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Glendale Breaks Ground on L.A. River Path

The L.A. River, and Griffith Park in the background, as seen from near Betty Davis Park | Photo by Zach Behrens/KCET
The L.A. River, and Griffith Park in the background, as seen from near Betty Davis Park | Photo by Zach Behrens/KCET

This post is in support of Departures, KCET's oral history and interactive documentary project about Los Angeles neighborhoods. The series has extensively profiled the L.A. River.

Only a small portion of the city of Glendale's border hugs the Los Angeles River, but local leaders are making sure residents have access to the 52-mile waterway that is envisioned to someday connect cities and neighborhoods together.

Officials broke ground Thursday on Phase 1 of the $1.6 million Glendale Narrows Riverwalk Project. Crews from the non-profit North East Trees are already working on a path for cyclists, pedestrians and equestrians. Other amenities to be built include two small parks--one adjacent to Betty Davis Park in Los Angeles and another near property owned by Disney--and facilities for residents with horses living in Glendale's equestrian-zoned rancho neighborhood.

The half mile path on the northern side of river extends from Betty Davis Park to Flower Street, where Phase 2, already completed but not accessible until Phase 1 opens later this year, goes another half mile, ending at the Verdugo Wash. From there, plans call for connecting to the City of Los Angeles' anticipated path in Atwater Village, which may take years before completion.

On the other side of the river is the popular 7.2 mile L.A. River Greenway Trail (map).

Glendale's project was first conceptualized in the mid 1990's, but has been plagued with challenges, most notably gaining access along the edge of Dreamworks' studio.

The project's unfunded third phase--it could cost anywhere between $2 million and $30 million--is to build a pedestrian bridge connecting to Griffith Park. Even a second bridge is on the drawing board.

"You'll have a completely different regional trail situation here when these bridges get built," said John Pearson, the project's manager. In the meantime residents will still have new recreational opportunities when the first two phases open in October.

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