LA Public Works Board approves West Valley Greenway Funding

September 1, 2010 § 1 Comment

'Charles Weeks, Visionary Founder of Winnetka' artwork for Winnetka Avenue Bridge, by Cheri Gaulke, click image for additional Gaulke bridge artwork in last week's article

At this morning’s meeting, the Los Angeles City Board of Public Works  awarded a contract for Phase 1 of Los Angeles River bikeway and greenway construction for the West San Fernando Valley. The initial  phase (of a three-phase project) extends 0.8-miles from Corbin Avenue to Vanalden Avenue. The full 2-mile project will go from just above Mason Avenue all the way to Vanalden  in the communities of Winnetka and Reseda, respectively (map below.) This  landscaped grade-separated bike path will be the first Los Angeles River revitalization project implemented upstream of the Sepulveda Basin. 

Creek Freak reported briefly on this project in 2008, then again last week after I noticed construction on Winnetka. Today’s approval wasn’t controversial or significantly different than what we shared earlier, but it does clarify some of the timeline, scope, etc. What follows is a somewhat dry description of all the construction project phases… oh boy! 


There are actually 6 interconnected construction projects that comprise this West Valley greenway. Three of the projects are bridge widening/rehabilitation; three of the projects are bikeway phases – with each phase corresponding to the bridge it crosses under. The work goes east to west, ie: the downstream projects proceed first and phases work their way upstream: 

  1. Tampa Avenue Bridge Widening
  2. Bikeway Phase 1 – Vanalden to Corbin, underpasses at Tampa, Corbin
  3. Winnetka Avenue Bridge Widening
  4. Bikeway Phase 2 – Corbin to Winnetka, underpass at Winnetka is built but opens in Phase 3
  5. Vanowen Street Bridge Widening
  6. Bikeway Phase 3 – Winnetka to Hartland Street, underpasses at Vanowen and Mason

The first two bridge projects (Tampa and Winnetka) are already underway. These two bridge projects are under the same contract with the same contractor and same timeline. Construction began in April 2010 and is estimated to be complete around October 2012. Creek Freak featured additional images of the bridge artwork in our earlier post

Today, the Board of Public Works awarded $5,239,106.50 in Federal Stimulus (formally ARRA – the American Recovery and Reinvestment act of 2009) funding for Phase 1 of the bikeway project (from Vanalden Avenue pedestrian bridge to the upstream end of Corbin Avenue) and for a small amount of resurfacing of Tampa Avenue. The project is expected to begin construction in late October 2010, and be completed and open approximately March 2012. 

The nearly $5M 0.8-mile phase 1 greenway project takes the basic bike path, and makes it into more of a full-fledged park setting. Features will include artistic entry gates, fitness stations, benches, bike parking, drinking fountain, solar lighting, and interpretive signage. The landscaping is all native, with a depressed bio-swale area that detains and infiltrates rainwater. 

(It seems perhaps a bit over-built… like a lot of features have been condensed into a fairly small area… I think it’ll be nice, but I hope that it doesn’t set too high a standard, so that, in the long run, we end up getting just a short fancy path… instead of a longer path that’s nice, but not as impressive.)  

The city had initially sought and received state funding for this greenway, but that money is on hold, so the city is using the federal stimulus funding because the project is shovel-ready, and the funding needs to be completely spent by 2013.  The state funding is expected to be utilized on subsequent phases, as it becomes available. 

Future phases are funded, but the implementation timelines are further off and less clear. The Vanowen Street Bridge is anticipated to go to construction some time early- to mid-2011.  The subsequent greenway phases will depend on the vicissitudes of state funding.

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