Bridge from Griffith Park to Atwater Village Receives City Approvals
A plan to build a bridge over the Los Angeles River between Griffith Park and Atwater Village for use by pedestrians, equestrians and bicyclists moved a step closer today to reality.
The Los Angeles City Council’s Transportation Committee approved today what they are calling a “shovel-ready” proposal for the project, which will now go before the full council.
The bridge, which would help link the equestrian stables in Atwater Village to 56 miles of horse trails in Griffith Park, has been in the works as far back as 1998, when then-Councilmember John Ferraro introduced a motion to build such a span.
The cost of the project has escalated, going from an estimated $5 million in 2011 to now $16.1 million plan, according to the Transportation Committee.
But according to a city Bureau of Engineering report, the project is fully funded with $3.6 million from the state, $6.9 million from the Public Works Trust Fund and $3.8 million donated
by real estate mogul Mort La Kretz.
One of the goals of the bridge is to improve the area safety-wise for equestrians, who must go through the river in order to cross between the equestrian stables of Atwater Village and trails in Griffith Park.
The bridge proposal now under consideration dates to 2013 and was introduced by former City Councilmember Tom LaBonge, who represented the Griffith Park area until 2015. LaBonge appeared before the committee to advocate for the bridge.
“When you build a bridge, it’s not a wall, it’s an opportunity to connect and this great river of ours does have some challenges when the low flow comes and slipperyness does impede people from being able to cross, so it’s going to be a wonderful opportunity,” LaBonge said.
The city’s Arts, Parks and River Committee and the Public Works and Gang Reduction Committee also have approved the plan. Construction of the bridge has been bidded on by contractors and received all the necessary permits.
The project was initially in the hands of River LA, a nonprofit originally called the Los Angeles River Revitalization Corp.
La Kretz offered in 2011 to donate $5 million for the bridge, which at the time was estimated to cover all the costs. As the costs started to rise, River LA was unable to find all the money needed and handed the project over to the city last year.
“Concerns have been voiced that the bridge budget could still be a moving target, but for the first time that’s not really the case because these numbers are based on bids for fully permitted designs that will be guaranteed by legally binding contracts,” said Jennifer Sampson of River LA.
Should the full city council and Mayor Eric Garcetti approve the plan, the bridge could be completed by 2019, according to city officials.
The report includes two options for a bridge–the $16.1 million cable-stayed design approved by the Transportation Committee and a $11.43 million prefabricated design that has a $2.9 million funding shortfall and would take two years longer to complete because it lacks all of the approvals and permits needed.
With the more expensive option being “shovel ready” and fully funded, the three council committees all recommended moving forward with the cable-stayed option.