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ActiveSGV Calls for L.A. County to Fund Eaton Wash Greenway

The 5-city 8-mile Eaton Wash bike/ped path would carry people from Pasadena to El Monte and connections beyond.

The Eaton Wash at Del Mar Avenue in Pasadena, looking South. Credit: Chris Greenspon/SBLA

Vision plans for bike infrastructure often struggle to stay on schedule. The Eaton Wash Greenway is part of 50 miles of proposed bike/walk path that Active SGV hoped would be built by 2025. The mobility non-profit set that goal back in 2014 when it partnered with Los Angeles County Public Works on the San Gabriel Valley Greenway Network’s vision plan. The vision: 138 miles of pathways to be installed along the county’s flood control channels.

In 2019 Public Works presented a design to Temple City’s council members for their city’s section of the project (which would span five cities: Pasadena, San Gabriel, Temple City, Rosemead, and El Monte). At that time, the target completion date was Spring 2023. 

Construction hasn’t begun yet, though the roughly eight mile path’s design phase is 90% complete, according to Active SGV Organizing and Policy Specialist, Topher Mathers.  

“I wouldn't say that it's in danger of being abandoned,” says Mathers. “It's just that the project really needs to be prioritized for funding if it's ever going to move forward - once they complete the design phases.”

Mathers tells SBLA that the design features being adjusted right now are in keeping with American Disability Act and Caltrans standards, and that the County is in the process of acquiring a few pieces of real estate for construction right of way. 

In the meantime, Active SGV has been issuing calls to action for its supporters to urge L.A. County’s Fifth District Supervisor Kathryn Barger to secure funding “to expedite the development of the Eaton Wash Greenway.”

The Eaton Wash at Duarte Road in San Gabriel, looking North. Credit: Chris Greenspon/SBLA

It should be noted that construction has begun on some parts of the Greenway Network (including Vincent and Big Dalton bikeways), but the lengthier Eaton Wash plan is being pushed by Active SGV because of its extensive connectivity. 

“To jump on the Eaton Canyon Wash to go from Pasadena to the Rio Hondo would be a game changer in terms of my stress levels having to deal with the drivers and our poor infrastructure on the roads.” says Mathers. He also expects that could trigger more investment in bikeways. 

The project boundaries of the Eaton Wash Bikeway.

“If the city of Pasadena had gone through and actually built out the Orange Grove bike lanes, it would connect me right to the Eaton Canyon Wash, but they didn't do that.” Mathers tells SBLA. “But I can imagine it being a nice reason for people to use the wash, and then potentially help advocates and community members realize why better bike infrastructure should take place in their cities - to connect to a regional greenways network.”

Turning the Eaton Wash into a bike path is actually a pretty old idea – as old as the County’s 1975 Plan of Bikeways (page 9). It came up again in 2012’s County Bikeway Master Plan. In 2017, the Board of Supervisors unanimously voted in favor of the San Gabriel Valley Regional Greenway Network Implementation Plan. The Eaton Wash is one of the early implementation projects.

An exploratory ride of the Eaton Wash led by Active SGV. Courtesy of Active SGV

When complete, the Eaton Wash Greenway (and the rest of the network) will provide cyclists in the SGV a safe route to the Emerald Necklace, the beach, and the mountains. But even on a smaller scale, there’s a lot to see along Eaton, including several parks and reservoirs. A full design presentation isn’t on the web yet, but the 2019 Temple City presentation includes some cross sections, renderings, and a list of anticipated features, including: new gateway parks, rest areas, repair stations, and bioswales.

Eaton Wash path concept designs

Here is ActiveSGV’s letter template for Eaton Wash Greenway supporters to use to press Supervisor Kathryn Barger to make the path a reality:

Dear Supervisor Barger and staff, 

As a constituent who recognizes the power of safe, comfortable multi-use paths to promote healthier, more active, and sustainable communities, I urge you to expedite the development of the Eaton Wash Greenway. 

Over the past ten years, the vision for a 100+ mile San Gabriel Valley Regional Greenway Network has been endorsed by thousands of residents like me and enshrined in multiple planning processes, including the San Gabriel Valley Regional Bicycle Plan (2014), the Metro Active Transportation Strategic Plan (2016), and SGV Regional Active Transportation and Greenway Feasibility Plan (2019), and the ongoing SGV Greenway Network Strategic Implementation Plan (www.sgvgreenway.org).

The Eaton Wash Greenway will build upon the successful, existing 17-mile network of Class I protected paths along the Rio Hondo and San Gabriel Rivers. The design for Phase 1 is almost complete, and the project requires County leadership to move forward.

Please expedite the completion of the Eaton Wash Greenway! 

The Eaton Wash at Loftus Drive, the boundary between Rosemead and El Monte, looking North. Credit: Chris Greenspon/SBLA

Streetsblog’s San Gabriel Valley coverage is supported by Foothill Transit, offering car-free travel throughout the San Gabriel Valley with connections to the Gold Line Stations across the Foothills and Commuter Express lines traveling into the heart of downtown L.A. To plan your trip, visit Foothill Transit. “Foothill Transit. Going Good Places.”Sign-up for our SGV Connect Newsletter, coming to your inbox on Fridays!

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