Sixth Street Viaduct during official opening ceremony. Photo by Pablo de la Hoya

An ordinance prohibiting drag racing, climbing on the arches, tagging with graffiti or stopping on the bridge are among solutions included in a motion introduced Friday by Councilmember Kevin de León, to address the growing number of social-media friendly antics taking place daily on the less-than-a-month-old Sixth Street Viaduct.

The measures, De León’s staff said in a press release, are intended “to protect LA’s newest monument and keep it safe for the public to enjoy.”

De León spoke about the bridge problem to reporters at City Hall on Friday:

Councilman Kevin de León at Sixth Street Viaduct opening. Photo by @lataino

 “We’re not going to allow a small group of individuals to taint the image of the city or the bridge itself.

Ninety-nine percent of the folks who have experienced that bridge love that bridge. “It fills them with a sense of pride. They are over the moon on this bridge right here.”

Kevin de León

For the other one percent, the motion being considered by the City Council will ask several city departments to “report back on the resources necessary to improve safety and deter illegal activities along the Sixth Street Bridge.”

Among directives included in the measure: 

  • The Bureau of Engineering to report on the resources and timeline to install cameras, fencing, signage, and traffic control mitigations to increase public safety.
  • LAPD and the Department of Transportation to report on the resources required to keep traffic on the bridge safely flowing.
  • Recreation & Parks and LAPD, along with the  Bureau of Sanitation, to report back on a long-term plan for security, staffing, and maintenance of the upcoming Sixth Street Viaduct PARC.

The city would also look into the possibility of closing the bridge periodically to vehicular traffic, as was suggested recently in a Los Angeles Times editorial and by other media commentators.

Police presence and enforcement measures have increased on the $588 million, less-than-a-mile-long span since it opened earlier this month. 

On Friday, the Los Angeles Police Department said that it would conduct an eight-hour traffic enforcement operation on the bridge, from 2 to 10 pm. The operation, the police said, is intended to “ensure safe passage and movement along the bridge itself” and its mission is to “deter criminal activity ,arrest law violators, and conduct criminal investigations.”

The operation could include the opening and “expeditiously” reopening of the landmark viaduct.

Full text of the LAPD announcement:

Sunday, July 31

Traffic and Pedestrian Enforcement from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. on the 6th Street Viaduct

Los Angeles: Due to recent illegal activity and various safety concerns occurring on the 6th Street Viaduct, the Los Angeles Police Department’s Operations Central Bureau will be conducting a traffic enforcement operation to ensure safe passage and movement along the bridge itself.

The mission of the operation is to deter criminal activity, arrest law violators, and conduct criminal investigations along the bridge. In order to maintain crowd safety, perimeter control, and safe movement of participants, the bridge will be subject to closing and expeditiously reopening. During the operation, the Department will remain committed to defending the constitutional right to free speech and lawful public assembly.

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Antonio Mejías-Rentas

Antonio Mejías-Rentas is a Senior Editor at Boyle Heights Beat, where he mentors teenage journalists, manages the organization’s website and covers local issues. A veteran bilingual journalist, he's...

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