The Los Angeles River Bike Path Gap Closure Project will design and construct a bike path along an eight-mile stretch of the Los Angeles River (River) from Elysian Valley through Downtown Los Angeles to the City of Vernon, closing the longest remaining continuous gap in the Los Angeles River Bike Path.
Metro along with a number of local and regional organizations has identified closing the gap in the Los Angeles River Bike Path between Elysian Valley and Vernon as a high priority walking and biking infrastructure project. When complete, this facility will provide a seamless 32-mile grade-separated regional corridor for walking and bicycling through the heart of Los Angeles County, connecting Long Beach to the San Fernando Valley along the River.
In September 2016, Metro completed a Feasibility Study on the project. The study consisted of conducting an inventory of the project area, including real estate and right-of-way ownership; conceptual engineering analyses of alternative alignments; hydraulic analysis of the most constraining alternative; and detailed study of the surrounding neighborhoods and the infrastructure for walking and bicycling in and through them. The study assumed a path along the west bank of the river, consistent with the existing paths at the project’s northern and southern termini. The study demonstrates that although technical challenges and physical constraints exist, closing the 8-mile gap is feasible through various engineering solutions.
As the next project phase, Metro will conduct an Alternative Analysis and work to environmentally clear and fulfill all permitting requirements for this project under the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA), the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE). Public outreach and community engagement will be conducted throughout this phase of the project.
The project area is the 8-mile gap in the Los Angeles River Bike Path . The northern and southern limits of the project area are the terminus of the Los Angeles River Greenway Trail at Riverside Dr, and Atlantic Bl where the Los Angeles River Bike Path begins in Vernon. Many of the neighborhoods in the area surrounding the project corridor are predominately industrial in nature with high volumes of truck traffic, deteriorated roadways, a lack of sidewalks and street lighting, and at-grade rail crossings. Additionally, there are freight and passenger train movements on tracks adjacent to the River along several segments of the corridor, which inhibit local mobility.
There is a population of over 200,000 people within three miles of the project area. The area qualifies as a disadvantaged community based on the median household income. People in these neighborhoods routinely walk or use a bike as their primary means of transportation.
The City and County of Los Angeles have devoted significant time and resources in creating a Los Angeles River Revitalization Master Plan that would eventually revitalize all 51 miles of the river channel, and include bike and pedestrian facilities as a key element of accessibility and mobility. Non-profit groups such as River LA (formerly LA River Revitalization Corporation) and Friends of the Los Angeles River (FOLAR) have also been working to transform the River. This transformation envisions making the River an integral part of the community and includes a regional active transportation corridor for biking and walking.
In June 2016, the Los Angeles City Council approved the US Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE) recommended plan, Los Angeles River Ecosystem Restoration Feasibility Study, to restore habitat, widen the river, create wetlands, and provide pedestrian access points and bicycle paths along an 11-mile stretch of the Los Angeles River north of Griffith Park through Elysian Valley to downtown Los Angeles. The USACE recommended the Plan for approval in 2015 and is pending authorization by the US Congress. There is also significant interest and a long history of support for a path along all 51-miles of the River from non-profit groups. Most recently, RiverLA published its Greenway 2020 plan, including the goal of completing the bike path along the length of the river.
This project has been included in several local and regional plans, including the 2016 Metro Active Transportation Strategic Plan and the 2009 Long Range Transportation Plan , the Southern California Council of Governments 2016-2040 Regional Transportation Plan/ Sustainable Communities Strategy , as well as the County of Los Angeles 2012 Bike Master Plan , the City of Los Angeles Mobility Plan 2035 and 2010 Bicycle Plan .
The largest remaining, 8-mile gap in the Los Angeles River Bike Path, between Elysian Valley and the City of Vernon, requires a multi-jurisdictional effort and close coordination with rail operations along Metro-owned right-of-way. As the County’s transportation agency and owner of the adjacent rail right-of-way, Metro serves as the Lead Agency role for this project.
In 2014, the Metro Board of Directors requested staff to perform a feasibility study to close the 8-mile gap in the Los Angeles River Bike Path between Elysian Valley and the City of Vernon. The resulting Los Angeles River Bike Path Gap Closure Feasibility Study in 2016 finds that the project is feasible and would help serve the transportation needs of communities neighboring the project area as well as the region.
In September 2016, the Los Angeles River Bike Path Gap Closure Feasibility Study was completed, which assessed the engineering feasibility, neighborhood connectivity, safety, environmental and permitting requirements, hydraulic impacts, real estate, maintenance and operations, and preliminary cost estimates of the project. The study finds that the project is feasible and would help serve the transportation needs of communities neighboring the project area as well as the region.
The project will now undergo the environmental review/clearance and design process in an effort to create an innovative, universally accessible project that reflects the non-motorized transportation needs of the surrounding neighborhoods. The first phase of this process consists of an Alternative Analysis. Conceptual alignment alternatives will be developed and assessed based on consideration including but not limited to community connectivity, future active transportation network connectivity, construction cost, operations and maintenance cost, personal safety, traffic safety, consistency and compatibility with future adjacent land uses, real estate restraints, river restoration efforts, and quality of path user experience as appropriate for a user base aged 8 to 80 years old of minimal bicycling skill or requiring Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility access.
Public outreach and community engagement will be conducted throughout this phase to solicit community input and interagency coordination on developing and evaluating the alignment alternatives, eventually arriving at a Preferred Alternative. This Alternative Analysis process is expected to take two years to complete.
After the Preferred Alternative is selected, Metro will work to environmentally clear and develop engineering design to fulfill any and all environmental review and permitting requirements required for the project. Once all permits are in place, Metro will select a Design/Build contractor to construct the project. The project is allocated $365 million in funding through Measure M and may begin construction as early as 2023.
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No public meetings have been scheduled at this point.