Proposed L.A. River bridge in Atwater receives $4 million pledge

Concept drawing presented in April to L.A. River Cooperation Committee

A proposal to build  a new cable bridge over the Los Angeles River in the north end of Atwater Village has received a $4 million commitment to build the structure.  The 30-foot wide bridge, which would accommodate equestrians as well as pedestrians and cyclists – would be the first privately financed bridge across the river, said Omar Brownson, executive director of the Los Angeles River Revitalization Corp., a nonprofit group dedicated to revitalizing the river.  On Thursday, the city’s Cultural Affairs Commission approved the concept of the “Atwater Park Multi-Modal Crossing,” which would cross the river about a half mile north of Los Feliz Boulevard.

The $4 million donation would cover most of the estimated $5 million cost of building the new bridge,  Brownson said.  He would not identify the bridge’s benefactor, saying only he is “a big supporter of environmental efforts in Los Angeles.”

On the Atwater side of the river, the entrance to the approximately 250 foot-long span would be located near the Lincourt Stables and it would connect to the L.A. River Bike Path and a tunnel that  continues under the 5 Freeway to Griffith Park.  The cables used to support the structure would also divide the bridge to separate equestrians from pedestrians and cyclists. The surface of the bridge would be made of wood, which is more comfortable for horses and would slow down cyclists, Brownson said.

Despite the $4 million donation and the approval of the Cultural Affairs Commission, the bridge must still face the scrutiny of other city agencies as well as the Army Corps of Engineers and Los Angeles County, Brownson said.  While financed with private funds, the bridge would be given to the City of Los Angeles after completion, Brownson said.

Related Post:

  • Los Angeles River Cooperation Committee approves two new projects. Arroyo Lover


  1. Hmm, I sure would want a lot more details about this project before I felt happy about it. So far, it sounds fine on it face and in a vacuum — but I find it disturbing to hear of this out of nowhere and funded secretly by someone and seeming to give the bulk of its benefit to some business (the horse stables), since pedestrians and bicyclers can already easy cross over very close by on Los Feliz Boulevard. And all the while setting the city up for significant maintenance, upkeep and liability going forward (hey, a wooden bridge will require a LOT more maintenance that other materials — and it sure as hell better be as earthquake ready as the other bridges over the I-5 freeway).

  2. Why build a bridge up there? Horses!? Are you kidding me? If there’s a bridge that needs to be built its further down the river. Many of the students who attend Soto Mayor high school live in frog town and there’s no bridge close by for the student to cross the river and get to school. Hundrends of students > dozens of horses! (plus, connecting a horse path to a bike path is a bad idea)

  3. And the bridge would go … where? Hmm. It isn’t like we are going to get more bike lanes, or Horse trails across the river in Los Feliz. That bike trail, it needs to go all the damn way to the 405 , and to Pershing Square, then we would really be on to something.

  4. Wow, any time something nice is proposed for the city a bunch of sourpusses appear to worry about maintenance costs and benefiting the wrong people. I love the idea of a bridge so bicycles can cross the river. Accommodating the horse stables (there are many) is also great. That someone is willing to donate millions of dollars for what will probably be a beautiful and functional improvement to the city that also benefits bikes, pedestrians, and horses? How wonderful!

  5. It would be nice to post a rendering of the bridge, as the proposal is quite stunningly beautiful; a Calatrava-inspired cable stay bridge that will be a highly visible feature.

    Creating this link would make access to the (now incomplete) bike path on the east side of the river, and the communities nearby, much more pleasant. The one part of the project that’s not being discussed is making the equestrian tunnel under I-5 more pedestrian friendly. Right now it’s only known by the horse riders, and it is an essential linkage between Griffith Park and the LA River.

    And yes, it’s sad sad sad sad that the first word out of the mouths of whining commenters is negative anytime there’s a proposal to improve our city, which so desperately needs improvements to public space and non-motorized living. It shows how deep the poverty of civic life really is here, and it’s a positive testimony to those who keep working to make things better, in spite of the naysayers … who are ALWAYS WRONG.

