The Los Angeles County Flood Control District is reportedly currently working on a plan to open up more than 138 miles of San Gabriel Valley waterways to bicyclists and pedestrians. The San Gabriel Valley Greenway Strategic Implementation Plan will create a roadmap toward increasing open space in SGV communities and connecting to Rio Hondo and the San Gabriel Valley River.
During a presentation to the San Gabriel Valley Council Governments’ Technical Advisory Committee, the civil engineer with the Flood Control District Enrique Baul said: “The plan will transform flood control district right-of-way within the San Gabriel Valley … into a world-class greenway network. This plan will incorporate the needs of the communities and bridge gaps between existing planning efforts and it will identify and prioritize project opportunities.”
This new plan comes after years of other planning and actions by regional decision-makers and local stakeholders. In 2014, the SGVCOG and ActiveSGV, then known as BikeSGV, were awarded funding to conduct a regional Greenway Feasibility Study to identify flood control channels, abandoned railways, and utility rights-of-ways to be transformed into bikeways, urban trails, and parks from the California Active Transportation Program. This study identified 50 miles of waterways best suited for greenways. Then, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a motion to create the San Gabriel Valley Regional Greenway Network Implementation Plan in 2017.
For this project, Flood Control District staff have completed a couple of analyses so far. They’ve mapped out which waterways have hydraulic concerns and analyzed the size of right-of-ways for the entire network. And as for the right-of-way analysis, Flood Control District staff is currently figuring out how much space they have available to accommodate the greenway.
Moreover, the plan will also prioritize projects through two lenses: a community lens and a circulation lens. The first will identify where are communities with the highest density, are the most disadvantaged, have high pollution burdens and lack park space. The second will see where retail, industry and schools are located along the waterways, where existing projects are happening, what regulatory constraints may exist within waterways being analyzed, and the complexity of a project and how that would affect or increase its cost.
The plan is expected to be completed by Fall 2021, and the environmental review process by Summer 2022. And though the SGV Greenway Strategic Implementation Plan is still a few years out from being finalized, 13 projects have already started and are in various stages of development, including the Puente Creek Greenway and San Jose Creek Regional Access Multi-use Path.
According to Baul, the SGV TAC is the first engagement with cities the project has done, but LAC Flood Control staff will reach out to individual cities in the planning area to get their feedback. At the time of the meeting, only City of Pomona staff had been reached directly.