Politics, government and public life for Southern California

LA City Council approves controversial pedestrian bridge for downtown development

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A pedestrian bridge that will connect two apartment buildings in downtown Los Angeles was approved Friday by the L.A. City Council over the objections of planning officials who said the bridge will not fit in with the neighborhood. 

The bridge will connect the two buildings known as Da Vinci, located on Temple Street in the elbow created by the Harbor (110) and Hollywood (101) freeways. In documents submitted to the city, attorneys for the project's developer argued the bridge was a matter of safety.

RELATED: Downtown LA developer wants pedestrian bridge to avoid homeless

"The area surrounding the project site (and the tunnel under the 110 freeway) are often congregating places for homeless persons," wrote attorney Duncan Joseph Moore for Latham & Watkins. "In addition, within a one-mile radius of the project site crimes are occurring  at an average of three to four crimes per day." 

A map of the project:

But the council's  approval of the bridge came over the objections of city planners and the Central Area Planning Commission. 

"Pedestrian bridges just don't facilitate the kind of activity that we're hoping to bring downtown," City Planner Patricia Diefrenderfer told KPCC's AirTalk. 

"Creating an active street environment really requires careful design of buildings. A lot of consideration has to be given to the orientation of the building to the street so we certainly don't want to see this become a regular occurrence."

Ultimately the councilman for the area, Jose Huizar, and his colleagues sided with the developer. 

"It's not really a homeless issue in terms of why this pedestrian bridge is being built," Huizar said. "It's simply for internal circulation amongst this development." 

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