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L.A. bridge connecting Griffith Park, Atwater may usurp Glendale plans

July 12, 2013|By Brittany Levine, brittany.levine@latimes.com
  • A planned $6 million bridge from North Atwater Park to Griffith Park over the Los Angeles River, pictured here, has Glendale councilmembers split on whether to move forward with a proposed bridge from the Glendale side of the river to Griffith Park.
A planned $6 million bridge from North Atwater Park to… (Courtesy of LA River…)

A $6-million, 302-foot bridge that would connect Griffith Park to Atwater passed a key Los Angeles committee this week — a move that has Glendale City Council members split on whether they should scrap their plans for a similar bridge.

The Los Angeles Board of Public Works approved the 38-foot-wide steel North Atwater Crossing Project on Wednesday, but the bridge — which could serve equestrians, pedestrians and bicyclists — must still be approved by the L.A. City Council.

The 302-foot crossing, which would be built about 1.5 miles south of where Glendale had planned to put its bridge, had some Glendale council members questioning the need to build another.

“I don’t think we’d have the need for a second bridge,” said Councilman Ara Najarian, whose position was echoed by Councilman Dave Weaver, who hasn’t been an ardent supporter of the bridge concept to start with.

Plans for Glendale’s version of a bridge are still being worked out, and a cost estimate has yet to be determined. But it has long been planned as the third phase in the Glendale Narrows Riverwalk, a decade-in-the-making project.

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The first phase — a $2.1-million project that includes horse facilities, park areas and a half-mile trail along the Los Angeles River that begins near Paula Avenue and Garden Street — opened in December. Glendale has a $975,000 state grant for the second phase, which would extend the riverwalk from Flower Street to the Verdugo Wash, but no money has been secured for the final bridge connection.

The bridge segment has been viewed as an important link for people who live east of the Golden State (5) Freeway, where parks are a rarity, to the roughly 4,300 acres of open space at Griffith Park in L.A.

Despite the L.A. plans, Glendale council members Frank Quintero and Laura Friedman said their constituents still need their own crossing.

“We don’t want to be redundant…but we need to make sure our residents can get [to Griffith Park] from Glendale,” Friedman said.

Los Angeles officials said their bridge from North Atwater Park — which won’t cross the 5 Freeway — shouldn’t prevent Glendale from moving forward with its own project.

“Every good road has great crosswalks,” Los Angeles Councilman Tom LaBonge said in a statement.

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