Earlier this year, safe streets and active transportation advocacy group Streets For All launched a grassroots proposal to extend the Ballona Creek bike path to Mid-City. A presentation recently posted by the South Robertson Neighborhood Council provides a glimpse at what the project may entail.
Built in the 1970s, the bike path runs approximately 6.5 miles from Syd Kronenthal Park in Culver City to the Marina del Rey. While plans had originally called the path to extend as far east as Mid-City, an expected second phase of construction never materialized. The proposal from Streets For All would complete the original vision of the path, extending its reach by approximately two miles to the intersection of Cochran Avenue and Venice Boulevard.
Landscape architecture firm SWA has provided design concepts for the project, which would overall take a light touch toward new construction along the corridor.
Potential big ticket items in the extension would include the construction of a new bridge at Smiley Drive, allowing the bike path to transfer from the north side of the channel to the south. To make the bike path contiguous, the project would also require the construction of three segments of underpass at its crossing of the I-10 Freeway and its on- and off-ramps.
However, other grade crossings along the corridor would be handled through the installation of new signalized mid-block crossings including those at Washington Boulevard, Fairfax Avenue, Thurman Avenue, Hauser Boulevard, Burnside Avenue, and Cochran Avenue.
East of Fairfax Avenue, new stretches of bike path would be built on unutilized right-of-way flanking the Ballona Creek channel, with a portion of the route to be built as sharrows along Cologne Street. The final terminus of the path would be located at the southeast corner of Cochran and Venice Boulevard, where plans call for transforming a vacant lot into a new gateway park.
Streets For All is coordinating the project, according to the organization's founder Michael Schneider, along with partners at Culver City Forward, Ballona Creek Renaissance, Bike Culver City, and SWA.
Construction of a the bike path extension will require the cooperation and coordination of a large group of stakeholders, including Los Angeles County, Caltrans, Culver City, the City of Los Angeles, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which manages the flood channel. While no government entity has taken an official position of support yet, the project does have one key ally in local real estate firm Redcar Properties, which is working on a new development which could dovetail with the extension.
Schneider hopes to ultimately secure the support of each stakeholder organization, which would then set the stage for a government agency to apply for grant funding.
"LADOT tried to get funding for this twice in the early 2000s - both times failed," says Schneider in an e-mail. "I think with the Biden Administration’s infrastructure push and as part of our COVID-19 recovery, things could move very quickly. I’d love to have this complete by 2025."