LOS ANGELES – Less than three weeks ago, with fireworks, crowds, and civic joy that only a fresh Instagram backdrop, America’s second-largest city christened a stunning new $588 million landmark: a bridge that would create a “strip of light.” Between the downtown arts district and the historic bungalows of East Los Angeles.
With 10 groups of white-lit arches, sparkling Sixth Street – as it’s officially known – has replaced an 83-year-old Art Deco bridge over the concrete Los Angeles River that for generations was a popular Hollywood location for noir car chases and dystopian hellscapian. Critics declared her an instant icon. Major Eric Garcetti, who recounted a slow jam in honor of the bridge when construction began, called it a “love letter” to the city.
Now Los Angeles loves him again.
There’s so much love, in fact, that the city is considering installing speed bumps, a concrete broker and a climbing deterrent after the LAPD closed the bridge last weekend for three nights in a row and closed it again. Tuesday night.
In the weeks since the bridge first opened, it has been cornered by Angelenos who yearn to connect with, use, and own it. Early graffiti artists flagged it down. Then skiers and climbers took on the brackets. Within a week, show drivers were burning rubber, making donuts, and targeting the bridge for illegal street takeovers and smashing. In less than 10 days, the bridge’s original lanes were covered in black slip marks.
“Look, unlike the Brooklyn Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge, this is the first major bridge to be built in the age of social media,” said councilman Kevin De Leon, a veteran Los Angeles lawmaker and recent major candidate whose district includes both the bridge and the communities that You book it. “People are trying to get virtual fame and spread the virus.
Before answering his question, the councilman added, “Of course, someone might ask: ‘Didn’t you expect what happened?'” “
In fact, the city expected a merchant. The bridge maintenance plan included the daily removal of graffiti, which Mr. A. Needed within 24 hours of its opening, de Leon said, it was a thriving celebration on the July 10 weekend as some 15,000 Angelinos watched fireworks, strumming to music and wandering its spaces.
Not all love hurts: Barber He grabbed the medium and cut his hair one evening as the traffic poured in from him. A tattoo artist signs a client on the footpath. Local street photographers snapped a photo of a pink-themed Quinceanera with blue skies above and the Los Angeles skyline sparkling in the distance. There were selfies galore.
Allen Rodriguez, a 25-year-old warehouse worker who grew up in Boyle Heights on the east side of the bridge, said he imagined the project when he first heard about it and walked with his parents when it opened. How do you compare?
“I think it’s better,” Mr. Rodriguez said. He was so impressed, in fact, that on the second day he came back open and skied from end to end—legally—with his teenage brother. He pulled his phone out of his pocket to reveal a picture of himself standing on the bridge walking path, downtown Los Angeles, with his skateboard at his feet.
Architectural critics have compared the project to the transformative High Line project for New York City. The bridge will eventually overlook a 12-acre riverbed garden that will aid in a long-term restoration of the famous concrete-covered Los Angeles River. Designed by architect Michael Maltzan, the Sixth Street Viaduct Bridge replaces a landmark that, at 3,500 feet, was the longest bridge in California when it was built in 1932.
At one end, in those early days, it was the heart of Los Angeles. In contrast was Boyle Heights, then a working-class melting pot of Japanese, Eastern European, Russian and Mexican workers. Below it, the Los Angeles River was still prone to flooding.
But over the generations, the old bridge has become seismically unstable. Demolition began in 2016 in a three-year time frame. By that time, the river was a storm channel with graffiti on it, and the bridge spanned not only such a difficult expansion, but also highways and railways. The downtown side of the warehouse district had evolved into an “arts” district so expensive that few artists could afford to live there, and Boyle Heights was struggling against gentrification to maintain its character as a predominantly Latino neighborhood.
Los Angeles Police Chief Michael Moore told the city’s police commission on Tuesday that most of the mischief-makers on the bridge were from outside the communities next to it. Compare his appeal to other Los Angeles icons, including the Hollywood sign and Venice Beach.
However, he said, the space soon became known for “outrageous behaviour”. As a result, the department closed the bridge three times over the weekend, and by Tuesday it had booked six vehicles and placed more than 57 orders.
On Sunday night, he said, the city began installing speed bumps and searching a temporary middle barrier to deter barriers and fences to prevent people from climbing arches.
the master. De Leon said he is particularly concerned about the expansion, adding: “God forbid, someone is slipping.”
In a downtown loft area that has sprung up over three decades of drug stores and art workshops that were filled with drugs, Arthur Garcia, who works in television and film lighting, sighs that the city has mismanaged the bridge “in a typical Los Angeles fashion.”
He waits with his dog in the shade, mr. Garcia said he is concerned that the bridge may attract more police to the area, which in turn could lead to more clashes with its homeless residents. When civil problems erupt, he said, “there is usually an overreaction, the reaction is usually in the police situation, and it is unfortunate that this will only create more violence.”
In Boyle Heights, Michael Aviles, 16, said the bridge’s problems left him with a familiar feeling—which is why his community didn’t have nice things to do.
“We can’t,” he asserted. “I don’t know why people do things like that.”
Darcy Gomez, who manages the cash register at Boyle Heights 7-Eleven, admitted that the area around her storefront is regularly flooded with strangers — and now, officers keep an eye on them. However, when she first drove the bridge this month, she said, she was shocked and even calmed by her sunny beauty.
“If you close the windows, it’s really nice and relaxing,” Gomez said. “I wish we could take good care of him.”