Elysian Valley L.A. River Walk/Bike Path Newly Striped

November 16, 2010 § 23 Comments

The Frogtown river path gets its new striping on

As of yesterday, the Los Angeles River Bike Path through Elysian Valley has new stripes! Creek Freak readers may well be tired of hearing about this project; we’ve covered the project’s history, groundbreaking, detours, new undercrossing at Fletcher Drive, new asphalt, delays, new lights, and even the preliminary marks that preceded the striping. The shared walk and bike path officially opens on Saturday December 4th at 12noon, location to be announced.

It’s been great to see families using this path already. Yesterday, I had the pleasure of ringing my bicycle bell to greet a little girl who unsteadily, lovingly guided by her parents, seemed to be trying out her training-wheels-equiped bike for the first time. Her father reached down and rang her bike bell. Everyone smiled!

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§ 23 Responses to Elysian Valley L.A. River Walk/Bike Path Newly Striped

  • [...] If you’d rather bike than walk: The Los Angeles River Bike Path through Elysian Valley has new stripes, says Joe Linton at L.A. Creek Freak. “The shared walk and bike path officially opens on [...]

  • Sue says:

    The bike path is great, except for one thing: it is NOT accessible to wheelchairs. Even when they finally open up all the fences that have blocked off entrance to the path for so long, there is nowhere we have been able to find where a motorized wheelchair can get onto the path—-the new asphalt layer is so high that there is a huge curb now along the edge. Did no one think about curb cuts or ramps at the major access points when this path was constructed? The old path was lumpy and bumpy, but at least we could get onto it. UNFAIR! DISCRIMINATORY! ILLEGAL!

    • Joe Linton says:

      Sad… I thought that stupid new asphalt curb was annoying and pointless (a trip hazard for walking, a fall hazard for bikes, a water drainage blocker in some areas) but I didn’t realize it’s such a barrier to wheelchair access. We’ll need to get it fixed.

    • Joe Linton says:

      I forwarded your message to folks at the city who are building the bike path. A city representative responded that “…the new AC [asphalt] surface was mostly raised along the alignment because of the topography. But we backfilled the difference at all the pocket parks with DG [decomposed granite] last week, the same material used previously. When the message was posted? Have you field checked it? Pls advise.”

      I will take a look when I am out there this afternoon.

  • Sue says:

    Hooray! We will check it out also. Thanks, Joe.

  • [...] LA River Bike Path grand opening announced There were quite a few delays, but the Los Angeles River Bike Path through Elysian Valley has finally got a grand opening scheduled for Saturday, December 4, 2010, reports LA Creek Freak. [...]

  • [...] Car-less Valley Girl finds her bike helmet a useful prop for social interaction. Stripes hit the L.A. River Bike Path through Elysian Valley. The Claremont Cyclist discovers the joys of the unexpected. Turns out the [...]

  • paul says:

    I’m curious about the intended design of the stripes. They designate directional lanes for bicycles with solid and broken lines. The remaining space is too narrow to non existent for two people to walk side by side, let alone a dog on a leash. Some bicyclists seem to regard this as exclusively designated lanes, brushing by pedestrians at high rates of speed. It seems like only a matter of time before we have some serious collisions. Any insight on this?

    • Joe Linton says:

      Not sure about insight, but my opinion is that bicyclists and pedestrians can share that space peacefully, without “serious collisions” (In my opinion, a “serious collision” usually involves at least one car – bicyclists cause bike-ped collisions occasionally, and we bicyclists should be more respectful than we are, but generally a bike-ped collision isn’t all that “serious” – rare that it causes “serious” injury or worse.)

      Pedestrians and cyclists have shared that stretch for the last 20+ years, and I expect that it should continue.

      • paul says:

        Thanks Joe. My question was more what the lines mean. I gather from your answer that pedestrians in the directional lanes is OK and bikes are to negotiate accordingly? It wasn’t a bike vs. pedestrian question, it was more about what everyone understands these designations to mean.

      • Joe Linton says:

        What the lines mean: bikes ride to the right of the dashed yellow line. In some areas (not shown in the above photo), there are arrows indicating direction. In some areas there are ped markings – indicating that the city expects peds to walk along the side closer to the homes (further from the river.)

      • paul says:

        Oh I see. In my area, there are two lanes with arrows. The area outside of that is too narrow for pedestrians to walk side by side. Plus, it often pushes you into bushes and low branches. Odd design, one must admit.

  • Sue says:

    This raises the whole question of bike etiquette, which brings out my curmudgeonly side. I am totally in favor of people using bikes for transportation, exercise, whatever, and I totally respect your rights to adequate and safe passage on streets and bike paths. But too many of you seem to think you own the road/path. Apparently none of the rules of the road apply to you. Apparently you can ride as fast and as unsafely as you wish, never mind people in cars or on foot who are doing their best to share the space. It’s dangerous and just plain rude. I know I’m generalizing; not everyone behaves this way, but Paul is right: the Elysian Valley Bike Path is just the latest venue for speedsters who are a real threat to those on foot. Or, to make it personal, to a person in a wheelchair and a nearly deaf dog. Sorry to be crabby, but I’ll lighten up when you slow down.

