Urban Bike Path Splits L.A. Cities on Appearance

It's a tale of two cities, and a bike path that connects both, but with vastly different results. The Chandler Bike Path is hailed as a recreational joy in one city, but nothing less than an eyesore in another.

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Published Septemeber 10, 2007 by ABC7.com
By Robert Holguin 

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It's a tale of two cities, and a bike path that connects both, but with vastly different results. The Chandler Bike Path is hailed as a recreational joy in one city, but nothing less than an eyesore in another. In Burbank, the bike path's controversy has come full cycle.

The whole area was once a rail line, long abandoned. The idea was to convert it into a beautiful landscaped park. In Burbank, it's been a success. But once the bike path meanders into Los Angeles, it's a different story.

From graffiti, to garbage, the north side of the Chandler Bike Path looks nothing like its southern self. That's because the lush, green stretch is in Burbank, and the one in Los Angeles is not so nice.

"There's no grass and there are no benches, so it's striking, the difference," said Burbank resident Tiara Smith.

The Chandler Bike Path Connection was completed in June of 2006, hailed as a recreational haven for bicyclists, Rollerbladers, and those who simply want to take an evening stroll. A year later, residents are giving Burbank's side rave reviews. Not so much for L.A.

"The Burbank side is definitely a fair bit greener. The wood chips are not quite as aesthetic, but the biggest noticeable difference is the lack of dog stations on the North Hollywood side," said Burbank resident Justin Smith. "The Burbank side's got them all along the way to Buena Vista."

On this commemorative plaque, you'll find the name of L.A. City Councilman Tom LaBonge, who represents this area. LaBonge did not respond to our request for an interview.

"It almost seems like they ran out of funding when it came to North Hollywood," said North Hollywood resident Tonie Fiorito.

As for maintenance, the city of Los Angeles says it set up irrigation systems, fertilized the soil, but then failed to hire a company to maintain the landscaping. The weeds went wild.

In a statement, an official with the city's construction services department said: "We have put into motion a procedure to correct the situation," wrote Bill Older, Los Angeles General Construction Services.

But many residents are wondering why it had to come to this.

"They started out with it very nice, and then they just let it go to pot," said Burbank resident Rick Dotson.

The City of Los Angeles says it's in the process of hiring a company to do the maintenance. They say they should have the weeds cleared by next week. Then they plan to turn it over to the Department of Transportation for continued maintenance.