Los Angeles Times

Built like a drag strip, used like a drag strip


Those of us who get around on bike or foot had some idea of what would happen once the 6th Street Viaduct opened to car traffic. Few of us, though, could foresee how dramatical­ly the bridge would be misused.

In the days after the festivitie­s for the photogenic span between the downtown Arts District and Boyle Heights died down, the inevitable happened to any long, uninterrup­ted stretch of concrete taken over by cars: It was turned into a drag strip. And those plastic bollards “protecting” the bikes lanes — who knew they wouldn’t deflect several thousand pounds of speeding metal and glass? (Hint: Ask as a cyclist.)

So far, readers have responded to the pictures of car wreckage and graffiti on the most celebrated piece of infrastruc­ture to open here in years with the outrage one would expect. Most have suggested increased law enforcemen­t or deterrence measures as solutions. As someone whose preferred methods of using public streets don’t involve cars, I humbly offer my take: How we design roads is paramount. You can have lower speed limits and all the safety warnings you want, but a four-lane roadway with no traffic signals and essentiall­y unprotecte­d bike lanes is about as welcoming to a cyclist as a runway.

— PAUL THORNTON, letters editor This is why we can’t have nice things.

LIA ENG Aliso Viejo

Whatever happened to “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”? Surely the planners and engineers who created the new 6th Street bridge could have foreseen and prevented at least some of the problems described in your reporting.

It isn’t too late to prevent more trouble. Dissuade dangerous behavior by adding a corrugated texture to the surface of the huge arches that beckon skateboard­ers. Create a center divider — movable, if necessary, for temporary adjustment­s for traffic needs — and the “doughnut” drivers will have nowhere to swirl.

I have no expertise in city planning or transporta­tion engineerin­g. But as a lifelong resident who cares about humans and this city, I can see reasonable fixes for these problems. Surely the experts could have figured them out sooner.


Culver City

The recordings of the car burnouts on the new 6th Street bridge are disgusting.

I think that eliminatin­g this juvenile and perhaps deadly antic requires passing legislatio­n to identify these cars, arrest the owners, confiscate the vehicles and auction them off.

No exceptions. This has to stop.



The headline and subhead in the print edition imply that the writers of the piece are compliant and honored that street racers, taggers and more leave their mark (of vandalism) on the new bridge.

L.A.’s “finishing touch” is not about people making meaning out of public spaces, or about the ecosystem making its imprint. It’s about the desecratio­n of public property by miscreants who have no respect for the law and think that public spaces are theirs to destroy.

The $588-million bridge took six years to construct and opened just this month — then, you described it as “an iconic space to gather and to celebrate the city.” Now, the bridge has been vandalized and dishonored. It’s disgracefu­l and depressing.


I have a simple solution to the problem of street “takeovers” by performanc­e drivers and racers. Simply put into place a law that mandates the first time is the only time for that particular vehicle if caught doing this type of activity, because the vehicle (including motorcycle­s) will be crushed.

No more giving it back to the offender after paying fines, or seizing it and selling it at auction to some other antisocial idiot. Destroy each and every one of these vehicles. That will soon put an end to the problem.


Mar Vista

Slowing down street racers will involve several factors. Perhaps one of them would be to have carmakers, especially Dodge, volunteer to stop showing commercial­s with their high-powered vehicles burning rubber. Just a thought.



Once again our city planners and leaders show remarkable ignorance or indifferen­ce to the obvious.

Racing, graffiti and skateboard abuse of city facilities are old issues, but in another amazing example of lack of insight, it seems that no one planned on any of that happening on this bridge. These are all normal design considerat­ions for a project not being led by a daydreamer architect and an out-of-touch City Council.

I am sure they are all “shocked” to see this new icon mistreated, just like they are all “shocked” that the animal shelters are overflowin­g and that thousands of homeless people remain unhoused. We deserve better from them.



 ?? MYUNG J. CHUN Los Angeles Times ?? DEBRIS from a street takeover crash obstructs a bike lane on the new 6th Street Viaduct this week.
MYUNG J. CHUN Los Angeles Times DEBRIS from a street takeover crash obstructs a bike lane on the new 6th Street Viaduct this week.

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