    • paul says:

      Respectfully Sue, you are jumping to conclusion. Joe mentions that the path has been used by both cyclists and pedestrians for years. I live on the path and have observed the interaction for years. Speed has changed with the repaving. Now the path has lane designations. I wonder who determined the lanes, what they mean and how they are being read. Since the ped lanes are too small, I use the path as I always have, wether on bike or on foot. I’m watching my elderly neighbors hug the edges and brush against tree limbs and the guard rail on their morning and evening walk. My opinion, get rid of them, they are confusing.

  • Sue says:

    Joe, for the last 20+ years the bike path had major dips and bumps, which effectively prevented cyclists from going all that fast. Now that there is a smooth new surface, both the bike population and the rate of speed have greatly increased. As for ‘serious’ accidents—if anything causes me to take a fall on that path, whether there is actual contact with a bike or not, it’s definitely serious. A lot of us peds on that path are oldsters who are easily startled, can’t move quickly, and who definitely don’t bounce well. It’s all about respect for others,

    • Joe Linton says:

      Perhaps, as a person who bikes a lot, I have some trouble completely empathizing with a pedestrian perspective… but I personally have never seen or been in a bike-ped collision – and I’ve biked around plenty of pedestrians and we all pretty easily share spaces like beach bike paths, many sidewalks, crosswalks, etc.

      I just don’t expect bike-ped collisions to be a big issue in Elysian Valley (or anywhere) – human-scale human-powered folks can share space. If I turn out to be wrong, let me know.

    • paul says:

      That picture tells the story. One of the bike lanes could be shared. Bikes should always slow down or pass very wide of peds on a narrow path.

  • anty says:

    I am super excited about the new path being finished!

    My experience as a cyclist and a pedestrian/walker is that sometimes there are annoying people of both sorts. I don’t think it’s their preferred mode of transportation, I think it is because some people are not as good about sharing space on paths. I haven’t had any more frustrating interactions on the Elysian Valley path than on any other trail/path in LA. It’s a city, we’re gonna get in each other’s ways sometimes.

  • paul says:

    I learned alot by going to the dedication yesterday. The “bike” and pedestrian markings are being removed. The entire path is meant for sharing. There have been incidents. One of a bike ped collision, one of a cyclist yelling at a ped to get out of the way.
    A group of my neighbors marched down the Frogtown stretch of the river path with a large banner expressing the neighborhood need to preserve the “bike path” for shared use.
    I spoke to someone from the LAC Bicycle Coalition. They are equally concerned about the markings. Apparently there were standards that the city could/would not deviate from which is the reason that the bike/ped ratio is so off.
    So bottom line is it’s a fully shared path now. We all have to be considerate to one another.

  • Aaron Kuehn says:

    I attended the dedication as well, and left with mixed feelings about this well-meaning upgrade on my favorite bike path. With the LED lighting, resurfacing, and clear striping, the path is now an unparalleled bicycle facility for LA, which will draw many more users from all over, who can effortlessly and safely ride and admire the river like never before. Unimpeded by bumps, glass or homeless fishermen, all the way to the “end”.

    As an urban-wildlife adventure, I’d say it’s a downgrade. The entire river art graffiti collection was noticeably painted over in gray splotches or replaced with faux pre-school nonsense; the asphalt surface monotonously filled in makes the path seem much shorter and uneventful; views of the river are obstructed by safety bars.

    Part of the fun of this stretch of the river for me was escaping domesticity, slowing down, experiencing the edge of civilization / rebirth of wilderness, and the diversity of experiences the riverbank / industrial/ hood has to offer. The path upgrades seem to have surgically removed a lot of that diversity, or perhaps gentrified. It hurts all the more, when I think of all the miles of bike lanes that could have been striped with the money spent on the improvements. Bike lanes on any of the streets that access the river path, for example.

    That said, the increased use of the path by those previously reluctant, will no doubt elevate the status and image of the river. The river is more than just one stretch of path, much more. And as far as paths go, the path on the other side offers a better urban retreat anyway.

    Perhaps, one day, the public acclaim of the river resulting from the awesome bike path, will result in 1 or more pedestrian bridges to the other bank, maintained as a natural running, walking, and art path. Perhaps.

  • Lane Barden says:

    My first experience with the bike path was very negative, as my little son helping with the River Cleanup was nearly hit by a cyclist, among many who did not slow down, and many of them copped some serious attitude- like the way obnoxious motorists treat cyclists.

    The new lines make it much safer, easier for pedestrians to see how to stay out of harms way. So they are a big plus. It also has a modern look, and I admit I’m liking it.

    Now I’m biking over there, to discover that the city or the county has sent contractors in to clear the arundo!! I never thought I’d see it happen. They have cleared about 100 yards headed southeast beginning at the Bowtie parcel just southeast of the Glendale Freeway. Of course they are only cutting and not uprooting at this stage. So you can see the arundo sprouting right behind them as they go (LOL!)

    • paul says:

      Thanks for relaying that story. I think awareness is building. It’s not a bike path. It’s shared. There are no dedicated lanes for one use over the other. All of that has been painted over.
      Bicyclists who don’t slow down, let pedestrians know they are approaching and yield a right of way when appropriate are becoming the exception. Same thing with riding on the sidewalk.

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