  6. There are already paths connecting the eastside of the river to the bike path their called roads, and each one that intersect the bike path has its own individual entrance to the path, just incase you’ve never biked it before.
    It’s one thing for private money to pay for desparetly needed public improvement but this isn’t a desparetly needed public improvement. It’s a privately desired project proposed by private money, intended for a small group of equestrians. Cyclist were never protesting that they needed a bridge to the path, especially not a wooden one. Plus, paths that allow equestrian use do not also allow for the simultaneous use of bicycles. For example, all of the off road trails in Griffith park (or any city park) that allow horses prohibit cyclist.
    This isn’t something to benifit the greater good of the city it’s a proposal for the benifit of a few. We’re being nay sayers because that’s obvious. If the city is going to spend $1 to build a bridge across the river that bridge should be built where it would provide the greatest amount of utility for the city as a whole and that proposal does not do the greatest good for the majority of people who need it.
    What kind of a city builds a bridge for horses to safely cross a river before it builds one for school children? Regardless who’s paying for it.

  7. I remember reading of plans to turn the closed pathway on the eastbank of the river between Dreamworks and the bend around Griffith Park into a ped/bike path that would help connect Victory/Riverside to San Fernando Road and included in that concept was a bridge component. If this is that bridge it seems way too far downstream.

  8. This is a great idea. The stables have survived the 405 being built, which made it very hard to get to Griffith. It also could be an easy way for people in north Atwater to get to Griffith.

    This isn’t part of plans to connect bike paths. Hopefully that is something that’ll work out. Would be great for the river path to connect to the Burbank bike path up at Chandler. And of course for the LA River path to continue through Universal city and into the valley!

  9. Seems like Corps of Engineers approval would be a major issue, no?

  10. This is fantastic. This would provide an excellent, quieter access point to the bike path – getting to the path via Los Feliz is a stressful bike ride with lots of high speed traffic getting on and off the freeway.

  11. Love this Idea I really hope that it brings a windfall of support and new projects to the area the river really needs it,The la river can be a real focal point for LA rather than just a wash basin look at Budapest ,Seoul and many other American cites with tributaries running though them as an exapmle.
    @ batmanuel , rather than cry about it why not start a proposal for your said project. its really easy to sit on your back side and complain ,stop trolling message boards and do something with your convictions.

  12. Money talks. And also in this case, horse sh*t walks. 🙂

  13. Glad to see the rendering and hopefully that is the actual plan.

    The one point that bat man makes that is valid is about the restriction of bicycles on any equestrian path in the City of LA. This has been a big issue for a long long time, and the equestrian crowd has the city by the balls on this. Parks and wildlands everywhere have been able to achieve a working solution to making public paths accessible to all forms of non-motorized traffic, but as usual LA is lagging, stuck in the fear of horrible marauding bicyclists. My view is that since this bridge is SPECIFICALLY designed for access to peds, bikes and horses, it is an opportunity to bridge (he he get it?) these user communities and make some real progress on the issue of equal access.

    But it is wrong to say that this bridge is just for horse use. And: the existing ford crossing creates requires constant rebuilding of the dirt paths, plus the usual issues of erosion, etc.

    Once again, someone wants to build something nice that benefits the city. Battle stations!!!

  14. delete the word “creates” in my last post. muhbad

  15. Mark – Los Feliz is NOT a good access point. Traffic is fast and cyclists have to deal with freeway on/off-ramps. Most people are afraid to ride to the Los Feliz entrances.
    Will – this project is NOT the Riverwalk Project which is being built by the City of Glendale and would probably be near the bend just north of the 134 freeway. There’s also a proposal being considered by the City of Burbank. I say the more access points that are away from busy freeway on/off-ramps (a feature of ALL the access points from Fletcher upstream except for one) the better.
    Tom – the bike path is slated to go northwest into the valley. Right now Universal Studios is trying to stop it. You can help challenge Universal by contacting your City Council rep and voicing your support for the bike path.

  16. More bridges are great but the proposal for this bridge includes putting divits and ruts in the bike path to “slow down” bike riders by rattling their bikes for 100 feet in each direction. I’m all for more bridges but if we’re going to build this lets not ruin the LA River bike path. There are better ways to warn people for the occasional horse crossing the path. signals, signs, and horse riders looking both ways. A much better location for this would be up at the bend just north of the 134 at Flower st.

    The argument that Los Feliz is scary to cross is true, but this bridge doesnt actually go anywhere meaningful for cyclists. Look at where it ends up.

  17. This bridge was not funded or proposed by equestrians. In fact, many of us oppose it. I would destroy the crossing we now use. If it is needed down river, then by all means, put it there.

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