Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Action Alert -- N. Spring Street Bridge in Jeopardy

Historic North Spring Street Bridge Needs YOUR Help!
Action Alert:
On Wednesday, June 2, Lewis MacAdams spoke in front of the Public Works Commissioners for the City of Los Angeles in opposition of  the North Spring Street Bridge widening project.  Unfortunately all but one Commissioner, Paula Daniels, voted in favor of the project.

The end is near for the historic North Spring St. Bridge – this is probably your last chance to support its preservation

Public Hearing Wednesday, June 9
Please attend and/or write to show your support
What: L.A. City Council Transportation Committee Meeting
Date: Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Time: Arrive by 2 p.m.
Location: Los Angeles City Hall, 200 N. Spring St., Room 1010, Los Angeles, CA  90012
Valid photo I.D. required for entry
Parking: Los Angeles Mall (enter from N. Los Angeles Street between Aliso and Temple)

Please submit written comments to:
Councilmember Bill Rosendahl, Chair
Transportation Committee
Attn: John A. White, Legislative Assistant
Email: john.white@lacity.org
Please send a copy to Karina Muniz, the Conservancy's Community Outreach Coordinator, at kmuniz@laconservancy.org
What's at Stake?
As you know, the city's Bureau of Engineering (BOE) is rushing to approve a project that would destroy the 1929 North Spring Street Viaduct, a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument and one of the iconic bridges spanning the Los Angeles River. The project would nearly double the bridge's width, strip away all historic ornamentation, and eliminate its eligibility as a local landmark
After years of inaction, the BOE is now scrambling for quick approval of this project in order to qualify for $5 million in state funds. 
The Conservancy has been pushing for an alternative that would retrofit the historic bridge and construct a separate pedestrian-cyclist bridge alongside it.  The Conservancy, the Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission, and residents from communities on both sides of the river are protesting the project. Yet our voices have been largely excluded from the planning process.
Thanks to everyone who wrote to the Board of Public Works or attended last week's meeting. Unfortunately, the board approved the BOE's project, bringing the bridge one step closer to destruction.
If you've ever wanted to speak out in support of the historic bridges of the Los Angeles River, now is the time. Please attend the City Council Transportation Committee meeting this Wednesday, June 9 to voice your opposition to the project.  
This hearing is the public's last opportunity to voice opposition to the project before the full City Council vote next week – and there is no guarantee that the City Council will allow public comment.
It will be critical to have a large turnout of supporters, so please attend if at all possible.
We encourage you to state your personal opinion in addition to, or instead of, these points. If you have any questions, please contact Mike Buhler, the Conservancy's director of advocacy, at mbuhler@laconservancy.org or (213) 430-4203.
Talking Points
1)  You can't put a price tag on our heritage.  After years of inaction, the BOE is now scrambling for approval of its plan in order to qualify for $5 million in state funds.  Certainly, our heritage is worth more than that! 
2)  The BOE has never seriously considered an alternative to ruining the bridge. The environmental impact report for the project does not consider a single alternative that would maintain the bridge's status as a Historic-Cultural Monument.  With several historic Los Angeles River bridges slated for widening or replacement, we need to take a stand now, for today and for future generations. 
3)  Building a separate pedestrian-cyclist bridge alongside the viaduct would meet the project goals, enhance safety, and provide greater connectivity.  And the BOE is already doing just that with another historic bridge.
Pedestrian and bicycle access can be provided with a stand-alone bridge alongside the North Spring Street Viaduct.  The BOE says it's not possible, even though it plans to build a pedestrian bridge next to historic Riverside-Zoo Drive Bridge.
A pedestrian-cyclist bridge would provide greater safety for children, adults, and cyclists crossing the river by separating them from vehicular traffic.
The city recently acquired six acres on the Los Angeles River next to Downey Park in Lincoln Heights. The property is slated to become a park to serve the Lincoln Heights community.  A stand-alone pedestrian-cyclist bridge could connect directly to this park, enhancing connectivity for communities in Lincoln Heights and William Mead Housing. For more information, visit the Albion Park Project website.
More Information:  Los Angeles Conservancy
Address postal inquiries to:
Friends of the Los Angeles River
570 W. Ave 26, Ste. 250
Los Angeles, CA 90065-1047
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