Members of the Los Angeles City Council found themselves debating whether events at the Sixth Street Bridge are why we just can’t have nice things—weighing a proposed $706,000 for graffiti removal and repair for a public works project not yet one month old, ABC7 reports.
The stately arches of the 6th Street Viaduct, which connects Boyle Heights with the Arts District, attracted more than oohs and ahs since opening on July 10. Increasingly daring pedestrian and vehicular adventurers began to converge on the Instagram magnet to pull stunts, burn rubber, tag up, or make their mark in other ways.
Since the bridge opened, graffiti removal crews have scrubbed some 1,244 square feet of graffiti each day, for an average of 21.5 hours daily. And police have closed the bridge numerous times due to “illegal activity and public safety concerns,” per a tweet from the Los Angeles Police Department.
At a street takeover early last week, a would-be drag racer lost control of a white Dodge Challenger Hellcat, veering into oncoming traffic and parked cars, before hitting a wall and escaping on foot. This Tuesday, police closed the bridge for the fourth of the past five nights, as some 100 bicyclists blocked traffic moving along the viaduct, and a suspect shined a laser pointer into a Los Angeles Police Department officer’s eye, according to LAPD.
Incidents such as these are “drawing finite resources, limited resources away from more pressing duties to ensure the safety of this location,” LAPD Chief Michel Moore told the city’s Police Commission on Tuesday, adding that officers had issued more than 57 citations and impounded six vehicles over the previous four days.
At Wednesday’s City Council meeting, the Public Works Committee passed by 3-1 the recommended $700K to fund cleaning and maintenance of the bridge for a year of service. Councilman John Lee dissented with the move to dedicate such funds to a single bridge, while other Council members agreed that the current package was a stop-gap measure only.
Chief Moore said that more preventive measures including speed bumps, may be forthcoming on the bridge. City officials also suggested new fencing to prevent daredevils from climbing the archways, and surveillance cameras to aid enforcement and deter vandalism.
Councilman Kevin de León put the question to the city in its frankest terms: “’Do we, in Los Angeles, do we deserve good things?”‘ he asked.
“And the answer is unequivocally yes. We do deserve good things,” he said, referencing the $558 million bridge. “Especially in light of a global pandemic, we especially deserve very good things.”
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