Army Corps, LADOT Announce Circuitous Detour For LA River Bikeway Closure

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers installing flood barrier along L.A. River. Image via USACE
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers installing flood barrier along L.A. River. Image via USACE

Due to this year’s El Niño storms, the federal Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is clearing vegetation (arguably illegally according to a similar regional water board lawsuit) in the most natural areas of the L.A. River. USACE is also adding temporary flood barriers along the river in the middle of the central stretch of L.A. River bike path. The flood barriers have closed the river bike path between the 134 Freeway and Fletcher Drive. The closures apply not just to bicycling, but also to the equestrian crossing from Atwater Village to Griffith Park.

The closures are temporary; USACE Twitter suggests that they will be gone around mid-April.

The circuitous detour xxx
The circuitous detour encouraged by USACE and LADOT. Image via USACE [PDF]
USACE, via twitter, encourages cyclists to avoid the bike path closure by taking a rather circuitous detour, apparently a route planned by the L.A. City Department of Transportation (LADOT). The detour is mostly fairly quiet streets, but to get to these streets, cyclists are shunted onto bike-unfriendly arterials – Los Feliz Boulevard and Fletcher Driver – for stretches littered with freeway on- and off-ramps. The detour is not marked with signage. It is apparently only for folks who find it via Twitter or the USACE website.

Would drivers settle for an un-signed circuitous detour like this? Think of all the publicity afforded to detours during recent freeway closures for bridge demolitions.

For subway construction in downtown L.A., LADOT installed detour bike lanes on Hill Street south of First Street. Could the river path closure be a good excuse for temporary (or permanent) bike lanes to be added to Riverside Drive between Los Feliz Boulevard and Glendale Boulevard? These would create a relatively direct detour route – and connect with existing Riverside Drive bike lanes between Glendale Boulevard and Fletcher Drive.

Winston Churchill said “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” Certainly it appears that the USACE is taking advantage of an alleged crisis here (the L.A. River has a history of flooding in La Niña years, but not El Niño years) to generate lots of work to advance their agenda. Could LADOT have used El Niño to spur some bike lane implementation at the same time? There is still time.

  • 69fasty

    Ugh. This sucks. Why is the USACE so determined to remove vegetation? Isn’t that where the birds and other animals live and eat?

  • ubrayj02

    How many years, and how many millions of dollars, and how many public meetings and hearings, and how many letters, and emails, and lobbying did it take to install this bike path and POOF it’s gone and we’re literally being asked to put our lives at risk with no amenity, no posted detour.

    This closure is outrageous in its implementation. The closure through the Griffith Park area is outrageous. It is hard to contain the level of anger that bubbles up when you consider all the work that goes into closing a freeway versus the closing of the bike path.

    I’m calling it: the revolution which never got started is officially over in LA. We cannot win in this town – the BoE, Public Works, the Army Corps, our politicians, every salaried NGO employee, all our local leaders, real estate interests, crazy people, bums, drug addicts, ex cons, child molesters, road kill opossums all get more consideration than cyclists in LA.

    What the future will look like: an increasingly alienated grass roots being stamped on by people pulling down the low end of public employee wages who work as “advocates” but in reality are there to bore the public and suppress the grass roots to keep donor cash and government contracts flowing to them.

    Unless there is a political takeover in city hall to get a plurality of councilmen on the pro-bike side, we’re sunk from now until 2050 and beyond.

  • Phantom Commuter

    If you want to ride along a river path, move to Sacramento …

  • mr. rollers

    Agreed – there’s been little effort to mitigate the closure and they can’t even get the detour right! The bike path isn’t closed at Fletcher – it’s accessible (from the south) up to the bridge that crosses the freeway and over to the soccer fields/tennis courts on Riverside. From there you can get into the park via Crystal Springs – much better than taking that route they have mapped out.


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