LA to Explore Closing 6th Street Bridge to Car Traffic ‘Periodically’

We’re trying not to write about the 6th Street Bridge all the time, but here we are.

The new viaduct connecting Boyle Heights to downtown LA has made a lot of headlines in recent weeks, thanks to the small minority of people who drive dangerously, attempt the risky climb through fencing and archery, and other antics documented in the Social Networks.

In response, the Los Angeles Police Department closed the bridge several times in the first few weeks after it opened in July. In other words, the opposite of what you want to do with a new $588 million infrastructure that you want people to use.

Where we are today

More recently, you can’t miss the significant police presence on the bridge. On a recent visit, I noticed an almost constant stream of patrol cars driving back and forth to discourage people from driving too fast or too slow (as in stopping completely in lanes to take photos).

City leaders acknowledge that the LAPD’s focus on the bridge is draining resources. It’s also unsustainable, given the thousands of miles of other streets in the city where people who want to speed and burn out (or watch others do) can go.

Now the city wants a more concrete plan to improve safety on the bridge and keep it clean.

next steps

The City Council on Friday approved a motion directing the city’s chief administrative officer, or CAO, to begin drafting a multi-layered plan to maintain the bridge, improve safety and keep traffic moving across it. To do this, the CAO will work with other city departments that manage the viaduct, including the Office of Engineering, the Department of Transportation and LAPD.

Part of the plan asks the BOE to report on how much money and how much time it would take “to install cameras, improved fencing and anti-climbing devices, median and lane treatments, signage and any other interventions … to increase public safety. to the viaduct”.

BOE recently installed “yellow plastic domes” in the center median along the viaduct, to deter drivers from crossing into the opposite lane during burnouts (the city of Compton took a similar step recently to discourage street shopping).

City leaders also want to know what resources would be needed “to periodically close the bridge to vehicular traffic and allow only pedestrian and bicycle access.”

This is something that several local safety advocates have called for, especially given the lack of public space in East LA.

Added execution proposal

The motion also:

  • Directs LADOT and LAPD to create staffing plans for dedicated patrols “specifically to maintain public safety and traffic flow”
  • It calls for a staffing, safety and maintenance plan from the Department of Recreation and Parks, LAPD and Bureau of Sanitation for the viaduct and the PARC that will eventually be built under and around it.
  • He asks the City Attorney’s Office to draft and present an ordinance “that prohibits access to areas outside the bridge fence, wear and tear on the viaduct, street occupations, drag racing, dangerous practices of driving, the stopping of motorized vehicles and participation in any activity that blocks the viaduct. traffic lanes for vehicles without a permit”.

We wanted to know if for some reason existing laws on traffic, trespassing and vandalism are not being enforced. Or would this new ordinance make these actions more illegal? The office of the Leon alderman, who filed the motion, did not respond to our request for comment by the time of publication.
It remains to be seen how community members will react to a sustained increase in police presence, though some Boyle Heights advocates have expressed concerns on the city’s response to bridge safety.

The motion calls for a financing plan for all these investments within 14 days.

Hollywood Considerations

Public safety concerns aside, city leaders are also eager to keep the bridge camera-ready, as it’s set to serve as the backdrop for many car commercials and other film and television productions (the original bridge demolished in 2016 due to safety concerns was a veteran of film and television.)

In a separate movement before the City Council’s Budget and Finance Committee next week, de LeΓ³n requested that the Development Board determine the necessary investments to keep the viaduct “at all times free of graffiti and acts of vandalism.”

The motion also asks city officials to explore a possible “bridge maintenance fee” for film productions and anyone else who obtains a permit to use the viaduct.

The maintenance of public infrastructure is not one of LA’s strong points, as the councilor pointed out in his motion:

“The city does not have municipal staff or a contractor whose mission is to maintain the bridges in the city. When the new viaduct is open to the public, it will receive heavy use from the film industry, special events and the general public. If graffiti or other vandalism is done to the bridge, removal will be extremely difficult for an individual owner due to the physical challenges presented by the bridge structure.”

What questions do you have about getting around LA?

Ryan Fonseca explores the challenges communities face in getting from point a to point bi and possible road, sidewalk, trail and bike path solutions. πŸš΄πŸ½β€β™€οΈ πŸ‘¨πŸΏβ€πŸ¦½ πŸšΆβ€β™‚οΈ πŸš‡ πŸš™ πŸ›΄ 🚌

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