Reckless Driving and Illegal Activity Shut Down L.A.’s Newest Bridge

Could the chaos that has plagued the 6th Street Viaduct’s first few weeks signal an opportunity to reimagine its intended uses?

August 3, 2022, 11:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Two weeks after its much-anticipated public opening, L.A.’s 6th Street Viaduct is closed. As Andy Kalmowitz reports in Jalopnik, the closure is “largely due to a near constant stream of illegal activity from drivers taking over the brand-new, $588 million bridge in downtown L.A.”

After a series of temporary closures, the city is installing speed bumps in order to discourage street racers and other reckless drivers. “Along with the new speed bumps, the city is installing a center median divider as well as fencing to discourage people from scaling the archways, which is just one more baffling thing people have been doing on the bridge.”

Even before its reconstruction, the 6th Street bridge was a famous backdrop. “The original bridge the Viaduct replaces was an iconic LA landmark, seen in movies like Grease and Terminator 2: Judgement Day. The new bridge wasted no time making a name for itself, clearly.”

The Los Angeles Times editorial board, meanwhile, recently advocated for closing the bridge to cars altogether. 

The board argues that the bridge could become a West Coast version of New York City’s High Line, literally and figuratively elevating people over cars. “Despite less than ideal conditions (the speeding cars and the flimsy “protected” bicycle lanes), the 6th Street Viaduct has become a spot for family strolls, bike rides, scenic views, even quinceañera photos and a podcast recording. This is no mere roadway connecting Boyle Heights and downtown. It’s an opportunity to rethink L.A. transportation infrastructure and public space.”

Thursday, July 28, 2022 in Jalopnik

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