The median age in Los Angeles is 39, but all it took was a new bridge for large swaths of the city to start behaving like six-year-olds.
The new landmark, connecting Downtown LA and Boyle Heights, was shut down for the fourth time in five days last week, just two weeks after its grand opening. That’s because crowds of people had repeatedly turned the viaduct into Partytown, USA.
Not a single day had gone by without dangerous antics on the Sixth Street Viaduct: speeding, racing, street takeovers, and people climbing on top of the arches to take photos, get haircuts, or get tattooed. Nightly bedlam has been draining LAPD resources, resulting in multiple closures.
Officials are now looking to come up with some serious childproofing. City Councilman Kevin de León has asked the council to approve $706,000 for cleanup and graffiti alone. This is a new bridge, mind you. It cost taxpayers $600 million to build.
De León also wants the city to clarify what is and isn’t allowed on the viaduct.
"I don't think that you consider and actually visualize or prepare for someone who was actually going to give a haircut or receive a haircut on the median in the middle of the bridge," de León said. "That's the height of absurdity. I don't know if that's what makes L.A. funky and cool and hip. With the good comes the bad and all that. But whoever would've thought that? In our wildest dreams."
What is it about the Sixth Street bridge that attracts such anarchy? Maybe it’s write-ups like this one, lionizing the barber who’s been snipping locks in the middle of the street for clicks.
This seems like a case study best left to sociologists and psychologists to analyze. Those of us without higher degrees in the study of the human condition will just call it what it is — an embarrassment for the City of Los Angeles.