There’s a growing movement to turn the last steel bridge in Los Angeles into a park. The Figueroa Bridge stands a bit north of downtown, in the shadow of Dodger Stadium, where a tangle of roads runs above busy thoroughfares below: active train tracks, and two rivers below.
Workmen are wrestling rebar here as they put the finishing touches on a new overpass. The land-marked last steel bridge is scheduled to be torn down. Not, however, if Ezra Horne can help it.
“This would be better served as a park because it won’t serve anyone when it’s gone,” he told me. “This is several acres of land and it’s kind of like plowing it into the sea, to demolish it.”
Plans have been drawn up by architects and presented to the city as an alternative to demolition, kind of the way New York City did with some old train tracks that have been converted into the sensation known as the High Line. Ezra says the LA version would be very different.
“The High Line is in a densely populated urban core. This is in a really odd like dead zone,” he said as trains ambled by below. “I think that’s the beautiful thing about it. It’s just a unique space.”
To make their point, Ezra and other supporters dragged tables and chairs onto the bridge a few weeks ago to make a pop-up park.
“There’s a lots of potential in our city to make things just awesome,” Ezra said. “It could happen and maybe it won’t but I think it’s important that people see and think about those kind of ideas.”