May 16, 2010 § 2 Comments
As announced here, last Thursday, the county of Los Angeles Public Works Department held a public meeting on its plans for adding more bike path along the Arroyo Seco. Creek Freek covered the plans for this bike path earlier and that background information is still applicable. It’s going to take a while, but the project is moving forward. Additional details after the jump.
May 11, 2010 § 1 Comment
>The Studio City Los Angeles River Natural Park proposed for the existing Golf and Tennis site is “the craziest g*****n thing I’ve ever seen in my life” says owner in today’s Daily News. Earlier Creek Freak coverage of the issue here and here.
> Blogdowntown tells how L.A.’s 1929 First Street Bridge is being put back together.
> What’s That Bug finds fairy shrimp at Rio De Los Angeles State Park wetlands.
> County Supervisor Don Knabe funds improvements to the San Gabriel River Bike Path in the cities of Lakewood and Cerritos.
> Construction to begin in July on the city of Glendale’s long-delayed Glendale Narrows River Walk project – per L.A. Times
> The county of L.A. invites the public to a meeting regarding the Lower Arroyo Seco Bike Path at 6pm this Thursday May 13th at the River Center’s Los Feliz Room. Creek Freak project background here and here.
> Register now for the L.A. County Bicycle Coalition’s annual Los Angeles River Ride taking place on Sunday June 6th.
April 21, 2010 § 3 Comments
Once again, active recreation and our dwindling natural resources are being pitted against each other. This time, it’s at Hahamongna, a basin on the Arroyo Seco next to JPL. Devil’s Gate Dam holds back the Arroyo’s flows, infiltrating some of them into the Raymond Basin, the aquifer that supplies a lot of Pasadena’s water. Above ground, wetlands and oak woodlands abound, a rare finger of habitat extending down from the San Gabriel Mountains.
Should soccer be carved out of this? « Read the rest of this entry »
February 19, 2010 § 4 Comments
The county of Los Angeles held a public meeting yesterday to review a new plan for the Arroyo Seco Bike Path. The county has funding from Metro to build a bikeway along the Arroyo… but past proposals have met with resistance.
Last night there was broad consensus for moving forward with a relatively short (1280-feet, about 1/4-mile ) uncontroversial portion of the bikeway – extending from Avenue 26 to San Fernando Road. One thousand feet of that right of way is Caltrans (the state Department of Transportation) land, located below the ramps connecting the 5 and 110 Freeways. The remaining 280 feet currently belong to the city of Los Angeles. The project would include an asphalt bike path, and a decomposed granite (DG) walkway.
The quarter-mile project is estimated to cost about $610,000, which is just less than the county’s remaining funding of about $750,000. The estimate is preliminary - for just the bike and walk path, with no landscaping or lighting. Agency staff stressed that it could actually cost more if there are any issues with toxics in the soil – which is something they haven’t analyzed yet.
The project as designed would only connect to the south side of Avenue 26. A number of attendees suggested that the bikeway extend under Avenue 26, so it could be accessed from either side of the street. There is already a sufficiently large passageway below the southeast part of the bridge, so an undercrossing is not expected to need extensive bridge abutment work.
Caltrans is applying for Transportation Enhancement (TEA) funding that could landscape the site. Though the outcome of their application will be announced in May, landscape funding is not expected to be programmed and available for construction until 2014.
The city portion of the proposed path is an existing Bureau of Sanitation yard. The southwest edge of the yard has a ramped transfer station, used for dumping loads of trash from smaller trucks into larger trucks. Apparently this station is no longer in use, and the space can be used for the bike path.
Last night’s meeting was encouraging because it appears that the county, city and state are working together well. Kudos to L.A. County Supervisor Gloria Molina and L.A. City Councilmember Ed Reyes for navigating this project out of the infeasible category back into the it-just-might-happen-in-a-year-or-two category.
The county plans to host another meeting in a approximately three months to review final designs.
February 17, 2010 § Leave a Comment
>The L.A. County Bicycle Master Plan Bicycle Advisory Committee meets tonight Thursday February 17th at 7pm at the Board Overflow Room at Metro. The county bike plan, which Creek Freak outlined here, includes bike paths along county-maintained rivers, washes and creeks. There’s also a series of ten county bike plan community meetings running February 22nd through March 25th, held in various locations all over the county. For more info on all these, go to the meeting page on the county’s bike plan website.
