SACRAMENTO - California Assemblymember Laura Friedman (D-Glendale) was successful in securing $20 million in state funding to complete the Glendale Narrows Riverwalk project. The third and final phase of the project will link the existing Riverwalk and Glendale Bikeway system with the Los Angeles bike trail and Griffith Park through a bicycle and pedestrian bridge spanning the Los Angeles River. The funding is included in Senate Bill 5 (De León), the California Drought, Water, Parks, Climate, Coastal Protection, and Outdoor Access for All Act of 2018. If passed by the legislature, the bond measure will go before the voters for approval next year.
“We’ve worked for years to get this project off the ground. Thousands of residents on the Glendale side live in the shadow of Griffith Park with no way to get there without braving the freeway or driving for miles on city streets through Burbank or Los Angeles,” said Friedman. “The bridge isn’t just a link between neighborhoods, it’s connecting people with open space, miles of bike paths, and economic opportunity, all while creating jobs and reducing greenhouse gas emissions and congestion on our streets and freeways.”
Throughout the 43rd Assembly District and the surrounding region, communities have made significant investments in active transportation corridors with bicycle and walking paths. Initially opened to the public in 2012, The Glendale Narrows Riverwalk runs along the north bank of the Los Angeles River opposite Griffith Park from Bette Davis Park past DreamWorks Studios to the 134 Freeway. More than 100,000 residents live within one mile of the project. Without a bridge, both Interstate 5, and the Los Angeles River cut off access to Griffith Park, and the network of bike paths that connect Glendale and surrounding cities to the Los Angeles corridor for nearly four miles between Los Feliz Boulevard and the Riverside Drive Bridge. Both bridges are narrow, congested, and were never designed to accommodate pedestrians and bicycles.
“I’ve supported this project for many years and I’m thrilled that it is now coming to fruition,” said Congressman Adam Schiff (D-Burbank). “This investment of state funds is welcome news and consistent with our priority of building innovative projects that keep Californians moving. Hats off to Laura Friedman for her tenacity in making the vision of a bike friendly Los Angeles come true.”
"These are the kinds of bridges we like to build in Los Angeles," said Los Angeles City Councilmember David Ryu. "We are lucky to have Griffith Park in Council District 4, and with this bridge and bike path, we will be able to connect more people to one of LA's greatest treasures."
"Our river courses through many neighborhoods in Los Angeles and other cities throughout the county,” said Los Angeles City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell. “Today we are supporting funding that will help connect the cities of Los Angeles and Glendale. Thanks to Assemblywoman Laura Friedman, and our state partners, we will finally see this major element of the Los Angeles River Master Plan come to fruition."
With the funding secured by Friedman, the Riverwalk’s third phase will construct a bicycle and pedestrian bridge across the Los Angeles River, connecting the Los Angeles bike trail with the Glendale Narrows Riverwalk and the Glendale Bikeway system. The project will result in the improved mobility and reduced vehicle miles traveled for residents by providing motorists with an alternative means to access business centers, including Disney’s Grand Central Creative Campus that will ultimately be home to nearly six million square feet of commercial development and up to 7,000 new employees. In addition, the bridge will provide cyclists with a viable and attractive alternative to congested vehicular routes including Interstate 5, State Route 134, and San Fernando Road. Finally, the bridge will give residents access to one of the greatest outdoor recreational jewels in the world with over 4,000 acres of open space.