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City Councilmember Blumenfield Opens New L.A. River Headwaters Bike/Walk Path

1:09 PM PDT on April 22, 2022

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.

This morning in Canoga Park, L.A. City Councilmember Bob Blumenfield celebrated the grand opening of the newest segment of the Los Angeles River path. City and community leaders spoke before a ribbon-cutting and ceremonial bike ride. Blumenfield credited the city's Transportation Department (LADOT), Bureau of Street Services (Streets L.A.), and the project contractor, United Construction and Landscaping, for completing the project on budget and a year ahead of schedule.

Blumenfield praised the new bikeway as a component of the "incredible linear park" that revitalization projects are implementing along the 51+ mile long river.

The new path starts at what is called the L.A. River's headwaters - the confluence of Bell Creek and Calabasas Creek - right behind Canoga Park High School. Though there are miles of upstream tributaries, this is the furthest upstream point where the Los Angeles River is called the Los Angeles River. The river goes east-west through the Valley, then turns north-south in downtown L.A., flowing into the Pacific in Long Beach. There are bikeways along only about half of the length of the river currently, with L.A. City, Metro, and the County working on projects that would fill in the gaps to extend paths the entire length.

The new path extends from
The new path extends from Owensmouth to Mason in Canoga Park

The new path is located on the concrete-reinforced south bank of river. It extends 1.3 miles from Owensmouth Avenue to Mason Avenue, including undercrossings at Canoga Avenue / G Line and De Soto Avenue. The new section of path connects to an existing stretch of river path that Blumenfeld opened in 2014. The West Valley river bikeway now extends just over three miles - from Owensmouth to Vanalden Avenue.

The $6 million dollar project was primarily funded by a $5.4 million grant from the state Active Transportation Program (ATP).

Councilmember Blumenfield cutting the ribbon on the new stretch of L.A. River path
The Los Angeles River in Canoga Park is encased in a trapezoidal concrete channel. The new bikeway runs on the south side of the river, with plenty of native landscaping along the path shared by cyclists and pedestrians.
The new river/bike walk path features undercrossings at bridges, including this one at De Soto Avenue

The new path adds a bicycling component to this stretch's existing river parkway features. The north side of the river there features a decomposed granite walking trail with extensive native landscaping. On the south side, pedestrians can walk along the bikeway, or, in wider areas, can utilize an intermittent parallel meandering walk path - also with extensive native plantings.

Councilmember Blumenfield gives the thumbs up. Visible on the left is a river greenway seating area and walk path.

Blumenfield announced two new initiatives that would extend the river path even further downstream.

Next week the city council expects to approve environmental studies/plans (a mitigated negative declaration - MND, Council File 22-0247) for extending the path downstream into the Sepulveda Basin, specifically three miles from Vanalden to Balboa Boulevard. That project, which Blumenfield now shares with Councilmember Nithya Raman and Council President Nury Martinez, is funded and anticipated to begin construction in the coming fiscal year, which starts in July.

Blumenfield is also supporting a possible ~$200 million California state budget earmark, being sought by Assemblymember Laura Friedman, for completing the Valley portion of the river bike path in advance of the 2028 Olympics. Blumenfield shepherded official city support for the earmark (Council File 22-0002-S18). Last year, Friedman secured $15 million in earmark funding for river path projects in Glendale and North Atwater, but at the same time, in blocking high-speed rail electrification funds, she blocked $7.6 billion worth of green transportation funds that would have supported active transportation projects - like the river path - and acceleration of L.A. transportation infrastructure improvements supporting the Olympics.

Blumenfield also touted further active transportation improvements - including a connection between the G Line path and River path - coming to Canoga Park under a recent ATP grant.

The new river path in Canoga Park
The new river path in Canoga Park

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