>Los Angeles County is proposing a new scope for the funded Arroyo Seco Bike Path project. The new plan is to build the next phase along the southeast bank of the arroyo from Avenue 26 to San Fernando Road. This scales back a proposed ~1.5-mile bike path (from Avenue 43 to Avenue 26) to an ~0.3-mile bike and walk path, but the less ambitious new scope appears more likely to actually get built. The newly proposed stretch would be located in a right-of-way that is currently mostly empty space (below the interchange of the 5 and the 110 freeways) but also includes a portion of a city of L.A. Bureau of Sanitation yard. The county hosts a project meeting tomorrow Thursday February 18th at 6pm at the Los Angeles River Center. Check out the county’s 9-page background report, with photos and a map and L.A. Creek Freak’s earlier article on the conflicts over the earlier proposed bike path. (Thanks Arroyo Seco Foundation for posting the county’s documents on-line.)
>Same night as the Arroyo Seco meeting, the city of Glendale hosts a public input meeting for its Glendale Narrows River Walk project. It’s Thursday February 18th at 7pm at the Pacific Community Center.
>C.I.C.L.E.’s creek freak bike ride is this Saturday February 20th, departing 12:30pm from the River Center. Rain cancels, and some is predicted for early Saturday - check the site that morning around 9am to confirm that the ride is on.
>State Assembly Speaker Karen Bass hosts a Ballona Creek clean-up event on Sunday February 21st at 10am at Overland Avenue.
> The city of Pasadena Bicycle Master Plan is also underway. The current draft proposes bike paths along the Arroyo Seco (near Jet Propulsion Laboratory) and along Eaton Wash (from Eaton Canyon Nature Center to the 210 Freeway.) Pasadena will hold a public input meeting on their draft plan on Tuesday February 23rd at 6:30pm at City Council Chambers.
>Live “streaming” on the Arroyo Seco, and a dozen other California streams, via USGS (In the Watershed)
December 30, 2009 § 6 Comments
I bicycled up the Los Angeles River and Arroyo Seco bikeways yesterday on the way to help my friend Monica move out of her apartment. Her old place is practically in the shadow of the 1912 York Boulevard Bridge over the Arroyo Seco. The York bridge, at the border of Highland Park and South Pasadena, is one of the half-dozen or so oldest bridges in L.A. County – a locally-rare-solid-arch historic bridge that I really like… but I will save that story for another blog entry. The Elysian Valley portion of the L.A. River bikeway is indeed under construction, expected to be completed by March 2010. Crews were at work pouring concrete drains at the last of those remaining dips… but that’s another story, too, which I’ve already covered a few times earlier.
The story that I do want to tell here now is that I was happy to see a few small improvements on the Arroyo Seco Bike Path. It’s minor stuff at access points, new signage… the kind of innocuous details that only a truly bike-obsessed creek freak would notice, photograph and share. I think these improvements are fairly new – perhaps in the last month or two… but it could be that I just didn’t notice them the last time I dashed down the arroyo.
November 22, 2009 § 7 Comments
When some of the Swedish visitors were here for their The Fifth Ecology: Los Angeles Beyond Desire exhibit, we planned to go for a hike to Millard Canyon Falls, above Pasadena. Unfortunately the area was closed, likely due to the recent fires. We instead ended up taking a hike along the Lower Arroyo Seco in Pasadena. The lower Arroyo is a very popular, very pleasant site.
We parked the Swedes’ rental car at the southern end of the massive Rose Bowl parking lots, near the Rose Bowl Aquatic Center. A portion of the parking area was recently retrofitted to detain and infiltrate stormwater. A handful of parking spaces were removed to create a few oases of native plants. Here’s what it looks like:
and here’s a helpful sign explaining the project:
(It’s all pretty nice… for a parking lot… but loyal readers can probably guess that this creek freak is not all that into parking lots. What I would like to see in this area is enhanced Rose Bowl access via bike and transit… allowing for much less parking needed… then ripping out some big chunks of that parking to make way for a re-naturalized Arroyo Seco streambed. Someday.)
We crossed Arroyo Boulevard, turned left, and walked downstream. We crossed below the Holly Street bridge and entered the Lower Arroyo Seco Nature Park. The park has a very pleasant walking paths with plenty of mature sycamores trees overhanging. This time of year, the site is particularly green and lush. Note that the park can also have poison oak. We didn’t encounter any this trip, but I’ve seen it there before. If you’re unfamiliar with poison oak, I recommend that you stick to the established trails.
