City Goes After $11.5 Million for L.A. River Bike Path Near Sepulveda Basin


Biking at the Sepulveda Basin. Photo by Mad Peruvian Media used under a Creative Commons license.

Los Angeles cyclists have yet another reason to celebrate this month. Apart from the generous $13.5 million promised by NBCUniversal, the city of Los Angeles is also giving due attention to another portion of the Los Angeles River bike path in San Fernando Valley.

In a meeting April 30, the City Council adopted an item to apply for a $11.5 million grant to construct an approximately 3-mile segment of the Los Angeles River Bike Path from Vanalden Avenue to Balboa Boulevard under the California Federal Lands Access Program. Councilman Dennis Zine, Council District 3, presented the motion alongside Councilman Ed Reyes, Council District 1.

If awarded the funds, the bike path would connect the river near its source in Canoga Park to the Sepulveda Basin, a 2,000-acre recreational area and flood control basin near Encino, in five to seven years.

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According to Adrian Garcia, Deputy Chief of Staff at Councilman Zine's office, the project would establish many connections to other riverside efforts. It would connect to a project the City is constructing from Mason to Vanalden in Council District 3, which in turn would connect two projects underway -- by the Trust for Public Land at the Aliso Creek Confluence between Wilbur and Reseda, and by the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority at the Caballero Creek confluence on Lindley.

"The goal of completing a continuous bike path along the river from Canoga Park -- the beginning of L.A. River -- to the Sepulveda Basin and downtown L.A. has been a City goal for some time," said Garcia. "This segment would provide for active and passive recreational opportunities, connect neighborhoods, and provide for an alternate mode of transportation that the public can use other than our bus system and Orange Line." If awarded, $1.5 million in local transportation funds would be made available, which would bring the total budget to $13 million.

Administered by the Central Federal Lands Highway Division (CFLHD), the Access Program was just introduced this year. It aims to improve transportation facilities adjacent to or located within federal lands and prioritizes "projects that provide access to high-use recreation sites."

Given these stipulations, Zine's proposal looks to have a good chance. The Los Angeles River Bike Path is part of both the Los Angeles River Masterplan and the city's 2010 Bicycle Masterplan. Apart from being a priority within the city, the bike path has already garnered attention even at the Federal Level. Last June, a 7-mile portion between Griffith Park and Elysian Valley was declared a National Recreational Trail. The river is included in President Obama's Great Outdoors program. Winning proposals are scheduled to be announced August this year.


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