12 Nov New Bridges Aim to Make Connections on LA River
If you’ve walked or biked the LA River Greenway in the past few months, you’ve probably seen the multiple bridges under construction. These bridges — with an expected cumulative price tag of roughly $45 million with different funding sources and timelines — aim to increase public access to the LA River and connect River-adjacent communities.
Within the Glendale Narrows stretch, there are three bridges on track to be delivered for public usage in the coming one to two years. A fourth in this stretch, the Glendale-Griffith Park Bridge, is planned for delivery in the coming decade. (We’ll get to that down the line.) In the meantime, let’s take a closer look at these bridges and the timeline for when we can anticipate utilizing them on bike or on foot.
- Atwater Village-Griffith Park (La Kretz) Bridge
- Atwater Village-Silver Lake Pedestrian (Red Car Piling) Bridge
- Taylor Yard Bikeway and Pedestrian Bridge
ATWATER VILLAGE – GRIFFITH PARK (La Kretz) BRIDGE
Notable for its iconic white spire, this bridge has garnered the most intense interest of the set. Bridge construction began in 2018, and is expected to be completed by the end of 2019. Some intrepid travelers have already tested out the deck of the bridge already! First discussions of this connector date back to 1998, when John Ferraro, the long-time councilmember for whom the nearby Ferraro Soccer Fields are named after, got the ball rolling. The general idea for a connector in this stretch of the River was cited in the LA River Revitalization Master Plan and the search for funding continued until the early 2010s, when the project was backed with the support of a $5 million donation from Morton La Kretz.
DESIGN: The bridge will have two separate, parallel 12-foot-wide decks: one for pedestrians and cyclists, the second for equestrians. It will connect equestrian facilities in Atwater Village to trails in Griffith Park which were previously only accessible by fording the river.
TIMELINE: Bridge construction began in 2018, and is expected to be completed by the end of 2019.
LOCATION: On the North end of North Atwater Park, “the bridge will span the river from North Atwater Park at Chevy Chase Drive on the east side, lead into Griffith Park near the merry-go-round and connect with the L.A. River Bike Path.” (Read more on Streetsblog or KPCC.)
ATWATER VILLAGE-SILVER LAKE PEDESTRIAN (Red Car Piling) BRIDGE
This bridge will blend past and present by constructing a pedestrian passageway on top of the old Pacific Electric Red Car trolley track pilings. Funding and planning for this pedestrian bridge are a part of a larger seismic retrofit of the adjacent Glendale-Hyperion Bridge Complex, a multi-layered bridge connecting Silver Lake and Atwater to the I-5 freeway. According to the Bureau of Engineers, the project will include the following features: “a bicycle and pedestrian access ramp between northbound Glendale Boulevard and the LA River Bikeway, creation of an infiltration basin to protect the water quality of the LA River, and construction of a new pedestrian bridge over the existing extended piers downstream from the viaduct complex.” This bridge has been a point of controversy for advocates pushing for a safer crossing of the LA River between the communities, but offers a protected connection between the banks of the River in Atwater and Silver Lake. “This new amenity has been sixteen years in the making,” Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell said. “My number one transportation priority is pedestrian safety, and this project will allow more people to safely cross the Los Angeles River.”
DESIGN: This steel bridge will rest atop the existing concrete pilings in the LA River previously used to support the trolley line decades ago.
TIMELINE: Red Car Pedestrian and bike bridge started construction in 2019 and is expected to be completed by Spring 2020.
LOCATION: Directly south of the Glendale-Hyperion Bridge.
TAYLOR YARD BIKEWAY AND PEDESTRIAN BRIDGE
Taylor Yard-G2 has been often claimed as the “crown jewel” of River restoration, and the City has committed exceptional resources to reimagining this space as a central fixture to the Glendale Narrows River experience. FoLAR weighed in on the proposed design options in an op-ed this past summer.
Related to but separate from the forthcoming complex of parks on the east bank, the City is currently constructing a pedestrian bridge to connect Elysian Valley residents to the future G2 park and Cypress Park residents to the west bank of the River, which is already home to parks, the greenway, and other activations. Groundbreaking for this bridge commenced in April 2019, with completion slated for Spring 2021. NOTE: This bridge’s construction has led to a partial closure of the LA River Greenway from approximately Dallas Street to Riverdale Avenue.
DESIGN: This steel bridge evokes early 20th century rail bridges and is intended to look as though it “floats” atop the River while spanning bank to bank to connect Elysian Valley to Cypress Park at Taylor Yards.
TIMELINE: Groundbreaking for this bridge commenced in April 2019, with completion slated for Spring 2021.
LOCATION: Near the south end of the LA River Greenway, this bridge connects Elysian Valley to Taylor Yard and Cypress Park. Here’s what the Bureau of Engineers says about the specs: “The northern abutment of the proposed bridge would be located adjacent to Kerr Rd., and its southern abutment would be located adjacent to the Los Angeles River Greenway Trail (bikeway), between Altman St. and Dorris Pl. Additionally, a two-way bike path and pedestrian path would be developed on Kerr Rd., connecting the proposed bridge to San Fernando Rd. Proposed crosswalks would be added at the San Fernando Rd./Future St. and Cypress Ave./Future St. intersections. On the south, the proposed bridge would connect with the existing bikeway along the river”.
(This blog was originally published November 2019, projects subject to changes in timeline and cost. Stay in touch with FoLAR to stay up to date.)