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Los Angeles’ newest infrastructure gem has quickly become a nuisance for motorists, pedestrians and the city at-large just weeks after its grand opening.
Since opening to traffic just last month, the Sixth Street Viaduct, or 6th Street Bridge, has been shut down several times by the Los Angeles Police Department while being plagued by dangerous stunts, street takeovers and other dangerous activities.
Videos posted to social media show cars performing donuts in the middle of the road, crashes and people scaling the archways of the bridge.
On Tuesday, LAPD Chief Michel Moore said speed bumps would be installed on the bridge to deter unruly behavior from motorists. During a Police Commission meeting, he said the structure has become a place where people come to “find their 15 minutes of fame.”
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“Since its opening, it has also served or become known as a place people are going to gather and conduct exhibitions,” he said.
One Twitter user posted a tweet explaining as much on Saturday.
“I need to take advantage of the 6th Street bridge to get famous soon,” the post read. “My window of opportunity is closing.”
In the four days prior, the LAPD issued 57 citations and impounded six vehicles from the bridge, Moore said. He asked the public to assist police in reporting illegal behavior.
Speed bumps will be installed as well as fencing and a possible center median to deter disruptions.
The LAPD declined to talk to Acesparks about the antics on the bridge. However, the department did say officers from three nearby police divisions will be “directed to address illegal bridge activity.”
“The personnel assigned to the bridge will be taking proactive traffic enforcement to ensure the safety of all persons traveling on and visiting the 6th Street Viaduct,” the agency said.
Over the weekend, the viaduct closed for several consecutive days. The LAPD shut the bridge down early one day in late July over “illegal activity and public safety” but reopened it hours later.
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Some of the chaos unfolding on the structure has been captured on video and posted to social media.
In one video, a man is seen getting a haircut in the middle of traffic. Another shows someone walking on the arches, which are dangerously high above the ground.
Acesparks has reached out to Councilman Kevin de Leon, who represents the Boyle Heights area.
On a recent Wednesday evening, dozens of people were walking, running and bicycling across the structure. Some residents, though, aren’t surprised at the antics.
“I saw it coming. It was predictable in a way. I’m not cool with it at all,” Los Angeles resident Luis Santiago told Acesparks. “There’s a lack of public space in the city so when something opens up people do whatever they want with it.”
One woman who refused to give her name called the street takeovers and shutdowns “annoying.”
“It’s kind of annoying that they’re already messing it up,” she said.
Claire Lee, 25, said it was her first time on the bridge but that the shutdown has affected people she knows.
“My friend was blocked by this and could not come to class,” she said.
“But it’s kind of nice to see a place with people as well,” she added, referring to the city’s COVID-19 mandates and restrictions that went on for nearly two years.
At $588 million, the bridge connects the city’s Boyle Heights neighborhood with the downtown Arts District. The construction came after the original bridge was demolished in 2016. It sports several LED-lit arches.
It has quickly become a destination for tourists and sightseers alike. But it’s also become a haven for some locals to act unruly and rty.
On Saturday, Chief Moore gave one word in response to the chaos unfolding on the roadway: “Unacceptable.”
That structure was a key landmark in Los Angeles that was completed in 1932 and seen in countless commercials and films such as “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” and “The Purge.”
Apart from the bridge, the city plans to add a rain garden, seating, a play area and other amenities for the downtown side of the bridge. A field, skate rk, children’s play area and dog area are slated for the Boyle Heights side.