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A Bevy of Bridges

August 04, 1996|Suzy Beal

Most Whimsical

Shakespeare Bridge

An intimate structure, with faux-Gothic arches and towers, it spans an earthquake fault and links Los Feliz with Silver Lake. A Disneyolithic fossil--it was built in 1926--that hints of the fairy-tale architecture in the hills beyond. Walk or drive across.

3900-4100 Franklin Ave., between Myra Avenue and St. George Street.


Most Noisy

Los Angeles River Footbridge

A crossing in two parts: First, a metal mesh tunnel over the clangor of the 5 Freeway, then a narrow, bouncy open-air arch over the Los Angeles River .

Griffith Park Recreation Center, Riverside Drive and Los Feliz Boulevard. Follow footpath behind tennis courts, past soccer field.


Most Expensive

Vincent Thomas Bridge

Etched against the sky overlooking the industrial splendor of the San Pedro shipyards, a sewage plant and a federal prison, the gateway to Terminal Island is the monster bridge of them all. You're free to come, but you have to pay 25 cents to leave.

Terminal Island Freeway; exit from Harbor Freeway.


Most Zen

Duck Island Bridge

A Chinese-red footbridge--a gentle, inverted "V"--perched above the algaed languor of Echo Park Lake. Kept gated except for events like the Lotus Festival, when Duck Island becomes "Flower Island." You can only contemplate it, not use it.

Park Avenue and Logan Street.


Most Majestic

Glendale/Hyperion Viaduct

An immense, sloping concrete S curve that connects Silver Lake to Atwater Village and spans the Golden State Freeway and Los Angeles River. Completed in 1929, it is a miracle of solemnity, graced with octagonal turrets and inset benches. The north descent provides a surprising view of Forest Lawn and the San Gabriel Mountains.

Accessed from Hyperion Avenue at Rowena Avenue, or Glendale Boulevard at Glenfeliz Boulevard.


Most Haunting

Colorado Street Bridge

Built in 1913, with vistas of Pasadena's Arroyo Seco. Gives no hint of the impossibly huge and gloomy arches below or the many jumpers who earned it the nickname "Suicide Bridge." Driving across gives the uncanny feeling of piloting a rattling Model T. Must be those tight curves from an 18-mph era.

Colorado Boulevard between Orange Grove Boulevard and La Loma Road.


Most Vestigial

Century City Pedestrian Span

Pedestrian in every sense, this monument to indifferent futurism is people-less as a rule, probably because Century City's hordes prefer to scuttle across Avenue of the Stars via the nearby tunnel. But then, an unused pedestrian bridge is emblematic of an auto-obsessed development--the shopping and office center that was a movie lot that was an Indian village.

Avenue of the Stars between Santa Monica and Constellation boulevards.

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