A brand new, half-billion-dollar bridge in Los Angeles that opened July 9 has already been plagued by frequent police closures, as people treat it like some kind of Grand Theft Auto amusement park.
As Associated Press reports:
The 6th Street Viaduct — which soars over the concrete-lined Los Angeles River to connect downtown to the historic Eastside — quickly became a hotspot for street racing, graffiti and illegal takeovers that draw hundreds of spectators to watch drivers perform dangerous stunts in their vehicles.
Taking over six years to build at a cost of $588 million, it was the largest bridge project in the city’s history. However, many drivers trying to use the bridge at night are finding they’re out of luck thanks to Angelenos going wild on the festively-lit structure with outstanding downtown views.
Multiple crashes have already happened, including an accident on July 18 in which the driver of Dodge Challenger lost control as he was doing a burnout and smashed into two other vehicles. He grabbed his things and fled the scene, but later turned himself in and was charged with misdemeanor hit-and-run.
Street takeover on newly opened half billion dollar 6th street bridge ends in crash involving several vehicles.
This lawlessness is literally destroying our community. pic.twitter.com/6Ydg902Kza
— Kevin Dalton (@KevinForBOS) July 19, 2022
Then there’s this wannabe Hollywood stunt man…
No wonder why police closed down 6th street bridge at nights lol . Night time L.A. People are a menace 😂 pic.twitter.com/2ggWVlFHej
— el Vale 🇬🇹 (@elvale_1) July 24, 2022
Meanwhile, many pedestrians can’t resist the urge to climb the bridge’s many arches. Skateboarders are also trying their luck on them. Nobody’s fallen to their deaths…yet.
— Alex Rozier (@AlexNBCLA) July 26, 2022
Man caught doing parkour stunt on 6th street bridge in Boyle Heights. pic.twitter.com/JChIXs5PzM
— Boyle Heights (@boyle_hts) July 23, 2022
Spontaneous concerts are breaking out too, but perhaps the craziest stunt was this haircut given smack in the middle of the median-less bridge as heavy traffic passed in both directions:
Man gets haircut in the middle of the 6th Street Bridge in Boyle Heights pic.twitter.com/20d8jzZAeC
— Boyle Heights (@boyle_hts) July 21, 2022
The wild action has prompted police to shut down the 3,500-foot-long bridge several times already — including four shutdowns in just the past five days.
Now, in a desperate effort to throw a wet blanket on the Angeleno hijinks, the city’s preparing to throw more money at the structure. Speed bumps are being installed and fencing will be added to help prevent people from climbing up the arches.
John Yi, who leads Los Angeles Walks, a pedestrian advocacy group, tells The Associated Press the design was a recipe for trouble: “If you provide a concrete jungle gym, then that’s how people will use it.”
Naturally, the Los Angeles Times is calling for the city to simply surrender to the mobs. In an editorial posted Wednesday, it called for the city to start closing the bridge “several nights or days each week” — but then to close it to vehicles forever.
With a straight face, the paper of record in a city notorious for its traffic wos urged the government to turn the half-billion-dollar bridge into “a place for community concerts, a farmers market or whatever residents want.”
Seems like there’s already too many people in Los Angeles doing whatever they want.
At least this guy’s got the right idea…
— Boyle Heights (@boyle_hts) July 26, 2022