Sixth Street Bridge: LA council committee recommends $706,000 for maintenance, graffiti removal

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Thursday, July 28, 2022
Sixth Street Bridge: Council panel recommends $706K for maintenance
A Los Angeles City Council committee recommended that the council approve $706,000 to remove graffiti and provide other maintenance on the Sixth Street Bridge.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A Los Angeles City Council committee on Wednesday recommended that the council approve $706,000 to remove graffiti and provide other maintenance on the Sixth Street Bridge.

The bridge, connecting Boyle Heights with the downtown Arts District, was reopened early Wednesday morning after yet another overnight closure -- the fourth in five nights -- due to what the Los Angeles Police Department described as "illegal activity and public safety concerns." That activity has included people converging on the span, performing spinouts, burnouts or blocking traffic.

The recommendation by the Public Works Committee passed 3-1, with Councilman John Lee dissenting over concerns that the city would spend too much money on public works for a single bridge, while other districts wouldn't receive a proportionate amount of funding.

The funds would last for about a year of service, according to a staff report. Council members agreed that the funding would only provide a short- term solution to the issues plaguing the bridge. The committee also directed staff to report back on potential security measures.

Some people have stopped their vehicles to take pictures on the bridge, a byproduct of the structure being built during the social media era, according to Councilman Kevin de León, whose district includes the bridge.

Sixth Street Bridge: Installation of speed bumps underway in effort to mitigate 'dangerous' activity

Speed bumps are being installed on the Sixth Street Viaduct as city officials hope to mitigate the "dangerous speed displays" on the new bridge.

"There is a reasonable question that has been broached for the past few weeks: 'Do we, in Los Angeles, do we deserve good things?"' de León said at the committee meeting. "And the answer is unequivocally yes. We do deserve good things. Especially in light of a global pandemic, we especially deserve very good things."

Graffiti removal crews have cleaned up an average of 1,244 square feet of graffiti each day since the bridge opened and spent an average of 21.5 hours a day at the bridge.

Tuesday's closure came after group of about 100 bicyclists gathered on the bridge and a suspect shined a laser pointer into a Los Angeles Police Department officer's eye, authorities said.

The decision was made at 10:30 p.m. to close the $588-million bridge, which opened to the public on July 10.

The suspect fled the scene. The officer was treated at a hospital and released.

LAPD Chief Michel Moore told the city's Police Commission on Tuesday that officers issued more than 57 citations and impounded six vehicles over the previous four days.

Moore said the bridge has become known as a place where people come to "find their 15 minutes of fame" by climbing onto its infrastructure, interrupting traffic and posting demonstrations on social media.

The majority of illegal activity is being committed by people who are not from the surrounding community, according to Moore.

The incidents are "drawing finite resources, limited resources away from more pressing duties to ensure the safety of this location," Moore said.

The chief said preventive measures are in the works for the bridge, including possible installation of speed bumps. City officials have indicated that fencing is being considered to prevent people from climbing the archways that line the bridge, along with the installation of surveillance cameras.

City News Service contributed to this report.