Elysian Valley residents take a walk to improve safety along the L.A. River path

Photo courtesy David de la Torre

Photo courtesy David de la Torre

ELYSIAN VALLEY — The “Share The Path” inaugural walk took place on Saturday as part of an effort to increase safety and reduce tensions between cyclists and pedestrians along the busy but narrow path along the L.A River.

The  Elysian Valley Neighborhood Watch, which organized the walk, has been tracking altercations and incidents between cyclists and pedestrians.  The goal of the walk is “to help prevent further incidents from occurring, according to organizers.


  1. Wow that path sure is narrow!

    • Steve Appleton

      Yes, The only real solution is widening. Though challenging, it is not impossible. If widened, pedestrians and cyclists can each have their space. In some locations the path can bend to the interior and in others cantilever or bump out towards the river. I’ve worked on a concept proposal we call “Paseando Pathway.” The concept design looks at the whole Elysian Valley stretch and explores ways to widen the path.

      Up and down the river DWP power poles or other “bump outs” reach towards the river with no impact on river flow or flood control. In those locations the affect on channel volume is negligible. Let’s consider and support design alternatives that solve problems and move us beyond a cycle recriminations between one user of public space v. another.

    • Better yet, make one side of the river for walkers, the other for bikers. Simple.

  2. Speed bumps or offset gates will slow down bikers so they won’t cause accidents!

    • Speed bumpers??? Are you crazy?? How can someone ride a bike going over speed bumps? That is insane!! People walking can move to the side when they see a bicyclist coming from a long distance away.

      • Juan our photo

        Glad you aren’t in charge, Susan. So I’m walking and having to keep my head on a swivel? Really dumb. We already have a proven system that works. SLOWER TRAFFIC KEEPS TO THE RIGHT> ONLY PASS ON THE LEFT.

        The pedestrians can not block the entire path. They must keep to the right. At the same time, cyclist must use caution when passing pedestrians.

        The problem here is 1) uneducated pedestrians (this can be helped by posting signs) 2) cyclist think they should be the only ones allowed here (this can be helped by telling them to get over it)

        Share the path

    • As a cyclist I can tell you that speed humps don’t slow cyclists down – if anything some will ride faster trying to get air or bunny-hop the bump

  3. If this is a bike path, why are pedestrians allowed to walk wherever they want? Designate the lane to the right for pedestrians if it hasn’t been already done. Also, inform with signage/paited path.

    • So, when you go take a walk with a few friends, you will have to go in single file rather than next to each other so you can talk?! Maybe putting too much on a walkway the width of a sidewalk is too much. This was originally only a walkway for pedestrians – bicyclers insisted as being added. Instead, don’t add them – give them other other side of the river. No construction and expense for widening is needed, there is a path on the other side too.

      You can’t have people zooming down on a bicycle just inches from the walkers, which is all that can be done on a walkway the width of a sidewalk. The two never should have been allowed to mix — I would hold the city liable for any accident because of that. It is not a benign mix.

  4. How about if your walking on the freaking path u stay to the side… Not walk 4 abreast and ruin the point of a damn biking path!

  5. friendly tuxedo cat

    David de la Torre: Please stop provoking people to harass cyclists. Cyclists are riding on a bicycle path–only a tiny piece of which is routed past Elysian Valley. Why don’t you organize Elysian Valley to restrict the rampant development and and land grabbing going on in your area? The population impacts of Taylor Yard alone will be alot more disruptive than a handful of people trying to ride bikes on a bicycle path.

    • It was a walking path a long time before the bike path was added. And it isn’t a “bicycle path” — it is shared use.

    • You are right. Stop the developments!!

    • Funny. Our Mayor Garcetti and our Councilman O’Farrell are now making plans to provide for much denser development along the river path in Elysian Valley. Those single-family houses must go! Developers see money to be made with a view of a river and park that taxpayers will build for them, and Garcetti and O’Farrell will bend over any time they can find a developer to bend over for.

      • I’m pro development… But kinda agree with you, the river is not the best location for increasing population density.

        Better to push most growth downtown and in some of the surrounding central neighborhoods (specifically those served by metro rail and rapid bus stops.)

  6. Two solutions nobody is talking about.

    1) Widen the path. This would be costly but not impossible.

