Bridge Between DTLA Luxury Apartments Allows Residents To Avoid Their Homeless Neighbors


A pedestrian bridge will soon allow the residents of a downtown luxury apartment building to cross the street without having to see homeless people, which can be such a bummer when you're just trying to get from your unit to the 'private tanning room.'

Geoffrey H. Palmer's downtown Da Vinci apartment project (which really lists private tanning rooms as an amenity) has been trying to put the skybridge at 909 W. Temple St. for a month now.

Initially, the Central Area Planning Commission said no to the bridge, but the company filed an appeal and Councilman Jose Huizar went to bat persuading the rest of the council, L.A. Times reports.

Huizar believes the bridge has been falsely cast as an anti-homeless project, and that it's really just about letting the people who live in the Da Vinci project get around more easily. That totally makes sense, and it seems like that would have been a satisfactory enough argument for the bridge.

However, G.H. Palmer Associates specifically wrote in the paperwork they filed with the city that the bridge was meant to protect residents from "potential incidents that could occur during the evening hours when the homeless population is more active in the surrounding area."

Latham & Watkins, lawyers for Palmer's company, said in a May 9 letter to the city council that 3 to 4 crimes are happening in the area a day and that there is a homeless encampment nearby, City News Service reports. Recently, a drunk Zac Efron got punched in the face by a homeless man in the area. He had idiotically tossed a bottle out of the window of the car he was in when it ran out of gas, and the man thought Efron was targeting his group on purpose. So, it makes sense that downtown residents don't want to feel like they're in danger of being mugged or harassed, especially in an area that is somewhat isolated with little retail or pedestrian activity at night.

But this is precisely why some are arguing that the pedestrian bridges are a bad idea.

Will Wright, L.A. enthusiast and Director of Government and Public Affairs at the American Institute of Architecture, wrote his dissenting opinion in CityWatchLA:

I disagree that the area in question is an isolated area of Downtown.  It may feel that way at present because there is minimal pedestrian activity and minimal commercial activity at the street level.  However, all that can change.  How?  By not building the pedestrian bridge that once again will separate the residences from the sidewalk in an area that is desperate for more love, beauty and eyes on the street. In fact, installing this particular bridge will sound a death knell to the area before it's even given the chance revitalize itself. 

Instead of spending money on this bridge, the developer's resources should be applied towards improving the aesthetics and environmental performance of the streetscape so that the neighborhood becomes more inviting, enjoyable and commercially vibrant. 

Palmer has several Italian-themed projects along the 110 downtown. They're all big and insular, with fitness and luxury amenities, meaning that with a pedestrian bridge, residents might not have to leave very often. The buildings, which Curbed has noted all look like fortresses, may indeed become them.