On the Valley’s West End, a Bridge Project Near a Reseda Creek Seeks Connections to a Bigger Vision for the LA River

For two years, those in the know have enjoyed the somewhat secluded Los Angeles River & Aliso Creek Confluence Park.

The park is behind a big apartment complex, where the river and creek converge in Reseda. But city leaders are hoping for the day when this place offers more public entry points and more connections to a reimaged L.A. River landscape, complete with trails and pathways that stretch along its 51 miles.

Those connections could expand if the L.A. City Council approves a $4 million project to build a pedestrian bridge connecting a community to the park, bikeways and pathways along the river’s northern slope as it stretches between Reseda Boulevard and Wilbur Avenue. That vision was presented in a motion last week by Councilman Bob Blumenfield, whose district includes several west San Fernando Valley neighborhoods.

The bridge — which would connect the north side of the creek to the park on the south side — would be part of a larger plan of connections for the 8,800 people living within all directions of the river, where it meets tributary Aliso Creek.

Among them would be:

  • Improving the path between Wilbur Avenue and the park, which is just south of the creek, near Kittridge Street. Right now, you’ve got to get through a driveway between the Kittridge Garden Apartment complex to get to the 2-acre park tucked behind the sprawling rows of condos and apartments on what was once desolate DWP land. With Blumenfield’s proposal, there will be a pedestrian access point in the 6500 block of Wilbur Avenue on the west side and an eastern access from the 6500 block of Reseda Boulevard. 

  • Adding more stormwater filtration and landscape irrigation.

  • Adding new pedestrian and bike paths from Reseda Boulevard to the proposed bridge and the park.

  • New crosswalks, striping and a traffic signal at Victory Boulevard and Vanalden Avenue.

The proposal must be approved by the City Council first and will probably take years to complete before residents have more walking or biking access to the park.

Blumenfield’s march along the river has already created three to four miles of bikeways through his district and a few other parks, including the upcoming Caballero Creek Park in Tarzana.

“I’m looking forward to the day when we have one continuous greenway-bikeway that goes from the headwaters in my district, 51 miles through downtown and eventually to the ocean in Long Beach,” he said Thursday.

The L.A. River flows out from Big Tujunga in the Angeles National Forest and Bell Creek near Canoga Park, into the Sepulveda Dam and through western San Fernando Valley, then turns east past Universal City and south through downtown Los Angeles and also through various smaller cities before emptying into Long Beach.

Phase I of the Aliso Creek Confluence Park project converted the DWP property into a peaceful spot with walking and bike paths in August 2016 and sits behind the apartment buildings in the 6500 block of Wilbur Avenue.

“It’s nestled in a dense housing area,” Blumenfield said as he peered out over the park and river. “It’s in an area that can and is being used and by expanding the connectivity, we will increase the access even more.”

Phase II will provide easier access from the neighboring Jewish Home for the Aging and the West Valley Family YMCA.

“We are delighted improvements will be made to the LA River and Aliso Creek Confluence Park,” said Molly Forrest, CEO-President of the Los Angeles Jewish Home, in a statement. “Direct access to outdoor space enables seniors to have safe and clean pathways to this beautifully landscaped park. The lives of seniors are enhanced by offering them a lovely setting to read, gather with friends and family or simply enjoy the California sunshine. The Jewish Home and the seniors we serve are thrilled with these park improvements.”

The money to finish the park project would come from community redevelopment funds Blumenfield secured as a state legislator, as well as city funds, Blumenfield said.

“Access and availability are very important for people who are vulnerable (seniors). (Removing) barriers to help people get access to a healthier lifestyle is a big win-win for the community,” said Brent Findlay, executive director of the West Valley Family YMCA, during a telephone call. “They can have better access to and take advantage of our programs and classes at the YMCA.”

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