DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES – There’s a somewhat hidden atrium beneath the street surface of the Seventh Street bridge that for decades has been the provenance only of graffiti artists and the homeless.
But if a new plan circulating at City Hall takes root, the space would be transformed into some kind off public gathering spot, potentially with eateries and other vendors.
Fourteenth District City Councilman recently introduced a motion directing various city departments to study the feasibility of revitalizing the un-used space.
The concept stems primarily form the mind of architect and Los Angeles River enthusiast Arthur Golding, who partnered with the nonprofit L.A River Revitalization Corp. to bring the proposal to Huizar.
“What I’ve imagined is a festival marketplace and I think it’s very important that it’s a public space that’s available to all,” Golding said.
The atrium was created in 1925, 15 years after the bridge was constructed. The original bridge was level with the ground, and it was later raised to allow trains to pass underneath. The at-grade portion of the bridge that crossed the river remained in tact, resulting in an atrium between the original platform and the elevated road structure, said Huizar spokesman Rick Coca.
It remains uncertain what kind of use would work in the space. City engineers will ultimately need to confirm that the space can handle an additional load, a likely scenario given that the structure was treated to a major seismic upgrade in 1995, Coca said.
Huizar’s motion, which was introduced to the Ad-hoc River Committee, is slated for so-far unscheduled hearings in the Public Works and Information Technology and General Services committees. The plans timeline is uncertain.