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L.A. River Valley Path and Greenway Meeting Roundup

This past Tuesday, the second of two community meetings regarding the future design of the Valley portion of the L.A. River path and greenway was held at Los Angeles Valley College with an audience of a number of different stakeholders.

Having a connected path across the length of the San Fernando Valley will have a transformative effect, as this route will provide better links for many residents to transit and commercial districts.

This board illustrates some of the neighborhood’s characteristics along the bikeway.

Another feature of this plan is to create a number of green spaces along the river to give the path its own distinctive feel, like New York’s High Line.

While there are portions of the L.A. River Valley path that are either complete or currently in construction, there are still another 12.5 miles that needs to be built to make this a continuous path. This is the study to fill that gap.

The L.A. River Valley Path and Greenway provides a number of park space opportunities of varying size.

One of the obstacles here in the planning stages is designing around the 23 street crossings the path negotiates.

Many of these junctions will be crossed either by bridges or underpasses, but certain intersections will not have these options available as they face such obstructions as utility lines, structural issues, and maintaining the river’s flow.

In some cases, the route will be rerouted away from the river, as in this segment in Studio City circumventing CBS Studios.

In some of these circumstances, engineers are recommending a number of at-grade crossings, especially east of the 405 Freeway.

With many these alignments occurring at mid-block, LACBC wants to ensure that these crossings are made as safe as possible.

The series of crossings near the Sepulveda Basin provides some challenges.

Another hurdle that the path faces is its passage through the Sepulveda Basin. Crossing the 405 Freeway poses engineering issues as well as designing the bikeway’s alignment with the Sepulveda Dam. Building a bridge to span ten lanes of high speed traffic with limited space to place landings requires a solution that needs more study.

A map of the proposed Sepulveda Basin segment including the northern detour to the Orange Line Busway Bike Path.

One of the interim solutions to deal with this area is creating a bike boulevard along Noble Ave to connect with the Orange Line Busway Bike Path to detour cyclists through Balboa Park.

Nur Malhis from the City of Los Angeles Department of Engineering opened the floor to the many questions and comments the audience had.

The presentation was led by Project Manager Nur Malhis.

Glenn Bailey of the Los Angeles City Bicycle Advisory Committee brought up his concern about the bike path’s maintenance being located within the Sepulveda Basin.

During heavy rains, the surrounding Balboa Park Bike Path is covered by soot for days as the area still serves as a flood control basin.

Some of the notes on the bikeway’s detour on Noble Ave.

Valley cycling advocate Dennis Hindman also noted that underpasses should be designed in a fashion that users entering can also see the exit for safety reasons.

For a project of this scope, there are many other issues that still need to be resolved with the routing, crossings and connections with park space.

A number of options are in play for the bikeway’s crossing at Vineland.

The design team will be making another presentation in Spring of 2017 incorporating input from these meetings.

With the project not slated to be complete until 2025-2028, according to the Measure M Expenditure Plan, we will still be seeing the bikeway’s plan developing for the next few years.

As the river becomes a hotter commodity and developers built alongside it, LACBC has to ensure that local benefits coming from those projects will also include pedestrian and cycling improvements.

The L.A. River Valley Path and Greenway will develop into one of San Fernando Valley’s signature landmarks, and LACBC is glad about the role cycling will play in this transformation.

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