The LA City Council voted today to have city engineers look into a plan to link up the LA River bike path from Maywood to Elysian Valley, through Downtown—a long-bemoaned gap—via a bikeway directly in the river channel, reports the LA Times. The proposed path would provide access to the concrete river bottom by way of three ramps; once on the trail, riders would be able to bike from Griffith Park all the way to Long Beach. (NBCUniversal will be extending the path up to Lankershim, too. Bonus!) It would also provide access along the river to Downtown sans car. But what about the safety issues involved with biking in a space that is designed to collect large amounts of water and runoff?
Linear City developer and cycling enthusiast Yuval Bar-Zemer is one of the path's strongest supporters and has paid for studies that show that it would only be impassable due to high water levels for five days out of the year. If the path is built, there would also be signage and signals to update riders on conditions, and Bar-Zermer says it would be "significantly safer to ride in the river channel than to drive the 10 Freeway."
The report from the City Counci's Transportation Committee does say that this bike path, were it to be built, would just be "the interim solution" for linking up the existing bikeways, but it's certainly better than nothing. Even with city approval, the project would still need to be approved by the Army Corps of Engineers and the LA County Board of Supes.
· City to explore downtown bike path inside L.A. River channel [LAT]
· There's a Plan For a Bike Path to Hover Over the LA River [Curbed LA]