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Route 66 News

Proposal may preserve Riverside-Figueroa Bridge

The historic Riverside-Figueroa Bridge, slated for destruction next year to make way for a new bridge, may earn a reprieve because of a new proposal, reported The Eastsider.

On Thursday, the city’s Cultural Heritage Commission voted to ask the city’s Bureau of Engineering to respond to a proposal by some Elysian Valley architects to put the demolition  on hold to see if the bridge, a city historic landmark, can be preserved and used for public space, perhaps in the form of an elevated park above the river.

“If there is a opportunity to retain it, we certainly want to consider it,” said commissioner  Tara Jones Hamacher. “There is no rush to demo the bridge.” […]

The bridge overlooks the confluence of the Los Angeles River and Arroyo Seco and it’s location could serve as a crossroads for bike and pedestrian pathways connecting Elysian Valley, downtown Los Angeles and Elysian Park.  In New York,  The High Line project turned train bridges running above the streets of Manhattan into elevated parks and public spaces. Why can’t the old Riverside-Figueroa bridge be saved to serve the same purpose, the architects ask.

Longtime Los Angeles County roadie Scott Piotrowski commented on the story:

It’s use as a portion of Route 66 at the only location in the nation where Route 66 crosses itself perpendicularly TWICE should be considered as part of its historical importance. Further improvements to the LA River and Arroyo Seco Channel at Confluence Park could make the use of this as extended park space quite interesting. I’d be very inclined to hear further ideas on this. (And as the father of a 3.5 year old son that loves trains, sitting on that bridge watching Route 66, Metrolink / Amtrak, and Gold Line all at one spot seems quite interesting and entertaining for us, especially so close to the only remaining vehicle tunnels anywhere along Route 66!)

Architects acknowledged the idea to keep the bridge while building a new bridge very close to it is a long shot. But the fact the city actually is considering it at this late juncture seems encouraging.

According to a website about the Los Angeles River and other sources, the bridge initially was built in 1927, then mostly rebuilt in 1939 after a landslide heavily damaged it.

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