Sixth Street Bridge


A FEW months back the city of L.A. announced a contest to re-design the ailing Sixth Street Bridge. The span — a viaduct — connects downtown Los Angeles to Boyle Heights. Constructed in 1932, it is arguably the most famous of the L.A. river bridges. Built by an L.A. civil engineer, Merrill Butler, the bridge in recent years has been diagnosed with various structural maladies and the city has set plans for replacement in motion.

Every time I see it from a distance, I try to hold it in my imagination, as the new bridge, it was decided, will look like this

The view from across the span last week…



9 thoughts on “Sixth Street Bridge

  1. having no memories of the bridge from back in the day, fond or otherwise, i nonetheless find the new design sterile in a style i think of as “wide-open urbantopia.” LA is fond of disregarding its past and building anew, but the winning design has me quizzling: is that open space beneath the bridge already used as a park, or is that some fanciful if-you-build-it-they-will-come hope? were neighborhoods consulted *before* the design to ask about public usage?

    this is one of those opportunities where i think city dwellers (and their duly elected minders) could use a serious dose of new thinking about urban planning. far too often politicians come up with solution before actually studying the problem (hello, public transit). it’s not the same thing, but i’m thinking about the high line in nyc (yes, yes, we don’t care how they do things in ny. bear with me). repurposing the disused and elevated space, reclaiming it really, to turn into a greenway ended up revitalizing the neighborhoods beneath. cities and their infrastructure are coming to that point where these decisions will be happening more frequently, but the standard answer of tear-it-down-and rebuild-it fails in one major regard:

    often what is needed is not what was there in the first place. let the people build their city.

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