The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Los Angeles:
A New 6th Street Bridge Opens

Aug 15, 2022

In July, L.A. city authorities unveiled the new, $558 million dollar 6th Street Bridge with much fanfare in a two-day celebration. The bridge, which spans three-quarters of a mile, connects East Los Angeles working class neighborhoods with the very expensive Arts District in downtown Los Angeles. The architects gave the bridge a striking artistic design, a lower-level pedestrian walkway, and several green spaces underneath.

The new bridge is the largest infrastructure built by the City of Los Angeles in the last 30 years, and it is expected to help real estate developers accelerate gentrification. The bridge is also expected to be heavily used as a location for Hollywood movies, TV commercials and musical videos. The old bridge that it replaces was always a favorite location for the entertainment media. Since the new bridge’s opening, one newspaper article proclaimed, “Hollywood got its favorite filming location back.”

After the new bridge opened, there were several reports of street takeovers, drag racing, and people climbing on the bridge, which were widely denounced by city officials and the news media. The police even shut down the bridge for four straight days for what they called illegal activity.

But what is missed in all these reports have been the huge crowds of ordinary people drawn to the bridge during all times of day and night, carrying out all kinds of activities, including parties and celebrations. This is because the bridge is one of the few well-lit public spaces for people to gather and enjoy themselves. According to the Trust for Public Land, Los Angeles ranks as one of the lowest in the country for public space. The surrounding area around the bridge is particularly bad. For example, East L.A., with a population of over 120,000, has only seven parks. Nearly half of the residents are not within walking distance of a park. This doesn’t even account for the size of the parks. With the exception of one, they are the size of one city block. And the parks themselves are run down, fenced off, and closed after dark.

The recent events at the 6th Street Bridge highlight the lack of any well-maintained and lit places for people to enjoy because big companies use all possible spaces for making profit.