The LA River Path Project is a new bicycle and pedestrian path along an approximately eight-mile stretch of the Los Angeles River (River) from Elysian Valley through Downtown Los Angeles to the City of Maywood. This project will close the longest remaining continuous gap in the LA River Path and create a path that will serve the existing communities there today, as well as look forward to and serve future needs.
Metro, along with several local and regional organizations, have identified closing the gap in the LA River Path between Elysian Valley and Maywood 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 the San Fernando Valley to Long Beach along the River.
The path will create a safe and efficient travel option for people walking, bicycling, and rolling, whether for recreation or transportation, while bolstering regional multi-modal travel with a connection to various access points along the river.
The new section of path will directly serve communities in:
- Elysian Valley
- Cypress Park
- Lincoln Heights
- Downtown Los Angeles
- Arts District
- Industrial District
- Boyle Heights
- East Los Angeles
The project is set to receive $365 million dollars in funding from Measure M, which was passed by LA County voters in 2016.
In June 2014, the Metro Board of Directors directed 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 Los Angeles River Bike Path Gap Closure Feasibility Study 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 found that the project is feasible and would help serve the transportation needs of communities neighboring the project area as well as the region.
Following the completion of the feasibility study, in September 2016 the Metro Board approved the project to advance into conceptual design. This includes the preparation of technical studies about the corridor’s existing conditions, and community outreach to understand the community’s needs and desires.
During conceptual design, Metro staff reached out to the communities to understand how people currently use the path and what they’d like to use the path for in the future, how people want to access the path, preferred path types, project goals, and on what should be considered as part of the evaluation criteria. Metro hosted nine public meetings, fielded online and in-person surveys and attended numerous community events. After collecting this information and applying evaluation criteria, three draft alternatives were identified and presented to the public in May 2019.
After conceptual design, Metro will further study the alternatives during the environmental review process. As part of the environmental study of all three alternatives, Metro will work to environmentally clear and fulfill all permitting requirements for this project under the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) in coordination with the US Army Corps of Engineers and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) with Metro as the lead agency. Public outreach and community engagement will continue throughout this phase of the project.
The northern limits of the project area are the terminus of the Los Angeles River Greenway Trail at Riverside Drive, with southern limits at Atlantic Blvd where the Los Angeles River Bike Path begins in the City of Maywood. Many of the neighborhoods in the area surrounding the project corridor are predominately industrial with high volumes of truck traffic, deteriorated roadways, a lack of sidewalks, 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.
Over 1,000,000 people live within three miles of the LA River Path project corridor. Of the 85,000 people who live within ½-mile of the project corridor, approximately 18,000 (21%) working-age people walk, bicycle, or take public transit to work.
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 LA River Path, between Elysian Valley and Maywood requires a multi-jurisdictional effort and close coordination with US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), City of Los Angeles, City of Vernon, the County of Los Angeles, and rail operations along Metro-owned right-of-way. As the County’s transportation agency and owner of the adjacent rail right-of-way, Metro is leading this project through environmental analysis, design and coordination with other projects, studies and efforts along the Los Angeles River.
The LA River Path Project has been identified as a need in numerous studies of the Los Angeles River and the project team is coordinating with numerous other studies and planning efforts. Some of these efforts include: 2007 Los Angeles River Revitalization Master Plan aimed at revitalizing all 51 miles of the river channel including providing pedestrian and bicycle facilities; the 2016 USACE Los Angeles River Ecosystem Restoration Feasibility Study of an 11-mile stretch of the Los Angeles River north of Griffith Park through Elysian Valley to downtown Los Angeles; RiverLA’s Greenway 2020 plan, which identified the goal of completing the path along the length of the river; and the ongoing effort by Los Angeles County to update the 1996 LA River Master Plan.
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 a regional active transportation corridor for walking and biking.
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