Atwater Village takes steps to improve path on east bank of L.A. River

View of the L.A. River from the east bank in Atwater Village | Carol Sanchez

View of the L.A. River from the east bank in Atwater Village | Carol Sanchez

ATWATER VILLAGE —  The west bank of the L.A. River that runs through Elysian Valley and Silver Lake is often busy with walkers and cyclists thanks to a popular pathway. In contrast, across the river on the east bank in Atwater, an unmarked asphalt service road gets relatively little use and is often marred with tagging and illegal dumping. Now, the residents and the city are taking the first steps to upgrade a nearly four-mile-long section of  the path on the Atwater side of the river.

The Atwater Village Neighborhood Council earlier this year applied for technical services and assistance from the National Park Service to  create a contiguous path along the neighborhood’s river frontage, said Karen Barnett, who chairs the council’s River Committee. More recently, the Los Angeles City Council adopted a motion by Councilman Mitch O’Farrell to apply for a $500,000 grant from the California Natural Resources Agency to fund improvements along a one-mile section of what’s known as the Atwater Village East Bank Riverway project.

Says the motion:

The proposed design plans include lining the trail with California native plants, and to have on-site stormwater Best Management Practices (BMP), such as the use of porous trail surfaces and bioswales for water conservation. The trail will be enhanced with artwork and a living habitat wall to interpret the natural and cultural history of the Los Angeles River. The Project will also repurpose some of the material culled from demolition, and irrigate habitat planting beds with recycled water.

Getting the entire riverway built, however, will be a long and complicated process involving numerous government agencies, private landowners as well as finding the money to pay for it all, Barnett said.  In addition, there are some major physical obstacles to be overcome before a continuous path is completed. For example, an underpass might have to be constructed under the Glendale-Hyperion Bridge while crosswalks will be needed at Los Feliz Boulevard and Fletcher Drive, she pointed out pointed out.

Barnett said an improved path on the east bank would help take pressure off the west bank, where there have been tensions and collisions between cyclists and pedestrians.

“Atwater Village would like to see its riverfront improved but with community involvement,” Barnett said.

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One comment

  1. PUH-LEEEZE make this a pedestrian-only, bicycle-free path—but one that is open to wheelchairs as well as dog-walkers. So many of us have literally been completely exiled from the freeway on the west bank.

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