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Supporters of High Line concept hold wake for a historic LA River bridge

by Mike Sheehan and John Rabe | Off-Ramp®

Supporters of the old historic Riverside-Figueroa bridge gathered Sunday to pay their last respects. La City officials have refused to turn the old bridge into a park with bike and bike path, akin to New York's High Line. Mike Sheehan

A few months ago, I interviewed Tomas O'Grady about the effort to turn the old L.A. River bridge that links Figueroa Street and Riverside Drive into a park and bike path.

A new bridge is going up to replace it, and in fact is already being used by motorists. When the new bridge is done, the old bridge will be demolished.

The city of L.A. refused to save the old bridge, which has been deemed an historic monument, claiming it's too late and there isn't enough money, points O'Grady and others dispute. The city also refuses to mothball the old bridge until money could be found for the project.

(Tomas O'Grady standing on the new bridge in February; the old bridge was still being used at that point. Image: John Rabe)

On Sunday, Tom of Tom Explores LA organized a wake for the old bridge, and Off-Ramp sketch artist Mike Sheehan covered it for us.

RELATED: Mike Sheehan sketches DJ's and dinos at the Natural History Museum

Mike writes:

Tom brought flowers (it was a wake after all). Everyone showed up hung out, talked, and took their last looks at the bridge.

Whenever I go to things like this I find something else that jumps out at me.  Tom told me he had to put it together quick. It felt spontaneous in a cool way. No vendors, just people hanging out. This is one of the few times I saw people actually hanging out and talking and not looking at their phones. 

I realized how cool it would be if they just had little get-togethers like this just for fun.There are a lot of cool empty historical spaces that would be nice to make people aware of. 

At around 5:30 Tom and a few others said a few words and that was it. Trisha Gossett of Enrich LA invited everyone to Tom O'Grady's home for as she put it "a light dinner and lotsa wine." They had a toast to the bridge effort and consider it a victory even though the city didn't go with their plan. It does raise awareness for saving future historical structures, which is always a win.

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