Bridge and Bikeway Construction in West San Fernando Valley

August 26, 2010 § 25 Comments

Illustration of Tampa Avenue Bridge design, including Cheri Gaulke's medallions with steelhead and coyote, image courtesy city of Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering

Construction is underway on a couple of Los Angeles River bridge retrofit and widening projects in the west San Fernando Valley. Specifically work is proceeding on the Tampa Avenue Bridge and Winnetka Avenue Bridge in the Valley communities of Reseda and Winnetka, not far from Los Angeles Pierce College. The bridge projects include river- and historic-themed artwork, a portion of the Los Angeles River bike path, and native landscaping.

Bridge, with bikeway and greenway, construction at Winnetka Avenue

Back in Novemer 2008, Creek Freak reported that this project was one of two L.A. River bike path sections that the city was gradually proceeding with. The new path will be two miles on the south bank, from Mason Avenue to VanAlden Avenue, including grade-separated underpasses at Vanowen Street, Winnetka Avenue, Corbin Avenue, and Tampa Avenue.

Due to the state bond freeze, some of the greenway aspects of the project were delayed. The paved bike path itself, including under-crossings, is being done in conjunction with the bridge projects underway. Construction is happening now on the Tampa Avenue and Winnetka Avenue bridges. The first phase at Tampa Avenue began in 2009. The first part of the bike path expected to be competed will be approximately 0.8-miles from Corbin Avenue to Vanalden Avenue, with an undercrossing at Tampa – expected to be open in late 2011 or early 2012.

Next up is the Winnetka Avenue Bridge, where construction began earlier this year. The bike path undercrossing there will connect the bike path from Vanowen to Corbin.

Public artwork for both Winnetka and Tampa bridges are by artist Cheri Gaulke. Creek Freak afficionados may recall Gaulke for her river-themed art installation (including Lewis MacAdams poetry) at the Lincoln/Cypress (Avenue 26) Metro Gold Line Station.

Gaulke’s Tampa Avenue bridge features medallions featuring historic river flora and fauna:

Tampa Avenue Bridge river flora and fauna medallions by artist Cheri Gaulke - click for larger image, courtesy city of Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering

Gaulke’s design for Winnetka commemorates the agricultural history of the neighborhood:

Design of Winnetka Avenue Bridge, with Gaulke medallions, click for larger image with additional medallions, courtesy city of Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering

These are artist concept drawings, and the final version may be slightly different. Stay tuned to L.A. Creek Freak for future updates as these bike path and bridge projects near completion.  



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§ 25 Responses to Bridge and Bikeway Construction in West San Fernando Valley

  • Peter Weinberger says:

    Why does it take 1 to 2 years to complete .8 miles of bike path?

    • Joe Linton says:

      It’s good for us to be impatient on this stuff – it shouldn’t take anywhere near 2 years for a mile of bike path, but I would actually assert, in this case, that the city has accelerated this project, by tagging it onto the bridge retrofit projects, which do take a couple years.

      There’s a very limited pot of funding for bike path projects – about $12M throughout the entire county of Los Angeles, so the city of L.A. has been using small chunks of that money to build small chunks of the river bike path with that money… very gradually working its way along the river… so it would take the city many many years (~50?) at that rate to get to the West Valley… so it’s good that they were able to leapfrog that process and to combine the bikeway with the bridge construction.

  • Dave says:

    Just unlock the gates. There’s miles of riverside riding already there. The majority of the existing cemented river channel has an adjacent maintenance road which is adequate for biking. Open the gates please.

    • Joe Linton says:

      I agree – we should unlock those gates! One caveat, though: when we do that we’ll have a discontinuous path, blocked by streets/bridges, so we’ll still need to work on building undercrossings, too.

  • […] the other way around. Meanwhile, new bridges at Tampa and Winnetka Aves mean work can proceed on two miles additional miles of the LA River Bike Path between Mason and […]

  • […] Update on L.A. River Bridge Reconstruction (Creek Freak)  […]

  • Sue Iri says:

    Why would anyone be anti-bike??? I suppose manners of some bikers (as manners of some drivers) could be improved, but that is an individual situation, and shouldn’t indite the group.

