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San Fernando Breaks Ground on New Pacoima Wash Walk/Bike Path

San Fernando leader break ground on a new bike/walk path along the Pacoima Wash. Photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog

This morning, the city of San Fernando broke ground on a new multi-use path along the Pacoima Wash. San Fernando Mayor Celeste Rodriguez proclaimed that the project's spaces for bicycling, walking, and gathering will contribute to the community's beauty, health, and safety.

San Fernando Mayor Celeste Rodriguez
San Fernando Mayor Celeste Rodriguez

Mayor Rodriguez and others emphasized safety improvements, including new railing and a new walk/bike bridge, recalling the tragic loss of Elias Rodriguez, a youth who drowned in the wash in 2017. Through nearly all of the urbanized San Fernando Valley, the Pacoima Wash is lined in concrete and runs fast, high, and dangerous during rain storms.

Assemblymember Luz Rivas recalled that, as a high school student, she had worked at the adjacent open air swap meet just east of the wash. Rivas was excited for those in attendance to return with their bikes when the project is completed (anticipated to be September 2024), and "enjoy the area with our families." Rivas's state earmark funding was instrumental in closing a gap in the project budget.

Assemblymember Luz Rivas (left) speaking at this morning's groundbreaking
Assemblymember Luz Rivas (left) speaking at this morning's groundbreaking
Assemblymember Luz Rivas (left) speaking at this morning's groundbreaking

The initial 1.4-mile phase of the project will extend along the east side of the Pacoima Wash between 4th Street/Bradley Avenue and the 8th Street Pacoima Wash Nature Park. Near the intersection of 8th and Newton Streets, the path will cross the wash on a new bridge. A future construction phase will extend the path northward along the park to the city limit at Foothill Boulevard.

In addition to bike and walk paths, the project includes native landscaping, fencing, lighting, and watershed features for soaking rainwater into the earth.

Pacoima Wash Vision Plan bike/walk path rendering
Pacoima Wash Vision Plan bike/walk path concept design

The path is part of a larger Pacoima Wash Vision Plan. Financing this initial phase has taken two decades, with some hiccups along the way. The city ended up pulling together funds from numerous sources for the multi-purpose project. In addition to the Rivas earmark, the budget includes funds from the state Active Transportation Program, Metro Measure R Local Return,  Federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program (CMAQ), Mobile Source Air Pollution Reduction Review Committee (MSRC), and funding from the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy.

The concrete lined Pacoima Wash at Glenoaks Boulevard
The concrete-lined Pacoima Wash at Glenoaks Boulevard
The concrete lined Pacoima Wash at Glenoaks Boulevard
The Pacoima Wash from Foothill Boulevard. A future phase will extend the path along the Pacoima Wash Nature Park on the right.
The Pacoima Wash from Foothill Boulevard. A future phase will extend the path along the Pacoima Wash Nature Park on the right.
The Pacoima Wash from Foothill Boulevard. A future phase will extend the path along the Pacoima Wash Nature Park on the right.

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