Few projects have taken up more of our Council Office’s time than the 6th Street Bridge project. Around 2006, the Bureau of Engineering announced that due to a chemical reaction from the local cement that used when the original 6th Street bridge was built in 1932, the beautiful iconic bridge had a 70% chance of collapsing in a major earthquake.
It was a tremendous danger to the public’s safety and it had to come down. Initial designs presented to the community lacked the dazzling effect of the original and Councilmember Huizar, with community feedback, decided if we’re going to replace an iconic bridge, we needed to replace it with an equally iconic bridge. An International Design competition was launched and 2010 Michael Maltzan and HNTB were selected as the winning team.
Their design paid homage to the old design, with its swirling ribbon design where arches were previously, while also creating a unique identity of its own. One unique feature is 12 acres of park space on both sides of the river.
This new bridge is going to be more than a physical means to allow people to go from Point A to Point B, it is going to be a Point C. It will be a destination site in a way that physically just wasn’t possible with the original – where people who live on either side of the river, and visitors, can come to the new bridge and park and enjoy themselves.
While Councilmember Huizar wanted to build a park with plenty of amenities for residents to enjoy, unfortunately, there was no budget for the park space so he worked to secure $28 million to fill the park with activities and elements that the communities asked for, including soccer fields and basketball courts and an active park on the Boyle Heights side, and a relaxing Arts Plaza on the Arts District side.
The walkways on the bridge will be wide, and Councilmember Huizar fought to include protected bike lanes. Councilmember Huizar, a Complete Streets champion, wants the pedestrian and bicyclist experience to be as world-class as the automobile drivers.
The whole site will be a breathtaking and genuine only in Los Angeles experience that people are sure to enjoy. While Councilmember Huizar didn’t want the original to come down, this new bridge and park will offer a truly beautiful destination and and an incredible experience for all Angelenos to enjoy.