The Bridge Los Angeles Loves Too Much

A couple grinned at each other as they glided on bicycles across this city’s newest landmark

a glistening concrete bridge that connects the downtown arts district to the working class neighborhood of Boyle Heights.

A man wearing a suit rode an electric scooter down its length. Drivers reached out of their car windows to snap photos of the arches that form the Sixth Street Viaduct, as the bridge is officially known.

Six years after demolition began on its seismically unstable predecessor, the new Sixth Street Bridge opened earlier this month, and Angelenos love it. Maybe a little too much.

As my colleague Shawn Hubler and I reported this week, the long-awaited $588 million bridge has proved irresistible to Los Angeles residents, including all kinds of troublemakers.

Within 24 hours of the bridge’s celebratory opening, graffiti artists had tagged concrete surfaces.

Illegal street takeovers have covered the bridge’s pristine lanes in skid marks.

Skateboarders and climbers are trying to scale the arches. A barber even commandeered the median to give haircuts one evening.

The mischief has led Los Angeles police to repeatedly shut down the bridge.

The city is now considering installing speed bumps, a concrete median barrier and climbing deterrents.

On an afternoon in Boyle Heights this week, four police cars parked at the entrance to the bridge and officers poured out into the sidewalk.

Nearby, customers buying cut mango and pineapple from a fruit vendor gossiped about problems at the new viaduct, drawing arches in the air with their fingers.