Elysian Valley Bike Path Blues: Delays
July 27, 2010 § 18 Comments
Over a year has passed since the June 29th 2009 groundbreaking for the city of Los Angeles’ L.A. River Bike Path through Elysian Valley. That day, speakers proudly announced that the 2.7-mile project would be completed in six to eight months – likely by December 2009, at the latest, maybe February 2010.
L.A. Creek Freak is was pretty excited about the project. Before there was a creek freak blog, I was pushing for this project to be funded and to get built. Creek Freak wrote about the project’s tortured legal history and celebrated the city’s groundbreaking. We reported on closures, the new underpass and the new asphalt. Then it seems like the work kinda… slowed… down… and… maybe… stopped.
By early 2010, the bikeway’s new asphalt was already all in place. The pipe fencing was making its way down the stretch… then it seemed like there was less and less work getting done.
In March 2010, the Los Angeles Department of Transportation’s (LADOT’s) error-prone and grammatically-challenged official Bike Blog reported that the facility was “almost there.” By “almost”, did they mean 4+more months on a project which had been announced to take 6 months to build? LADOT announced two reasons for the delays. The first reason was that “rainy weeks … really threw a wrench into the construction schedule.” Who would have guessed that it would actually rain in Los Angeles during winter of an El Niño year? (sarcasm, groan)
The other reason, first announced at Creek Freak and also stated by LADOT, was that the city had changed the lighting specifications midway through the project, unfortunately leading to delays in negotiating a change order for the work in progress.
On June 6th, the Bike Coalition’s annual River Ride was irritatingly detoured around this very nice stretch of river. In the past couple months, I haven’t seen any workers out there constructing the bikeway. What I have seen are more rented fences, more locked gates, and more signs stating “NO ENTRY.”
The good thing about these fences is that they don’t work in neighborhoods like Elysian Valley. People pry them open:
Cut them open:
Throw them down:
Because folks in Elysian Valley use the river all the time, and it’ll take more than a temporary rental fence to keep them out of their largest green space. Unfortunately the fences make for more ugly infrastructure between people’s homes and the river… and the community’s small parks are where there’s the longest stretches of ugly fence have been placed.
From my tone, you’ve probably guessed that I am pretty disappointed the project has dragged on for so long. We urge the city to end the delays and finish off this project. L.A. Creek Freak calls on councilmembers Garcetti and Reyes, whose disticts both border this project, to get this construction done and open the river up again. It’s unfair and inappropriate for the city to fence off this stretch, arguably the nicest part of the entire river, for over a year, while it ambles along on completing this project.
Luckily it’s really not all that difficult to get around the barriers and take a walk or ride along this great stretch of river. Today, plenty of pedestrians and bicyclists figured out how to get in, around the barriers. Perhaps the fences are there mostly there to keep out the elderly and those who use a wheelchair to get around.
Mid-day today, construction crews were nowhere in sight.
The new path is great for walking and biking. I highly recommend it.
(This is intended to be the first of three Elysian Valley Bike Path Blues articles. Within the next month or so, I plan to also cover bike-ped conflict and drainage issues.)