Last month, the Army Corps of Engineers began work on a $1.47 million cleanup of a stretch of the LA River traveling from Griffith Park through Elysian Valley. To facilitate this work, LADOT closed off part of the LA River bike path Monday and will keep it closed weekdays from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. until March 15 of next year. The stretch of trail runs from Gilroy Street to Riverside Drive near the 110 freeway.
The cleanup is occurring along an 11-mile stretch of river that is currently the focus of an Army Corps-led revitalization effort approved by the city this summer. The current work, however, is being undertaken mainly to lessen the risk of flooding along the river in the event of severe storms—not that we’re likely to see many of those any time soon.
This part of the river has lately become overgrown with non-native vegetation, including giant reeds, castor bean plants, and multiple species of palm tree, according to a September press release from the corps. The plant growth, along with sediment buildup, is clogging the flow of the river through this area, making it more likely that water could spill out over the banks during a storm.
For the next five months, corps contractors will be removing vegetation by hand and hauling it off by truck. The bike trail closures are meant to expedite this process, but a recent press release from the corps suggests that some users of the path haven’t exactly been thrilled to find it shut off.
"While we remain empathetic that the closures on the bike path are affecting bike path users, we ask the public to remain courteous and respectful toward our employees and contractors as we are all working toward the same goal," the release states.
The temporary closures come just a few months after the river path fully reopened after a three-mile stretch from Fletcher Drive to the 134 freeway was blocked by temporary flood barriers for much of the winter and spring.
LADOT has reportedly established a detour path for bicyclists to use during the hours that part of the trail is closed.
- 11-Mile Makeover of the LA River is Moving Right Along [Curbed LA]
- The 20-year-old LA River Master Plan is getting an update [Curbed LA]
- The LA River Path Is Finally Open Again [Curbed LA]