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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Cypress Park and Elysian Valley prepare to connect


View Planned Taylor Yard Bridge in a larger map

Only a few hundred feet separate Cypress Park and Elysian Valley. But with the Los Angeles River flowing between both communities and no bridges offering a direct connection,  getting to and from both neighborhoods is not as easy as it may appear, especially for pedestrians and cyclists.  But traveling between the two communities may eventually become much more convenient  – at least for cyclists and walkers – with the construction of a 400-foot long bridge that would span the river and connect Cypress Park and  Elysian Valley. Last month,  the effort to construct the project took a big step forward when the  Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority approved spending about $1 million for the design of the  Taylor Yard Bikeway/Pedestrian Bridge.

As envisioned, the Cypress Park side of the approximately $5.3-million bridge would be anchored near the southern end of the Rio de Los Angeles State Park in the former rail hub known as Taylor Yard. On the Elysian Valley side of the river,  the 17-foot wide bridge would be anchored near Dorris Place along the river pathway.

In addition, the project will include an on-grade railroad crossing and a pipeline for recycled water, according to a summary by the Bureau of Engineering.

Pedestrians and cyclists will have to be patient for the Taylor Yard bridge to open.  A final design and contractor have yet to be selected and a preliminary timelines indicates that work would not begin until next year.



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20 comments

  1. “…Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority approved spending about $1 for the design…”

    You have a typo in the amount there. I couldn’t find a dollar amount for the design portion in the link you gave.

  2. This is great, and an extension of one of my favorite parks.

  3. The merit of this project aside, I don’t see why this is a matter for the Metropolitan Transit Agency and its budget. Seems to me this is a matter for Public Works, not transit. I don’t even see why this is a matter for a regional agency rather than simply for the city.

    How much will bus fares have to go up so this can be funded — its already high when compared to other cities (because you have to pay a full new fare every time you transfer)? When you voted to increase the sales tax to fund transit, did you think this is what you were voting for, or did you think you were voting for more funding for buses and trains and to keep fares down?

    • This is taken from the MTA website,

      “The City recently requested funding for the design of the Taylor Yard
      Bikeway I Pedestrian Bridge project. The funds requested would fulfill our commitment as part of a 1992 settlement agreement pertaining to the development of the Taylor Yard Commuter Rail Facility for the Southern California Regional Rail Authority (SCRRA).”

      link here,
      http://www.metro.net/board/Items/2012/01_January/20120118P&PItem9.pdf

    • LA Metro fares are cheaper than DC, Portland, SF, New York, and Chicago. What cities you’re comparing it to?
      Do they really zing you full fare each time you transfer? I have a TAP card and it seemed like I got a discounted transfer fare but I very rarely transfer so really couldn’t say.

      • No they are not. You’re comparison is mixing apples an oranges. LA MTA has a system designed for maximum transfers. At the same time, you must pay full fare all over again every time you transfer.

        Thus, for a routine trip with a mere one transfer, it costs $3.00 (2 transfers, which is common, would cost you $4.50). In New York, it is $2,50 and transfer 20 times for that price if you want. If you commit to buying a day pass at $5, your round trip would be $2.50 each way, every bit as much as a simply one-way fare in New York but you have to commit to a return trip to make it so (that average of $2.50 would be only IF you are going round tip. I often use the bus to go to the airport, which involves two transfers, and so am going only one-way — and so I get stuck with the higher price, unlike in New York).

        MTA has merely set up a fare structure to intentionally TRICK you into thinking it is less. In reality, it is more than in New York.

    • Metro’s name is actually the LA County Metropolitan *Transportation* (not transit) Authority. And contrary to popular belief, it’s not solely a transit operator, even though that’s a major part of what it does. It’s also a state-chartered regional transportation planning agency that’s responsible for many different aspects of transportation in LA County, including bikes and walking. Being an RTPA also means that a lot of state and federal transportation funding gets funneled through Metro for distribution to local city governments, including funding for bike and pedestrian projects. This money doesn’t come out of transit fare revenue — it’s kept in completely separate accounts.

      And in this case, as sidewalk points out, the bridge is related to obligations Metro accepted when it built the Metrolink yard 20 years ago.

  4. I think this is a great addition to the area but I would love to see a second bike path along the opposite side (on the San Fernando Rd side of LA River). I think LA should have a river district like the major cities around the world (La Seine in Paris, the Thames in London, etc.) They all have vibrant river districts which promote pedestrian/cyclist activity, and public transportation use. It would also be a great idea to have an Amtrak and/or a Metro line stop at Taylor yard to bring commuters into the area. The area is quite beautiful, it is the greenest area near the Downtown LA vicinity – less than 3 miles from DTLA. I forsee this area (if greedy commerical interests stay away) as an pro-environmental area that hosts a variety of environmentally friendly businesses and places of interests where residents and visitors alike can take advantage of the scenery. The LA river is becoming more and more natural looking, the hills in Cypress Park and Mt. Washington to the nort east are very green and pretty nice to walk around and view…ah…but I am a dreamer…..

