Adding Bike Paths Along River Washes

Bike path along the Orange Line and Tujunga Wash. Photo from KCET.

Bike path along the Orange Line and Tujunga Wash. Photo from KCET.

The Los Angeles “River” weaves its way through the San Fernando Valley into the city. Most people wouldn’t recognize that it’s actually a river since it’s long been paved and is much more reminiscent of a wash. The river has been featured in films like Terminator 2 and Grease. Though, parts are making a comeback and there’s actually an outfitter that hosts LA River paddling tours (though I can’t imagine exactly where!), bike lanes are what are really starting to pop up.

One well known bike lane that’s been around for a few years runs along the 5 freeway in the Burbank/Glendale for 5-miles. (There is a longer route, but I think it veers off the river’s path). The Arroyo Seco bike path along the wash isn’t too far from the LA River one, though this one is quite short, too.

Another river/wash bike path is Brown’s Canyon that runs north-south from Chatsworth to Canoga Park alongside a part of the wash. However, more are starting to pop up around sections of the river; the Tujunga Wash bike path that meets up with the Orange Line Bike path and one that is close to opening in Woodland Hills heading east-west at Winnetka. If bike paths existed along the entire stretch of the LA River, biking across Los Angeles would be a breeze since the river’s path cuts across sections where roads do not.

Los Angeles isn’t the only city that is using it’s river/washes for bike paths, Arizona is also putting in bike paths along their stretch of the Indian Bend Wash in Scottsdale and Tempe. It’s a flat path that runs along the water’s channel adding a nice, smooth multi-use path.

Adding bike paths along already existing infrastructure, in this case water ways and washes, is a great way to increase the use of these areas. Many of these washes already have emergency vehicle access paths that could easily convert into double wide bike paths. It would be a simple addition that would make navigating a city that much more easier. Perhaps that will eventually be part of the greater plan in Los Angeles.

Have you noticed new bike paths near washes in your neighborhood?

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