In September 2015, on the eve of the full Expo (now E) Line opening, Streetsblog L.A. published my article under the headline, Why LADOT Won't Have Its Portion of the Expo Bikeway Done Anytime Soon. I wish I had been wrong. Ever since the Expo Line bike path formally opened alongside the E-Line, there has been a gap between Overland and Motor avenues - where riders are directed to follow sharrows on hilly Northvale Road.
In April 2021, the city updated the public on closing the "Northvale Gap." Councilmember Koretz had put together the funding (no small task). The project timeline showed 100 percent design in December 2021 and right-of-way acquisition completed in December 2022. Streetsblog reported, "LADOT anticipate[d] that construction will begin in 2022 and be completed by 2025."
In December that year, the City Attorney - who had reached an impasse negotiating with adjacent homeowners - got an ordinance (council file) to exercise eminent domain for the missing land. With that, construction could begin while they negotiated compensation the litigious Chevioteers would get for selling land back to the city. I write "back to the city," since the Cheviot Knolls developer had granted the land to the city for a street which was never built. Later, when homeowners bought the unbuilt roadway land from the city, they could not build on it because of the sewer line running beneath it.
This week, LADOT issued another update - kicking the timeline a year down the road: "As of August 2022 the project design has reached the 70 percent milestone. Construction is anticipated to begin Spring 2024." That leaves me with several questions: What's the hold up? Are we still being yanked around by homeowners who have successfully delayed this project - and increased the cost by millions? Has the City Attorney exercised eminent domain? Most importantly, when will the Northvale gap be closed?
Jonathan Weiss practices law and lives in Cheviot Hills. He is also a boardmember of Streetsblog L.A.’s parent nonprofit, the California Streets Initiative.