A private esplanade on Valleyheart


As bicyclists, birders and New Urbanists have long been aware,  there exists in digital space overlapping fever dreams of a Greenway along “51 miles of the LA River”.  A Google search will retrieve dozens of mock-ups.  This sublime alternative Los Angeles, we are given to expect,  is due to arrive by 2020.  Golden Road has already issued a commemorative IPA in celebration, sort of making it official.

Fifty-one miles would, by default, include the Valley.  Except that it won’t.  Unless one believes the western perimeter of the Valley is Universal City.  Cause that’s as far as the Greenway is going to extend.

Sssh. Don’t tell anyone.  People are too busy lining up for photo shoots with our money.

Besides, who bikes in the Valley?   Who walks, for that matter?

Los Angeles is spending $600 million replacing the viaduct between the Arts District and Boyle Heights with a mixed-use architectural showcase.  One block parallel to another bridge.

There are plans in motion to build a park atop the Hollywood Freeway. Price tag unknown.

The development of the Downtown to Elysian Valley segment of the Greenway, including parks, is going to run a billion dollars.

What are we getting in the Valley, west of the 170? This:


We’ve all seen Chinatown. We know the score.

To give the appearance of inclusion in the great Greenway, several short discontiguous pathways, a half mile in length, have been scattered here and there: Radford to Whitsett, Mason to De Soto, and now the most recent: along Valleyheart, between Sepulveda and Kester.  One can’t complain as to the landscaping. It’s very nice.   But disconnected from each other and from the rest of the system, they serve no practical purpose for the general public. One cannot pedal to the Zoo, and thence down the Glendale Narrows to Downtown, as I did yesterday.

They are, in effect, taxpayer-built private esplanades for the people who live nearby.   No one else will be using them. One gets the feeling people in those neighborhoods wanted it that way.

This is our Angeleno moment: Dubai in Hollywood, Detroit in the Valley.

Speaking of Detroit, Andy Hurvitz has urban renewal schemes for parking lots up in Van Nuys:

Future Gardens of Van Nuys?

8 thoughts on “A private esplanade on Valleyheart”

  1. Having lived here so long, the city has made some headway for walkers & cyclists. The Orange line, in my youth, was a defunct railroad track for decades, utterly unused, and 15 + miles of unused space. Not only is it now a way for someone to connect to the other metro lines, and commute, with tranfers, from Chatsworth, all the way down to Long Beach harbor, but for the SFV, it has the bike path that runs parallel to it. If you haven’t tried the path, I highly encourage you too. You can catch it near Macleod, and take the path all the way north of the 118.

    1. Nimai, I agree with you about the Orange Line bike path. Tis a wonderful resource, and I’ve biked the length of it many times. I really wish it connected to the River, and I wish the River had contiguous developed Greenways from the Sepulveda Basin to Toluca Lake, which would eventually join up with the Greenway about to be built (allegedly). There is no good reason for this not to have been done. Should have been completed decades ago.

  2. I can’t tell you how much this breaks my heart. I’ve been telling friends in the West Valley that that there will be “51 miles of the LA River” that will be bikeable. I vowed to ride it from my home.

    Those No Trespassing signs are a grave marker.

    1. “51 Miles of the LA River” is a deceptive phrase planners have been utilizing for a while. The Greenway, from downtown to Universal City will actually be less than 25 miles. They’re counting the north and southbound lanes of the same path separately, thereby doubling the distance.

  3. Great points. I agree there should be more links in the bike system. While some of it is of course red tape, poor managment, bad politics, some of it is probably also some property owners, both commercial, and residential. Properties often fight tooth and nail on new developments in the city. Hopefully though the bike paths along the washes throughout the city become viable bike paths. I mean, it only makes sense really, since so much of it is city land, and wouldn’t take much to develop.

    1. Oh just to add, there is this type of bike path along the river/wash from Lassen, up past Chatsworth, where the orange line ends. It isn’t much, but it was city developed. So I know they can and have developed some of it, they just need to continue that development to interconnect the lanes along some of the blvds where they have added dedicated bike lanes.

  4. “…taxpayer-built private esplanades
    for the people who live nearby.
    No one else will be using them.
    One gets the feeling people
    in those neighborhoods
    wanted it that way.”

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