    Bells (although deemed “uncool” or some other warning systems on bikes would of course be welcome- no way to communicate between bikers & walkers is a problem.

    Meanwhile, congratulations Cheri for beautiful and thoughtful work!

  • Cheri Gaulke says:

    This is exciting. I myself didn’t even know these bridges are under construction as the art was designed a few years ago. It was my great honor to research these communities and use art to make visible that which is no longer seen. At Tampa it is nature (past and present) and at Winnetka it is a visionary community that once existed. In addition, I designed art for the Vanowen bridge that may not yet be under construction. (Note: my name is spelled wrong in the Tampa paragraph.) Thanks for reporting on this!

  • BC says:

    “Gaulke’s Tampa Avenue bridge features medallions featuring historic river flora and fauna:”

    It may be that the only one of those critters that is not currently in or very near the river at least some of the time, even at the concrete conduit at Tampa, is the steelhead?

  • Bob says:

    I found a bridge widening retrofit for pedestrians and cyclists in NC about 8 years ago. Looks like this was done efficiently – see

  • Dave says:

    There exist many pedestrian scale bridges which crisscross the LA river and its tributaries in the valley, similar to the pedestrian bridge which crosses the Golden State Freeway from the LA river bike path to allow access to the park at Los Feliz Blvd. and Riverside Dr. At least two of these pedestrian bridges in the valley have already been fenced off preventing their use. I hope the remaining pedestrian bridges in the valley don’t get lost in all the current activity.

    • Joe Linton says:

      Which valley ped bridges have been fenced off?

      • Dave says:

        At three locations I’m aware of, its been a while since I’ve pedaled over there but near Lederer Ave. and Haynes St. (Victory and Platt) in the far west valley, at Valerio, between Lurline and Cozycroft, and near Shoup and Sylvan. A careful following of the waterways on Google Maps will show many, though not all, of these little bridges. I’ve mapped a route on GMaps Pedometer which will take you on a tour of most of the west valley Ped bridges.

      • Kevin says:

        How do we reopen the Haynes St and Lederer Ave Pedestrian Bridge?

      • Joe Linton says:

        Maybe start by asking the L.A. City Council office (find via maps here: – I think it’s District 3), and/or neighborhood councils. I think that near my neighborhood some public stairs (in Echo Park/Silver Lake areas) that were closed as nuisance that have recently been re-opened… seems like there’s increased interest in folks walking, so the city may reconsider some earlier decisions.

      • Kevin says:

        Thank you. I contacted them. They said someone else inquired as well. I found a few Pedestrian Bridges that were closed by the Council Woman in the early 90’s have been re-opened so, maybe this one has the possibility as well. I wonder why it was closed?….I used to go through there as a child with my Grandmother on my way to school, and back from school and it was always empty.

      • Joe Linton says:

        sometimes someone trips or there’s a crime and it gets closed without a lot of thought. Glad you followed-through.

      • Kevin says:

        I found out why the Haynes Street Pedestrian Bridge was closed. One of the nearby neighbors back in 1990 got a Petition and convinced people to sign it. I am assuming that the same thing happened to the Valerio Street Pedestrian Bridge as it has the same type of tall fences blocking it. I don’t live by the Valerio Street one, but, if anyone does, contact the LA Council and see if you can open that one. We are working on the Haynes Street one with the city and will let you know when its opened.

      • Kevin says:

        Here is the petition to reopen the Haynes Street Pedestrian Bridge (between Victory and Vanowen by Platt Village).

  • elle says:

    I think the idea is a good one; however its a real pain when you have to walk a block to cross at the light then cross back over just to go to Walgreens when you live 2mins. away

  • Chaddie says:

    Cool! So glad to see this finally. We live on Corbin and have seen one lone guy w/ an American flag protesting the path, but we didn’t know where it was going exactly.
    Are there any plans to connect this path to the busway bike path? Would love to be able to get from my house, near Corbin and Vanowen to both bike paths w/o having to ride sidewalks or street.

    • Joe Linton says:

      In the future, the river bike path will connect with the Orange Line Bike Path – both near Canoga Avenue and near Balboa Blvd (in the Sepulveda Basin recreation area.) Does it look like the construction is proceeding ok? I’ve been meaning to go by there and check out the progress.

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