Treasures of the Valley » Mike Lawler

Soon To Come – The Arroyo Verdugo Bike Path

Mike Lawler is the former  president of the Historical Society of the Crescenta Valley and loves local history. Reach him at
Mike Lawler is the former
president of the Historical Society
of the Crescenta Valley and loves local history. Reach him at

Historically, trails and roads have followed waterways. In our own valley, some of the earliest trails followed Verdugo Creek, curving along the base of the Verdugo Mountains and down through Verdugo Canyon. Today, there’s a growing movement to turn that ancient pathway along Verdugo Creek into a bike and pedestrian path.

Imagine riding your bike along Verdugo Creek from Crescenta Valley Park to Griffith Park without ever touching the street. Pedaling from the Crescenta Valley, you could be in Glendale in 15 minutes, Griffith Park in 30 minutes. There you could connect with the Los Angeles River bike paths, where soon paths along the L.A. River would take you to downtown L.A.

The streets can be dangerous for bikes, but the natural paths along L.A.’s creek and rivers provide a safe alternative. Greater Los Angeles has many such trails in place already – the Santa Ana River, the San Gabriel River, Rio Hondo and the Arroyo Seco. The L.A. River has paths along most of its course, including Glendale, and by the end of this decade, paths should be fully connected along the river from the San Fernando Valley to Long Beach.

Behind the proposed path along Verdugo Creek, to be called the Arroyo Verdugo Path, are CV residents Paul and Desiree Rabinov. They have both been active in making CV a better place for many years now. Desiree is a member of the CV Town Council, and Paul was the driving force behind the Rosemont Preserve and the recently completed bike lanes on Foothill Boulevard. Paul and Desiree, along with the Glendale organization Walk/Bike Glendale, are now spearheading the drive to complete this bike and pedestrian path.

The route would be 9.4 miles from Crescenta Valley Park to the L.A. River and Griffith Park. Along the way it passes five public parks, and 16 public and private schools. Much of the route already has adjacent service roads above the channel, ready-made for biking and walking. The health benefits are obvious, along with the favorable impact on local traffic. Studies have shown that properties located near recreational opportunities such as bike paths increase in value. And for Glendale, having a major recreational opportunity running right through its city core can only increase its desirability as a place to live.

Politically, it has already gained a lot of traction. County Supervisor Mike Antonovich has given his support – important, as the channel is county property. The entire route runs through Glendale, whose city leadership is anxious to mitigate the explosive residential and commercial development going on in downtown Glendale. The Glendale Bicycle Master Plan, approved in 2012, ranks the Arroyo Verdugo Bike Path a top priority. And where would the money to build this come from? It’s already in place. As Supervisor Antonovich recently pointed out in a press release, many millions of dollars of Measure R funding for parks are still available, and the MTA has funding available for “alternative transportation,” of which biking is a major component.

So what would it look like? Although we have many examples locally of bike paths along creek channels, the example the Rabinovs like to hold up is Cherry Creek in Denver. It is a standard box-shaped flood control channel running through a metropolitan area just like ours. Several years ago it was re-envisioned as a pedestrian and bike path. Like portions of the L.A. River, it has a natural earth streambed to allow water to filter down to recharge the groundwater, but slab sides to handle the occasional flood. A biking and walking path winds alongside the lush growth in the center of the flood channel. Landscaping outside the flood control area has revitalized a once boring concrete-scape, turning it into an urban greenbelt, while still preserving its flood carrying capacity. New parks, housing and restaurants have gravitated to Cherry Creek, making it a major attraction.

The Arroyo Verdugo project would have the same effect for Glendale and the Crescenta Valley. This could be a great feature for us, and for future generations. The Crescenta Valley will benefit from this, and I’m looking forward to its completion.

  • David Summers

    Thank you for your informative article on the proposed bike path along the Verdugo Wash. I live along the proposed route, across the wash in the Sycamore Woods neighborhood, and I would love for this bike path to become a reality. It would be a much safer place for my children to ride their bikes without the danger of car traffic, and as an avid cyclist myself, I would use it frequently.