    2) Put Riverside Drive on a road diet, add bike lanes, and then encourage the speedsters to do their training there instead.

    We shouldn’t punish either cyclists or pedestrians but seek solutions that can encourage them both to grow without causing conflict between the two.

    • Pedestrians should not be on the bike path. It is a bike path. They should have a place on the opposite side of the river!!

    • Enough with the “road diet” option. Not a single one of the recently-installed bike lanes has encouraged anything more than sporadic recreational use on the weekends. It remains a stale agenda without any local demand. You guys can’t even get your act straight on the river path, which is ideal for bicycle use without clashing with pedestrians. As if establishing a pedestrian path parallel to the bike path is that complicated. “Caring is SHARING” but the bicycle lobby to frequently disregards the latter part of that equation in favor of shrill and pouty demands.Even those of us who would be supportive of a compromised solution are completely turned off by the bicycle lobby’s self-righteous sense of entitlement. They need to get their act together and develop an inclusive solution that doesn’t elevate their needs and concerns above all others.

      • “You guys can’t even get your act straight on the river path, which is ideal for bicycle use without clashing with pedestrians.” Hm, sounds like cars on every street ever made despite the fact our roads are enormously wide and clear of “obstructions.” C’mon car drivers, get your act together and stop smashing into buildings, people, and each other!

      • You are full to the brim with a proper dos.

    • No, not Riverside Drive. Just use the path on the opposite side of the river for bikes. That costs nothing, can be done TODAY, and nothing else needs to be disrupted. One side for bike, the other for pedestrians. Simple.

  7. They are not improving safety. They are blocking bicyclists and their safety.

  8. Great Blue Heron

    Its sad to see all this people “focusing”on bogous things, , and very disturbing tosee also how individuals with no ethics and morals misguide and misinforming some of the the ELysian Valley Residents with ” rallies” like this one, expossing them to innecessary risks, when they should be informing them about their constitutional and human rights, housing rights (renters / home owners), and all the information necessary to protect their homes and families, they should be letting them knwo that very soon they will no be able to afford living in this area because its being GENTRIFIED. Elysian Valley Residents WAKE UP !! Stop being followers of non sense like this one, educate yourself and/or join the only EV Neighbors group that is really fighting for you and your children rights, F.R.O.G ” Frogtown Residents Opposing Gentrification”, we can provide you with accurate and real information about your rights and what we can do to stop this madness, also show you who are the corrupted public servants, Corps. and non profit orgs. behind all this, Don’t be afraid haga valer sus derechos y que su voz y voto sean escuchados !! …, And to all the crazy “Lance Armatrong” wannabes, its a bike path NOT a freaking race track, you want respect? Show the very basics of respect too.

    • Well first of all homeowners have nothing to fear from gentrification. Those of us who bought recently are excited to be in an improving neighborhood full of parks and recreation opportunities that will only grow and increase. Those who bought years ago should be excited that they probably paid next to nothing for a home that’s going to be worth in excess of $500k.

      As for renters who are the only ones who have a reason to fear gentrification, what is your goal? That things stay the same forever and never change so that you can keep cheap rent forever? Keep empty lots, overgrown parkways full of illegal dumping, graffiti, bombed out old warehouses and run down alleyways instead of cleaning the neighborhood up and encouraging small businesses and fun amenities? Your strategy seems to be “I want everything to be stay the same so that I can have my cheap rent forever.”

      How about let’s help the community out by pledging to always call 311 when there is graffiti and litter on our streets. I call 311 almost every week when there is a new pile of mattresses or “FTR” graffiti or a rotten old couch on the curb. If people who have rented here for 30 years love the neighborhood so much, why do you accept illegal dumping and graffiti as the norm? The littering in this neighborhood is shameful. I see shitty little hoodlums throwing mcdonalds bags out of their car windows. What kind of parents don’t teach their kids what a foul thing to do that is?

      Let’s rally together to lobby the city to repave our streets, improve public transit, and let’s never tolerate illegal dumping littering and graffiti. Let’s form community groups to clean up ugly overgrown parkways and replace with them trees and drought tolerant landscaping. Let’s encourage small businesses to open coffee and sandwich shops so we can take a walk to get a bite to eat. These are real things to do to improve a community, not vauge notions of “stopping gentrification” which is like stopping gravity, it’s not going to happen.

