Glendale opens second phase of riverfront project
City unveils a bikeway and two parks near Griffith Park as spots for people to rest.
Offering respite along a bikeway bordering the northeast bank of the Los Angeles River, two small parks opened late last month as part of a threephase project to revitalize an area that has long been considered a blight.
“Most cities turn their backs to the river. It’s considered a drainage canal,” said Peter Vierheilig, project manager of the second phase of the Glendale Narrows Riverwalk, located across the river from Griffith Park.
“There’s been a movement throughout Los Angeles to make the river our frontyard, for recreation and for people to enjoy their day,” he said.
Planning for the second phase began about four years ago for the pair of parks, which cost $3.5 million to complete.
Confluence Park is located at the confluence of the Verdugo Wash and the river, while Flower Plaza is at Flower Street and Fairmont Avenue. Both offer a place to stop and rest, Vierheilig said.
The most recent phase also includes a river outlook and 110-foot bridge crossing a box culvert, allowing the continuance of a recreational path from the first phase of the project.
Funding came from local development-impact fees, a Los Angeles County transportation tax known as Measure R, and a water grant created by state Proposition 84, in addition to a small portion from the statewide gas tax, Vierheilig said.
Since taking the helm of the project, which has been in the works since the late 1990s, Vierheilig has enjoyed watching an increasing number of Disney and DreamWorks employees use the bike path to commute to work.
Employees from a nearby city-owned hazardouswaste facility also enjoy strolling around the green space at lunch, he said.
On Oct. 30, U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank), state Sen. Anthony Portantino and state Assemblywoman Laura Friedman spoke about the project at a dedication ceremony celebrating the launch of phase two, according to Vierheilig.
“I’m not particularly political, but it was inspiring to hear their excitement about the project and the future of the project,” Vierheilig said.
Early planning has started on the third phase, which will include a bridge across the river that will link the western part of Glendale with Griffith Park. Vierheilig said he thinks construction is five years out.
There is also hope to build a smaller bridge connecting western Glendale to northern Atwater Village, linking two bike paths on either side to create a much longer one, Vierheilig said.
The final leg of the project is projected to cost $25 million, a figure that covers development costs, environmental research and construction, he added.
Completed in 2012, the project’s first phase includes an entry park, a picnic area along the river, an equestrian facility and a half-mile recreational trail.
BICYCLISTS RIDE OVER a new bridge this month in Glendale. The city opened the bridge and two parks recently as part of its years-long riverfront project.