of information on the signs that had been posted were the biggest contributors to the closure’s disruption. The Corps agreed that better communication is needed and they were very interested in our recommendations. LACBC offered to help be a conduit for communication going forward and share this webpage where people can get more information about what the Corps is doing on the LA River:
In the future, path users are encouraged to contact the Corps directly at AMoperations.Branch@usace.army.mil or (213) 452-3294.
We are excited to have the path open for all to enjoy and look forward to helping assure better communications with all entities involved in the future.