  9. For the past 55 yrs my family have been residents in EV. This was NOT a “bicycle path” until recent modern changes began taking place in the entire neighborhood. I enjoy bicycling the path as well, but often find groups of pro type cyclist speeding past me with little to no regard for others on the same route. Signage is every where posted that this is a “shared” path. It would be great for future developments in the LA river to include a bike only path because I don’t see these speedy bike guys caring a damn bit about pedestrians on the path.

    • I enjoy bicycling the path too, Letty, which makes us cyclists AND pedestrians. Safety is not about being one or the other, rather, it’s about being respectful of others. You’re right that there are cyclists who speed recklessly (and silently) along the path, seemingly too selfish to worry about pedestrians and other cyclists. Likewise, there are pedestrians who meander or dart in and out obliviously, threatening even the slower, respectful cyclists. We should continue to push for physical improvements (with the understanding that they’ll take time and money) but in the meantime it is important to behave in accordance with the reality that this shared narrow strip is not an Olympic training facility nor a wide-open family park. Cyclists, have and use a bell, slow down, and give a sufficient berth to pedestrians and slower cyclist when passing. Pedestrians, don’t hog the path, jump left or right suddenly, or use headphones that restrict your hearing and, for heaven’s sake, keep your dog on a leash. We can get to the next level without maiming each other.

  10. Yes they absolutely should open the entire east side of the river as a paved bike path with many access points and bridges to and from the west side. Hopefully that will come with all of the developments growth and investment in our community that has been happening recently. Whether one side is designated bikes and one pedestrians, I don’t think that’s necessary but doubling the mileage by opening the east side will certainly help ease the flow.

    For now, one simple thing to help is that all is bikes should use bells. I have a bell on my bike which I ding when I’m approaching pedestrians who might be a close call. They hear the bell and accommodate me passing. There are no dirty looks or passive aggression involved. A nice pleasant bell is much less shocking and aggressive for pedestrians than hearing someone shouting “ON YOUR LEFT!!” and it saves me from having to shout at people every time I go by. It’s not that hard. You’ve got the spandex and the safety lights, add a bell into the mix.

  11. Cyclists are the new assholes. They don’t obey any law related to the road or sidewalk and then plead for sympathy when one of them gets wiped out by a vehicle.

    • True. Cyclists come on like a pack of Tea Party spoiled brats entitled to whatever they say, and truth has no bearing no the subject. More often than not, they lie through their teeth about everything. I must say, a lot of the same people are also the ones pushing for big development — and this fantasy idea that everyone will get rid of cars and ride a bicycle is geared to justify overdevelopment, on the false pretense that no one will be driving a car and adding to traffic or need for parking spaces, so developers shouldn’t have to waste any of their buildable land on parking.

      • “and truth has no bearing no the subject. ” Ok, please tell me about climate change and what can be done to reduce dependence of foreign oil. Bikes are the problem? Hardly. Take some responsibility and own the fact that every time you oppose initiatives that encourage walking, bicycling, and transit you are fighting to keep an unsustainable status quo. LA wasn’t always car-crazy, we had a fantastic transit system that laid the foundation for most of today’s development patterns.

  12. How many pedestrians have been seriously injured or killed by cyclists on this path? How many have been on the surrounding streets? Seems like they’re protesting a non-issue, while they ignore 800lb gorilla in the room.

    • Boom! Yes. More pedestrians have been hit and killed by careless car drivers in Elysian Valley yet they’re protesting this?

  13. Just how slow do they expect bicyclists to go? While pedestrians are permitted on this path, it’s simply a lousy place to walk. There’s little shade, the river smells, and it has to be unnerving having bicycles whizzing by you. For bicyclists, on the other hand, this is all they’ve got.

    Instead of promoting safety and inclusion, this looks like an attempt to reclaim turf. It might be better to let it go.

  14. Thank you for answering the call to walk for safety on the LA River Pedestrian/Bike path. You braved the heat, the distractions of the Manny Pacquiao vs Mayweather fight, the Kentucky Derby run and game 7 between the LA Clippers and the Spurs. And most importantly, you sacrificed quality time from your families to bring attention to this most important issue.