For a short stretch here, about a quarter mile upstream from Colorado Boulevard, the bed of the Arroyo Seco is not channelized in concrete. It’s a nice meandering streambed.
We continued walking downstream. Below the magnificent historic Colorado Street Bridge, the Arroyo Seco is again channelized in concrete. In this area there’s a wetlands restoration project that was built in 1997. Water from the main stem of the Arroyo is shunted into parallel side streams, now dense with vegetation. These side-streams continue for about a half-mile below the Colorado Bridge.
There are plenty of wonderful historic bridges on this walk. I am pretty sure it’s the largest local concentration of historic bridges other than in Downtown Los Angeles. These include: the Linda Vista Bridge (now Holly Street) – 1925, the Colorado Street Bridge (now Colorado Boulevard) – 1913, the Loma Road Bridge – 1914, and the San Rafael Avenue Bridge – 1922.
We walked along the channel for about two miles. Though the stream is contained in the concrete channel, the surrounding area is a nice deep canyon – which is a bit unusual for Southern California creeks which tended to spread out into broad alluvial washes. The area is very popular for hikers, joggers, and folks walking their dogs.
We crossed to the opposite bank at the pedestrian bridge just below San Rafael Avenue – right where San Rafael Creek enters from the west. Locals there told us about the remains of Busch Gardens – an early amusement park that was located on the east bank of the Arroyo above and below San Rafael. Stonework adorned pathway remnants of the park are still visible on the hillsides.
The lower Arroyo Seco is an excellent site to visit and explore today… and a site that shows a lot of potential for greater restoration in the future.
(Notes: Another version of this walk appears on pages 160-163 in my book Down by the Los Angeles River published in 2005 by Wilderness Press and available at bookstores, libraries and on-line. Thanks to My Wårhagen for taking the photos.)
November 6, 2009 § 3 Comments
A couple of updates from the blogosphere:
Meredith McKenzie posts an update at ArroyoLover from two meetings pertinent to the Arroyo Seco: news of Congressional funding for the Army Corps feasibility study and a report on the Station Fire damage within the Arroyo. The Army Corps study follows up on several studies performed by local agencies and groups, such as the Arroyo Seco Watershed Restoration Feasibility Study (North East Trees, Arroyo Seco Foundation, Mountains Recreation Conservation Authority and National Park Service) and the Arroyo Seco Watershed Management and Restoration Plan(North East Trees), Cal Poly and Parkway studies and then some. So, some of us are already convinced that reaches of the Arroyo can handle naturalization – let’s hope the Corps agrees!
For additional info on the Station Fire, fires and chapparral, there will be a free talk this Saturday night (and you’ll still have time to go out clubbing afterwards) hosted by the Theodore Payne Foundation with Richard Halsey of the Chaparral Institute and Jon Keeley, PhD of the US Geological Survey: 6:30-8:30pm, Clark Magnet High School Auditorium, 4747 New York Avenue, La Crescenta, CA 91214.
Reader Thal Armathura follows up to an earlier post, Woodburied Creek, (and Petrea Burchard’s Pasadena Daily Photo) in our comments section with links to more info on Woodbury Creek at Avenue to the Sky.
If your interests run more towards wastewater, the LA Times reports that the LA Regional Water Quality Control Board is (finally) taking action to prevent high-powered Malibu pooh from seeping downstream into Malibu Creek and Surfrider Beach. Thank you, Tracy Egoscue for your leadership at the Board, and to Baykeeper and Heal the Bay and others whose persistence has resulted in action.
The Times also reports that statewide leadership is yielding a compromise on state water issues. I’ll reserve judgement for now, as there is both praise and criticism, and just point you to the article. Emily Green at Chance of Rain neatly summarizes the compromise (and gets extra credit for use of the word backslapathon in a sentence) and gives a blow-by-blow account of the maneuvers leading up to the compromise here (basically, if you don’t already, you should just have her bookmarked). [UPDATE] Reader NHB pointed out that Heal the Bay’s Mark Gold offers a critique of the deal at Spouting Off.
Last but not least from the Times this week is a report from Huntington Beach on a small coastal salt marsh that was filled without a permit by a developer, Beachfront Village LLC.
September 3, 2009 § Leave a Comment
Some stuff for local Creek Freaks to read, watch and do!
>Arroyo Lover recaps a great August for the Arroyo Seco including evidence that the re-introduced arroyo chub (threatened native fish) are alive and well!
>Excellent recap of the new state greywater codes here.
