The Los Angeles Police Department will conduct a traffic enforcement operation on the Sixth Street Bridge Sunday in the wake of a recent spate of illegal activity on the span — possibly shutting down the roadway for certain periods of time.
Sunday’s operation will be conducted from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m., and is intended “to ensure safe passage and movement along the bridge itself,” according to police.
“In order to maintain crowd safety, perimeter control and safe movement of participants, the bridge will be subject to closing and expeditiously reopening,” the LAPD said in a statement Friday.
The LAPD’s announcement of the operation came Friday, the same day L.A. City Councilman Kevin de LeÃ³n decried recent antics on the bridge — which have included people doing donuts in their cars, painting graffiti and even getting haircuts on the bridge.
De LeÃ³n — in whose district the bridge sits — called the antics “rude, inexcusable, immature, self-absorbed behavior,” and added, “We’re not going to allow a small group of individuals to taint the image of the city or the bridge itself.”
The bridge was closed Tuesday night “due to illegal activity and public safety concerns” — marking the fourth time in five nights police decided to close the $588 million span, which opened to the public on July 10 and connects Boyle Heights and the downtown Arts District.
A specific reason for Tuesday’s closure was not provided, but a series of four videos posted to Instagram showed a large group of bicyclists riding in traffic lanes before police, including a helicopter circling overhead, cleared and closed the bridge, the Los Angeles Times reported.
LAPD Chief Michel Moore told the Police Commission that police hoped to install speed bumps in hopes of deterring the “dangerous speed displays and exhibitions” on the bridge.
A center median and fencing to discourage people from scaling the archways could also be installed on a temporary basis, Moore said.
Police have issued more than 57 citations and impounded six vehicles during the past week, Moore said.
“We’re not going to arrest our way out of this,” Moore said. “Despite the hundreds of impounds and citations and arrests, we still see the proliferation of this. So I’m asking for the public’s help and support and assistance.”
Meanwhile, the L.A. City Council’s Public Works Committee, of which de LeÃ³n is a member, recommended Wednesday that the council approve $706,000 to remove graffiti and provide other maintenance on the bridge.
De LeÃ³n also introduced a motion Friday requesting that the city clarify its laws so that “it is clear what actions are illegal to do” on the bridge and that the city attorney prepare an urgent ordinance prohibiting activities such as street takeovers, drag racing and accessing areas outside the bridge’s fencing.
He requested that several city agencies, including the LAPD, report back with plans for staffing and resources for better security on the bridge.
The bridge opened to much fanfare, marking a key milestone in a construction project that began in 2016 to replace a 1932-vintage structure.