Thursday, October 27, 2016

A lack of signage could be a sign of trouble along the L.A. River path

The L.A. River biking and walking path is a busy place, including the stretch between Atwater Village and Elysian Valley. But,  as the path attracts more riders and walkers, there’s concern about a lack of signage that could make it difficult for police or paramedics to respond to calls for help.  The path is certainly not immune to crime, such as assaults earlier this year against cyclists in Elysian Valley. Now,  the Alliance of River Communities, a coalition of neighborhood councils, is trying to focus attention on the issue. While there are mile markers painted along the path, many are fading away and new users may not know to look for them in case of an emergency.

“Residents and guests at the river need to be able to identify were they are if they should need emergency or police assistance,” said Gina Chovan, a Northeast Division senior lead officer who has experience working in neighborhoods along the river. Officers, she said, also need  better signage to quickly direct them to trouble spots and  to help document  their investigations.

In response to those public safety concerns, alliance chairman Hector Huezo, has asked the City Council’s Committee on Arts, Parks, Health, Aging and the River to look into the matter. Huezo, in a letter from the alliance, says:

Currently, absent of a smart phone, persons using the path have few options for identifying their location along the path if they should ever need to report a crime, incident or call for help.

But, besides money, coming up with consistent signage along the river can be tricky because numerous government agencies and cities are involved, Huezo  notes. That’s why the alliance is asking for coordination from different city departments and other communities.  No word yet when and if the city will look into the issue.

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  1. How do you not laugh at this?

  2. Path users and officers on the streets aren’t the only ones unfamiliar. At issue also are emergency response dispatchers who lack awareness of our urban waterways. On two occasions calling 911, one to report an injured cyclist on the Ballona Creek Bikeway west of Sepulveda, and another to report a man I saw prone and writhing in the LA River bed north of the Sixth Street Bridge, I was connected to dispatchers who couldn’t grasp the concept and kept demanding to know “But what street is the victim on?”

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