CicLAvia West Valley Preview

ciclavia west valley preview

CicLAvia is coming to the San Fernando Valley for the fourth time, but for its third route as open streets will see its way west of the 405 for the first time.

It’s an opportunity for people to bike, skate, walk or do whatever they like across these open streets.

This CicLAvia West Valley covers five miles along Sherman Way from Lindley to Shoup rolling through Reseda, Winnetka and Canoga Park.

Sherman Way has a lot of historical significance to the West Valley as the Los Angeles Pacific Railway made its way in 1911 creating the towns of Marian and Owensmouth now known as Reseda and Canoga Park.


Owensmouth looking down Sherman Way in 1920


Back then, this line connected people with Van Nuys through the Cahuenga pass all the way into Downtown Los Angeles until it closed in 1952.

The Valley received a great deal of post-war suburban growth along with the aerospace industry with the old Rocketdyne facility just south of the route.

You can see by the pockets of small businesses along CicLAvia and the mid-century marquee of the Reseda Theater that Sherman Way saw its fair share of street life.

As the freeways came, people started frequenting large malls accommodating giant parking lots took away energy from these walkable neighborhoods.


CicLAvia West Valley Map


Now as Los Angeles can only expand its footprint in an inefficient manner, we’re starting to see a return to these neighborhoods and Sherman Way is definitely a beneficiary.

On the Canoga Park end, you’ll see a lot of small businesses lining the street which is a nice contrast against the Promenade Mall down Topanga Canyon Blvd. which closed earlier this year.

If you’re looking for a bite to eat, there’s plenty of variety, but I always start with tacos!


The CicLAvia route as it would have been in the late 1920s


Casa de Papi sits on the western end of the CicLAvia route off of Shoup and exemplifies how in LA you find the best food at these smaller places.

One off shoot that’s worth looking at is heading south down Owensmouth Ave to the back of Canoga Park High School (which is the oldest high school in the west San Fernando Valley).

While the concrete convergent views to the west look harsh, this is the actual start of the LA River and consequently, the start of the river path on the other side of the street.

Moving eastward, you’ll cross the Orange Line Bike Path at Canoga which continues north to Chatsworth for those who want to come by Amtrak.


The West Valley has the longest stretch of the LA River Greenway at 3 miles


You’ll notice the Winnetka portion has a more suburban spacing to it as most it filled in much later, but still keep your eye out as there are some century old homes tucked in between.

With a number of set back businesses and parking lots lining Sherman Way, you’re definitely do some rubbernecking when you near Corbin.

Built in an over-scaled Victorian style, the Platt Office Building was actually constructed in 1981 with a combination of salvaged and replicated parts from razed Queen Anne in Downtown.

The Reseda section closes out the this five mile route and it’s definitely a place on the upswing.

For the last four years, Council Member Bob Blumenfield has hosted the popular Reseda Rising Art Walk showcasing the vibrancy of the area.


Packed action at Reseda Rising


Along this stretch a new LA Kings Ice Rink will be coming and there’s hope that the 1948 Reseda Theater will reopen its doors.

You’ll see the main activity centered near Reseda Blvd. where the Traders Loan and Jewelry is not only the oldest pawn shop in the Valley, but also occupies a building constructed in 1914.

Soon, the Reseda Blvd. Street Improvement Project will connect and improve the bike lane gap between making Sherman Way a more center of activity.

Once again, you’ll have the tough choice picking between the number of eating options, but I suggest Vinh Loi Tofu which serves some of the best vegan phở in LA.


1948 Reseda Theater


One of the biggest questions I’m receiving is how to get to this CicLAvia.

While the Orange Line BRT takes you directly to the course, the bike racks on the front of the bus only accommodate three of them.

I earlier mentioned the option of taking the Orange Line Bike Path out of the Chatsworth Amtrak, but if you’re coming from the North Hollywood Red Line Station, it’s about a ten mile ride which I suggest jogging through Lake Balboa Park and White Oak.


Browns Canyon is a little known bike path in the Valley


Another choice along those veins is to check out the longest stretch of the LA River Greenway starting at Vanalden, then taking the Browns Canyon Wash directly up to Sherman Way!

With two million people living in the Gr818, it’s definitely the right time for CicLAvia West Valley to roll through.