>I really enjoyed this StreetFilm about the Bronx River Greenway!
>There’s a lot of stories about and images of our devastating wildfires. Scary stuff. We’ll plan to do some analysis and the effects that they’ll be having on watersheds and waterways in future blog postings… but, for now, Creek Freak readers might want to check out Jessica’s earlier post on the fires. There are plenty of useful links at the bottom, and more links in the comments – one of my favorites is Ilsa Setziol’s piece Sparking the Fires.
>The National Parks Service is hosting a series of evening meetings about the future uses for the San Gabriel River and San Gabriel Mountains. Two already took place, and here are three remaining:
TONIGHT Thursday, September 3rd – Santa Clarita
Monday, September 14th in Glendora
Tuesday, September 15th in Palmdale
>Calling SGR bicyclists! On Thursday, September 10th at 6:30pm, the city of Seal Beach is holding a meeting to discuss plans for revamping their portion of the San Gabriel River Bikeway/Greenway. The meeting takes place at the Seal Beach City Council Chambers at 211 8th Street, SB 90740.
>Creek Freaks may be interested in the September 11th and 12th talk and workshop by Mark Lakeman of Portland City Repair. It’s about how to bring communities together to create beautiful sustainable vibrant public spaces, without asking permission!
>Also on September 12th, from 3pm to 5pm in Studio City there’s a family event hosted by Save L.A. River Open Space – the folks who are pushing for a natural river park at the Studio City Golf and Tennis site. Free food! Music!
>On September 15th and 16th, the LA & San Gabriel Rivers Watershed Council and others are hosting a 2-day Compton Creek event: Compton Gateway: Symposium on Creekside Development.
>Coastal Clean-Up Day is September 19th! Clean-up sites all over including on local rivers and creeks.
>On Saturday September 19th from 4pm to 6pm, Food and Water Watch hosts a talk by Marcela Olivera, a water activist from Cochabamba, Bolivia. The Cochabamba story is really inspiring – locals organized to reject multi-national corporation control of their water. Come hear and discuss with Marcela Olivera. It all takes place at the Memorial Public Library, 4625 W. Olympic Boulevard (between Highland and Crenshaw), L.A. 90019.
August 26, 2009 § 3 Comments
Creek Freak is pleased to share the following emails from Tim Kirk who, with his daughter Briar, has been exploring the Los Angeles River. I really like what he has to say (below) about our waterways giving us some sense of place. He says it better than I’ve summarized it – read below.
I present his words here, though I’ve added a few links and interspersed some of his photos. Click on any of the photos to see larger images at Tim’s river photo gallery. Thanks, Tim for promoting my book, so I don’t have to.
In early August I received this email:
I wanted to thank you for your excellent book on the LA River. My daughter and I are walking the LA River in pieces. We started when she was 5 months old and she is now 15 months. Our first treks were in Atwater Village and headed south through Frogtown. We walk 2-3 miles, looking for a place to pick up our trip next time. Having completed this, we then headed north and, in this fashion, made our way through all the walkable parts of the river up to Lake Balboa. We did a few side trips to tributaries along the way.
We just discovered your book. Our good friend, Dominique Dibbell sugggested it (she interviewed you when she was editing the Sierra Club magazine.) It has been a blast to read about the areas we have already walked. We are now headed south and have done two of your walks (Chinatown & The Estuary). We are also exploring the Arroyo Seco.
Here is a link to our flckr site with an ongoing photo essay of our journey. I hope you get a kick out of it.
Thanks again and if you see us walking along, say hey!
Tim Kirk (and Briar).
and here’s a second email I received in mid-August:
We’ve been busy on the river. We made that final trek down to the bay in Long Beach, which was a blast, and the reason for this note: to thank you for the excellent description in your book of the parking situation, and the byzantine trek from there to the river — I doubt we would have found it otherwise.
We had a fun hike today. We’ve been heading north on the Arroyo Seco, and finally connected with an earlier walk, at the Archery range. Next, we’re going to see if we can find a spot to continue, above the Rose Bowl. Here’s the link again, if you want to see some pictures.
This continues to be a cool experience to share with my daughter, even more so as she gets older — now nearly 16 months. I know that traveling the river has changed my head significantly, my geographical sense of LA has shifted and I feel a certain sense of connectivity between the disparate parts of the city that the river links. I’m excited for Briar to grow up with this awareness, which I hope will be part of her identity as an Angeleno.
All the best,