    • I’m opposed to bringing more commuters or development into the area. The urban beauty of this community is/was primarily organic due to relative isolation and anonymity, which always made it somewhat of a sanctuary from the standard urban hustle, bustle, and blight surrounding it. In fact, the overwhelming majority of Angelenos never even heard of “Elysian Valley” and I shudder at the thought of it suddenly becoming a well-known tourist destination. It is about time that the river was made accessible and pedestrian/cyclist friendly but that’s about the extent of additional development I want to see there.

      • I think if we promote and live an pro-environmental self-sustaining lifestyle – and stick to it, unlike anything we have in Los Angeles now ( I am not speaking of gentrification – Highland Park can keep that, nor the areas that merely host a farmers market weekly either… ), this could become a model for other thriving cities that are concerned with maintaining their natural habitats. I am suggesting that the area improve organically – who cares if more people become aware of it. As long as the reason they want to visit is that they can experience a city with natural habitats, with residents as well as businesses concerned with maintaining that – unlike all other “synthetic” areas with their malls, shopping centers, and all other points of interests that are not organic nor beneficial to communities and their residents. I would certainly want to visit and/live in an area that provides its residents a year round farmers market with locally grown products, available public and pedestrian transportation into and away from the area, as well as incorporate some local points of interests – art galleries – featuring local art, possibly student art from the local schools, among other things. Basically have a community that is active in ensuring that residents, businesses, and visitors to the area have an interest in maintaining the natural components and use those to help the area thrive. Rather than the usual bring in the Starbucks, the trader joes, et al…. But I know, I’m dreaming….it’s a good dream to have though. Imagine the possibilities…if we could create that reality in this baby of a city in which we live.

        • Your dream is ambitious and optimistic. Unfortunately, you also described the ingredients for the latest trend in gentrification. Otherwise, I haven’t heard a single long-time resident of this area share the same dream, which is the dream of those hoping to find and settle in this urban utopia, which will invariably mean moving those who can no longer afford to live there out. Perhaps it’s time to develop a public policy that transparently rejects gentrification on behalf of longtime residents? Of course, what would be the incentive of policymakers to keep hip money and investment out of their community? After all, those are the primary factors that make gentrification the irresistible force that it is and the bane of those who appreciate the improvements but also want to preserve the character of their neighborhoods, i.e., the “less” that has always meant “more” in the communities of N.E.L.A.

    • Mando, I agree with you completely about a second bike path on the opposite side….that would relieve some of the pedestrian/bike congestion on the current path through Elysian Valley. I would love to see two bridges, one at Fletcher and then one further south so bikes could cross over and ride fast down the pedestrian-free zone on the opposite bank! Another dream :)

  5. Is this something separate from the bridge construction that is happening in this area currently? What is the project currently underway right as you exit from the 110N onto the 5N ? I can’t seem to find information on it.

  6. That’s a great spot for a pedestrian/cyclist bridge for me, it would make it so much more convenient to get to my friends’ place on Cypress.

    But reading this it just blows me away that a million dollars is budgeted just to design a 5 million dollar bridge.

  7. This is an important conduit and ultimately I welcome it, but as someone who, be it via bike or on foot, has so often had this remarkable stretch of the east bank of the LA River to myself, I cherish the solitude offered and will miss it when it’s gone.

  8. The more ways to connect Frogtown to the rest of civilization the better.

  9. What everyone fails to realise is that there use to be a bridge connecting, Cypress Park to Elysian Valley…I just can’t figure out where this bridge use to be. My grandmother took me over it once when I was a child in the mid 70’s, we crossed from
    San Fernando rd. This was a metal or tin bridge, that went over the tracks, and another over the river…A short cut to Elysian Valley, for sure….We are from
    Echo Park, so the hill is what took the wind out of us, but it definately was a short cut and sure bipassed the downtown commute…If anyone remembers these days’ please enlighten us of the old bridge and where it was at, because I even went back to look for it in the 90’s and it was gone…Maybe they should even connect Elysian Park, extension, and make a trail from those basketball courts on Riverside dr. to the top of Echo Park ave. Cypress Park is so close I can see it from the top, but yet seems so far away….I am game for this, this would be intriguing. There were cable cars in the old days, and I think they had a plan for them to go over the hill. Wonderful idea!

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