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2.5-Mile Path Opens Along the L.A. River, and a New Map Launches

View KCET's Along the L.A. River in a larger map

Walking, running and cycling along the Los Angeles River got a major boost on Saturday afternoon when city officials, along with KCET Departures (our oral history, interactive documentary project), celebrated the opening of a 2.5-mile extension--a project that was more than 10 years in the making--that runs through L.A.'s Elysian Valley neighborhood.

The addition brings the L.A. River Greenway Trail, which stretches from the northeast corner of Griffith Park to its new terminus in Elysian Valley, to a total of about 7.2 miles in length. But for a 51-mile waterway that brings the region together, the fresh concrete is just one piece of the puzzle.

A 17-mile paved path along the river in Southeast L.A. County already exists between Vernon and Long Beach. And in the eastern San Fernando Valley, a patchwork of paved and dirt trails can be found woven into neighborhoods.

When we began to think about all these separated sections along the river, we couldn't find one single map that included them together. The above Google Map is the first phase of that thought and idea. It details those fragmented East Valley sections, the Greenway Trail and the Southeastern County portions. Additionally, a handful--but by no means, a complete inventory--of features are shown.

Think of it as a living map that will be continually be updated and added to. We welcome your thoughts, too, so please share them below in the comments section, or e-mail us a suggestion at zbehrens [at] kcet [dot] org. A big special thanks goes to Joe Linton, author of the book "Down by the Los Angeles River" and the blog L.A. Creek Freak, for helping make this map happen.

And if you missed Saturday's opening event, here a few photos:

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From memories to historical narrative to current issues, over 40 people participated in Departures' StoryShare on Saturday. Seen here is graffiti writer Raul "Frame" Gamboa talking about the first street art in the river.

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Studio City resident Arthur Langton shared photos of him as a child playing the river in its natural state.

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A group of L.A. County Bicycle Coalition members arrive for the event.

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Despite the extension, it was met with some cautious optimism from local residents who were that concerned speeding cyclists would present a danger to pedestrian usage.

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Photos by Zach Behrens/KCET

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