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New L.A. River Bike Path Segment Opens in Studio City

10:23 AM PDT on September 6, 2019

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This article supported by Los Angeles Bicycle Attorney as part of a general sponsorship package. All opinions in the article are that of the author, and do not necessarily reflect those of LABA. Click on the ad for more information.
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This morning the city of Los Angeles opened its newest stretch of the river bikeway. Located in Studio City, the new bike/walk path extends 0.5 miles from Whitsett Avenue to Coldwater Canyon Avenue.

At this morning's opening celebrations, L.A. City Councilmember Paul Krekorian spoke of the Los Angeles River as the city's historical "heart and soul" and touted river revitalization as bringing recreational and economic assets to Valley communities. Krekorian spoke of joining together bike path segments to connect the Valley to downtown L.A.

L.A. City Councilmember Paul Krekorian at this morning's opening celebration for the newest river path segment in Studio City
L.A. City Councilmember Paul Krekorian at this morning's opening celebration for the newest river path segment in Studio City
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The new bikeway stretch was funded by city Prop K parks funding. Unlike many bike paths in L.A., it is not a project of the Transportation Department (LADOT), but was built by the Department of Recreation and Parks, working with the Bureau of Engineering.

In the east San Fernando Valley, the river is contained by a concrete channel with vertical walls. The vertical channel walls make it difficult (ie: expensive) to connect path segments over or under roads/bridges.

Los Angeles River in vertical wall box-channel through Studio City.
Los Angeles River in vertical wall box-channel through Studio City - photo looking upstream from Whitsett Avenue Bridge. New bike path is on the left.
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Studio City now has three officially-open river greenway stretches: Radford Avenue to Laurel Canyon Boulevard, Laurel Canyon to Whitsett, and Whitsett to Coldwater Canyon. It is not possible to walk or bike directly between these as there are currently no safe provisions to cross the streets/bridges that separate them. Cyclists come to the end of the segment, then need to ride along a busy street to get to a signalized intersection, cross there, then ride along the street back to the path. In the future, the city is looking to add under- or over-crossings. Metro's Measure M includes funds for building the remaining segments to complete the full 51-mile L.A. River bikeway (scheduled to be fully built by around 2025 and on Metro's list of projects to accelerate for the 2028 Olympics), but for now, the East Valley has unconnected segments.

Councilmember Krekorian bicycling the new L.A. River bikeway in Studio City
Councilmember Krekorian riding on the new L.A. River bikeway in Studio City
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The newly-opened bike path design is fairly simple. It features the standard two-way asphalt path, decorative fencing, a low gabion wall (basically rocks secured by wire), and a vegetated swale. Signage shows how the swale acts to cleanse rainwater before it drains into the river.

Interpretive signage along the new Studio City bike path
Interpretive signage along the new Studio City bike path
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Close-up of signage diagram showing how bio-swale drainage cleanses rainwater
Close-up of signage diagram showing how bio-swale drainage cleanses rainwater
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The river runs east-west in this area, with the bike path on the south side.

On the north side of the river - along the current Weddington Golf & Tennis facility - the river bank features an unpaved walking path with extensive native landscaping. That stretch of greenway opened in 2017.

Welcoming gate to the north bank walk path - near Whitsett Avenue in Studio City
Welcoming gate to the north bank walk path - near Whitsett Avenue in Studio City
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North bank L.A. River walk path
North bank L.A. River walk path
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