Published Jun 21, 2019 at 5:13 PM | Updated at 10:46 AM PDT on Jun 26, 2019
The county of Los Angeles may move forward with expanding a serene bike path along the Los Angeles River, despite the fact that residents are complaining about parts of it being littered with drugs, needles, and people passed out on benches.
There are some serene spots along the bike path as it winds its way across the San Fernando Valley and ultimately into Long Beach.
The path was billed as a resource for the community when it opened in 2012. "it was beautiful! And the community came out to use it," said Reseda resident Evelyn Aleman.
But that's not the case along the whole stretch of the bike path anymore.
Some neighbors call it disgusting.
People who regularly walk on the path along the LA River say they took it upon themselves to do something when they said they believed the city and the county weren't.
"I feel sadness when I see the streets of LA," Aleman said.
Over the course of two years, along a two-mile stretch of the bike path near Aleman's home in Reseda, she documented the parts where she found trash, and worse.
"Strung out on our bike path. Some still have the needles in their arms or the spoons they're using, the equipment. When we come with our family or pets, we're concerned people will step on these needles," she said.
"This is in my backyard. I can't let this happen," Bob Akre, a Reseda resident, said.
Akre said he walks the bike path every morning, talking to the homeless who call this home, and to the police officers who he says rarely patrol it.
"You know what? Nothing is illegal anymore. I've asked the police if you see someone urinating over on the side of the car, would arrest them? 'No.' 'If you see me do it?' 'Yeah, I'd arrest you because you can pay the bond. And if we take you to jail, we know you're not full of bugs.'"
Yet the county is moving forward with plans to expand the bike path, connecting the Elysian Valley with Vernon - a non-stop ride from the San Fernando Valley all the way to Long Beach - thanks to $365 million from tax payers.
The taxpayers who live near the path and use it say to expand it at this point would be a waste.
"We haven't gotten it right yet! Take care of this first before you expand the bike path to other communities that may not be as resourceful, as mobilized and as vocal and where you may have a more significant drug and criminal element. It's a concern for us," Aleman said.
See a video on our coverage here.