Small Improvements on the Arroyo Seco Bike Path
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.
The Arroyo Seco Bike Path is a 2.1-mile separate-from-car-traffic bike path that’s located mostly on a slab of concrete located down in the bottom of the Arroyo Seco channel. It’s a somewhat obscure facility, hence somewhat difficult to find. I’ve heard some critics say that it’s never used. While it’s certainly not as busy as the beach bike path, there were certainly folks down there this afternoon: I passed two joggers, a dog-walker, a solo cyclist, and an adult man riding with two young boys (the kids somewhat unsteady on their new-looking bikes – perhaps Christmas presents?) In the channel, the bikeway does get some debris after rains – there were some areas with some sand, dirt, a few branches, palm fronds, etc. Not pristine, but still rideable.
The path was built, I think, around the 1970’s. As with some others built at that time, it has limited access points (listed below) that connect to parks, but not really to many cross streets. These reflect an assumption (widespread at that time, and unfortunately still around here and there) that bike paths were generally for recreation (hence connected to parks) and not really for transportation.
The Arroyo Seco Bike Path can be accessed via three entry points:
- along the Montecito Heights Recreation Center (at the end of Mosher Avenue, off of Avenue 43 – across from Sycamore Park and the anonymous stormdrain mouth of the North Branch),
- at the Hermon Dog Park on the upstream side of the 1926 Avenue 60 Bridge (another favorite of mine), and
- at the very upstream end of Arroyo Seco Park (by the stables at York Boulevard/Pasadena Avenue – off of that little part of Marmion Way stranded on the east side of the Arroyo Seco.)
For as long as I can remember, the Arroyo Seco bikeway has featured irritating low horizontal bars at each entry point. The bars are barriers which cyclists would need to lift their bikes over. These are awful for bike access when one is carrying a load of groceries in one’s paniers, or towing a child in a bike trailer… and, of course, they also prevent wheelchair users from accessing the path. I have long had fantasies of taking a hacksaw to these bars. Today, the barrier bars were gone – so I was able to just roll directly onto the path without dismounting! Here’s a shot of the remaining circular metal where the bar was removed at the upstream access point:
I also noticed that there’s some new signage. At either end of the bike path, there are signs showing the mileage and the destination. At Montecito Heights, the new sign states “South Pasadena – 2 mi” and here’s a photo of the upstream end sign stating “Montecito Hts – 2 mi”:
New signage at the street (on Marmion Way shown at the photo atop this post) now directs people to the bike path.
Ok, dear underwhelmed readers – it’s not much, but I was happy to notice a few small steps in the right direction!