    During the 2 mile walk, residents and friends of Elysian Valley walked united for safety, calling for an end to injuries on the path. The message to our elected officials is clear, bring a fix to this unique shared space that brings safety to all stakeholders (cyclist included).

    The uniqueness of the Elysian Valley stretch is that it passes through a residential zone, which has been a historical recreational space for local residents, including the elderly who make use of it as their only source of exercise.

    Short of closing this space to cyclist or widening the path to accommodate safely all stakeholders, we believe the most immediate fix is to have the area designated a recreational zone with designated speed limits and enforcement patrol.

    If the City can pass legislation mandating a motor vehicle 3-foot buffer safe zone for cyclist, it can do the same with bikes in favor of pedestrians in the Elysian Valley Pedestrian/Bike path.

    In view of the above and in the interest of safety, we herewith request Councilmember O’Farrell to move the requested legislative action without further delay.


  15. Clearly what is needed here is a bike path diet with a special lane for pedestrians. While this may have some minor impact on bicycle travel time during peak hours I think that the safety of pedestrians is worth the minor inconvenience riders may have to face. Better yet, a bike lane diet will encourage bicycle riders to consider walking as an alternative/safer form of transportation and improve bicycle congestion in the long run.

    • You’re an idiot

    • You just mad that the bike lobby has successfully gotten city to install more road diets that you have successfully fought. Chew on that. These scrawny, unsanitary, part-time, weirdo cafe bums have been winning space on the road and making your commute worse. So, go ahead and snark about a bike path diet, we’ll keep taking space from cars in the years to come 😉

      By the way, there is only one “lane” in each direction on the bike path, you can’t road diet something that only has one lane in each direction.

  16. I am a cyclist and have taken the path many of times. I am originally from San Diego and most pike paths are shared with pedestrians. I have never had an issue with sharing the paths as most people out there have good etiquette and follow the rules. Most busy paths will enforce a speed limit and there are some occasions where a big group will be walking the path, so I either get off my bike and walk or slow down and let them know I am on their left. I don’t think it is an issue with the construction of the path, it seems perfectly fine to me. The issue to me is the bad stigma cyclists, peds and drivers give to each other setting a negative tone for everyone. The city can’t help this, but we can. Change your mindset and have respect for one another. If you are a cyclist – you are on a shared path, keep your speed at a minimal, slow down around pedestrians, move to the left and let them know you are coming, You don’t really have the right of way. If you are a pedestrian – when you see a bike approaching, move to the right and leave room for the bike to pass by. If you are in a large group, please be aware of your surroundings and move over for each other – this goes for cyclists and pedestrians. Hoarding lanes will piss people off. Until you all have a mutual respect for each other, nothing is going to change. Your griping or blaming others isn’t going to help.

  17. Widening the path would be great. I love biking there. EV residents enjoyed their stretch for a long time with little path traffic. After the path was upgraded and redone for bicycle safety (plus the popularity of the area in general) it’s brought it a lot more traffic, both bikes and people on foot. As much as I like to put the pedal to the metal on the river path, it’s just not safe in this area. Solution is simple, slow down. Just like cars don’t go full speed everywhere, neither should cyclists.

  18. While we’re at it can we boot out the blunt-smoking hoodlums who stand around the path during school hours “mad-dogging” passers-by? I mean eventually it’ll be great because they won’t be able to afford to live here but for now can we get some plainclothes cops or something to sweep out the ghetto trash?

  19. Well if road diets cure everything else, then of course they’re the intelligent response to this crisis.

    The Rowena diet sure worked for me, I try to avoid Rowena, and actually, SL in general.
    I take my family and my shopping money up to Glendale, not too many “diets” there.

    • I’ll take road-dieting Silver Lake to road-raging Armenian teenagers driving like maniacs in salvaged BMW’s flicking cigarettes out the window any day

  20. A big point is being ignored here. Local residents are the ones walking in their neighborhood along the path. The speeding cyclists feeling entitled about their bike path are rarely locals but more likely some Pasadena weekend warriors working on time. Resident cyclists use it politely and rarely cause trouble.

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