Bikeway Undercrossing at Fletcher Drive

October 30, 2009 § 12 Comments

LAR Fletcher cyclists 09Oct29 crop

Fletcher undercrossing isn't open yet, but some cyclists are already using it

This afternoon, I took these photos of the new segment of the Los Angeles River Bike Path under construction in Elysian Valley. Creek Freak has written about the history, the groundbreaking and the construction of this new 3-mile river bike path, due to open in early 2010.

The biggest infrastructural intervention in this project is the undercrossing at Fletcher Drive. I, of course, have to mention the wonderful historic Fletcher Drive Bridge, built in 1927. The rest of the stretch has long had a somewhat-bumpy access road already used by cyclists and pedestrians all the time. The basic concrete path is all complete at Fletcher. Follow this link for a photo of what it used to look like, and here’s how it appears today:

LAR Fletcher downstream 09Oct29

New undercrossing at Fletcher

I was glad to see that this strom drain outlet  (below Rattlesnake Park – a mini-park located on the south bank, immediately downstream adjacent to Fletcher – home of the Great Heron Gate) has been fixed. More than once I’ve seen folks slip and injure themselves walking across the sloped wet area here. Ouch! I shudder thinking about it. Now the drain runs under the dry flat bike path.

LAR Fletcher Drain 09Oct29

New stormdrain plumbing at Fletcher

Here’s a closer shot:

LAR Drain Close 09Oct29

Closer shot of the drain, with bike path surface more visible across center of image

There’s still a lot of work to go. The undercrossing will have lights and railing – and rest of the 3 miles will be resurfaced and striped. Here’s what the future bike path looks like facing downstream from Rattlesnake Park, toward the 2 Freeway:

Future bike path looking toward the 2 Freeway

Future bike path, looking downstream toward the 2 Freeway

Lastly, for all us creek freaks interested in bike paths, there’s one more public meeting on the city of Los Angeles’ draft bike plan update. The new draft plan calls for completing the Los Angeles River bike path and some other waterway paths… but as I read the plan, I am finding that it’s quite inadequate, especially regarding designated bike lanes on city streets. If you’re interested in learning about the L.A. Bike Plan and giving your input, come to the public meeting next Wednesday:

Bike Plan Update Public Meeting
Wednesday, November 4th 2009 6pm-8pm
Free – Refreshments – Spanish translation provided
Ramona Hall, 4580 N. Figueroa Street, LA 90042
Adjacent to Sycamore Grove Park in Highland Park
Very easy access from Metro Gold Line Southwest Museum Station – just go down the stairs and cross the street.
For more information call 213.473-7001

There’s also a county bike plan about to get underway, and draft bike plans for Pasadena and Burbank – both of which call for more creekside bike paths. Creek Freak will do some kind of bike plan round up soon!

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§ 12 Responses to Bikeway Undercrossing at Fletcher Drive

  • Molly says:

    Jessica – thanks for your work – I found this link in my bicycle club yahoo group- just so you know!

  • This is just so great to see, thanks.

  • Veronica says:

    I am absolutely delighted with the improvements to that section of the river. I used to jog along that stretch; and without the undercrossing, most people stopped at Fletcher. It’ll be great to get pedestrian and bike traffic farther along the river’s path and all the way to Figueroa! Thanks for keeping all of us LA River people updated on progress!

  • […] Box imagines what the city could be like if the mayor rode a bike. Joe Linton looks at the new Fletcher Drive undercross on the L.A. River bikeway. Do more bikes mean more — and more severe — injuries? San […]

  • Sue in Los Angeles says:

    We have already explored the new path under Fletcher, and it’s such a welcome improvement over what was before. The rest of the path should be equally wonderful when they resurface all those breaks in the asphalt and (hopefully) the hazardous storm drain dips. Here is my big worry, though: we are pedestrians, not bikers; specifically, an over-60 walker, a wheelchair user, and an arthritic dog. I don’t know how safe we will feel on this new bicycle speedway, with bikers whizzing in both directions on their beautiful new freeway. And what about the myriad Frogtown residents who use the current path for strolling at all hours of the day–this includes many elderly people, small children, and dog-walkers. I sincerely hope the bike riders will see themselves as part of this larger community of riverside users and ride considerately, allowing the rest of us our space and safety.

    • Joe Linton says:

      It”s a really good point, Sue (is that Sue of Sue+Liebe?)

      Officially the path will be a multi-use path – and bicyclists need to yield to peds. In the long run we need to either learn to share well, or to build wider paths.

      What do other folks think?

  • Greenway7x says:

    I’m another creaky (ss well as creek-y) oldster stumping along the bikepaths, and I find that the cyclists themselves are quite courteous (except that the old practice–LAW in some places– of cyclists beeping a horn or jingling a bell when several yards behind others has most unfortunately fallen into disuse. Some of us are hearing-impared; others simply can’t hear bikes approaching because of other noises, winds blowing the wrong way, earphones in use, etc., and last-moment dodgings can go the wrong way). The problem (much bigger, at least during daylight, than Suspect Persons) is ACCESS. Imagine what a different world we’d have if politicians, bureaucrats and designers had to WALK, or use sidewalk-okay wheels! If we’re going to get real about ideas like ‘the Emerald Necklace’ and wildlife corridors, safe and legal pedestrian connections between paths and parks must be the priority. I’ve nearly broken my bones trying to get around no-warning dead ends, and it breaks my heart to see hard-fought-for things like the Whittier Greenway Trail (formerly UPRR, tracks removed, between Armlee in the SE to Pioneer in the NW) made hardly usable by having almost no access at cross streets, nor connection even to the near side of the SG River Bikeway, though the RR crosses the river. Continuous ACCESS must be the priority!

  • Sue in Los Angeles says:

    I totally agree with 7x. I have scoped out all the pedestrian access points along the western side of the river in the lower Glendale Narrows. There are formal openings, less formal openings, and plain old holes-in-the-fence openings, most of which work ok for pedestrians, although they are almost all impossible to find if you are on the street. Why not do what they do at the beach—have signs pointing to “River Access”? As to bicycle and, especially, wheelchair access—HAH! The only places we can enter the pathway are at three or four of the larger FoR mini-parks between the Arroyo and Fletcher. And you really have to look for those as well, if you aren’t well acquainted with the neighborhood. What would it take to get some signage on Riverside Drive, for example? (And, on my original point, let’s have signs on the bikepaths themselves reminding all users about courtesy towards their fellow travelers–I am not as optimistic as 7x about bicyclists.)
    Yeah, Joe, you got the right Sue.

  • Tracy says:

    It is really imperative that the pedestrians in Elysian Valley not get bumped off the path (both literally and figuratively). In many communities, they have signs citing applicable municipal standards limiting bike speeds in pedestrian zones. Interestingly, we can’t seem to find out if LA has a similar code? Does anyone know if such an ordinance exists?

    • Joe Linton says:

      Tracy – thanks for the comment… bike-ped interaction is definitely an important issue that’s being talked about (and that I am planning to blog about soon) … It’s my hope that bikes and peds will be able to continue to share the river greenway through Elysian Valley – as they have done for the last 20+years.

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