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Dear LAist: What's Up With The Pedestrian Bridge Connecting Cypress Park And Frogtown?

Photo rendering of the Taylor Yard Bikeway/Pedestrian Bridge (Courtesy SPF:architects)
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On a short stretch of the L.A. River running between Frogtown and Cypress Park, there's little to indicate that a seismic shift is afoot. Construction vehicles there are quietly beginning work on the Taylor Yard Bikeway/Pedestrian Bridge, a long-awaited overpass that will connect the two neighborhoods.

But the bridge is part of the L.A. River revitalization project, a massive municipal undertaking that city officials hope will uplift Los Angeles for miles in every direction. And this particular overpass will ultimately lead to Taylor Yard, a 42-acre parcel of land that has been dubbed by some city officials as the "crown jewel" of the river project.

So, it's not entirely surprising that we received a question about the bridge. An anonymous reader asked us, "Are they really going to build a footbridge between Cypress Park and Frogtown over the river? If so, when and how will it be accessible?"

The short answer is yes, they are, and construction is already underway. Here's what we can tell you so far.

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In case you haven't heard, Los Angeles has big, big plans for development around the L.A. River. The L.A. River Revitalization Master Plan was drafted in 2007, and currently includes approximately 240 projects along the banks of the nearly 50-mile waterway.

One of the cornerstones of development is Taylor Yard. After purchasing Taylor Yard in March 2017 for $60 million, the city made plans to convert the area -- formerly owned by Union Pacific Railroad -- into a public park. It's one of a series of planned developments known as the Taylor Yard G2 River Park Project.

Of those developments, the Taylor Yard Bikeway/Pedestrian Bridge is among the first to get underway.

The structure has been on city officials' radar since long before the river's master plan was complete. First broached as a possibility in the early 1990's, city officials agreed to build the bridge rather than fight a lawsuit in court over their alleged failure to solicit community comment around development plans for the area.

It took decades, though, for a plan to be developed.

Photo rendering of the Taylor Yard Bikeway/Pedestrian Bridge (Courtesy SPF:architects)


Construction on the Taylor Yard bridge began in April of this year, and contractors have until 2021 to finish it, according to a representative from the city's Bureau of Engineering.

On the Cypress Park side, the bridge's entrance will be located on the southern tip of the Taylor Yard parcel. According to the city, a ramp will be constructed leading to Kerr Road, which will connect to San Fernando Road.

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On the Frogtown side, the bridge will connect to the existing pedestrian and bike path.

Designed by Culver City-based architecture firm SPF:a -- the same firm that designed the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures and the Getty Villa, among many others -- the Taylor Yard bridge lines up perfectly with SPF:a's artistic, hyper-modern aesthetic.

Initial renderings feature a series of open orange boxes melded together, inside of which floats a slightly slanted walkway. Two viewing platforms jut out from the middle of the walkway, one looking north and one looking south.

At 400 feet long, 30 feet high and 27 feet wide, the overpass will utilize "the lightest structural elements possible: tube steel, wide flange steel, and steel rods," according to SPF:a's website.

The cost of the project is currently at $18.7 million.

Photo rendering of the Taylor Yard Bikeway/Pedestrian Bridge (Courtesy SPF:architects)


Because of its history as a rail yard maintenance area, Taylor Yard is considered contaminated and needs to be thoroughly cleaned before it can be built up. City officials have detailed a robust 10-year plan that includes planting, soil remediation, redesigning the river channel and adding new structures.

They hope to open the park by 2028 -- seven years after the bridge is slated to open.

Have another question you'd like us to investigate? Ask it below.

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