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Ambitious goal for L.A. River: Continuous 51-mile path by 2020

July 23, 2013|By Christopher Hawthorne | Times Architecture Critic
  • A rendering shows how an L.A. River bike path might look near North Broadway, north of downtown.
A rendering shows how an L.A. River bike path might look near North Broadway,… (L.A. River Revitalization…)

The Los Angeles River Revitalization Corp. on Tuesday will announce an ambitious goal: Completing a continuous 51-mile greenway and bike path along the river by the end of the decade.

The news comes as a second nonprofit group dedicated to improving the river, Friends of the Los Angeles River, is working behind the scenes on even bigger plans. That group and L.A. officials are lobbying the Army Corps of Engineers in Washington to endorse a $1.06-billion plan to restore and remake 11 miles of the river between Union Station and Griffith Park.

The Army Corps is also considering less costly alternatives for that stretch as it readies a restoration feasibility study -- a long-delayed and much-anticipated document that itself has cost roughly $10 million to produce -- for release later this summer.

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Even if a cheaper Army Corps plan is put in place, the effort promises dramatic improvements for the river and public access to it as it passes near downtown, including removing some of the concrete that wraps it like a straitjacket.

The initiative being announced Tuesday, known as the 2020 Greenway plan, would use a combination of public and private money to improve the existing 26 miles of bike paths along the river while adding new paths covering 25 miles. The goal is a river path open to the public for the entire length of the river, from the western end of the San Fernando Valley south to Long Beach.

The L.A. River Revitalization Corp. has also helped raise money for a new bike, pedestrian and equestrian bridge – known as the La Kretz Crossing – spanning the river between Griffith Park and Atwater Village.

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