In downtown Los Angeles, elevated pedestrian walkways — called pedways — slice the air between tall buildings on Bunker Hill, like a 1970s vision of a future metropolis. That's exactly what they were intended to be — the first phase of what would become a mechanized people mover. Those plans were abandoned long ago, but the existing 10 pedways have something of a cult following among the residents, office workers, bike messengers and high schoolers who traverse them. Yet as beloved as they are, the pedways are something of a stepchild when it comes to getting the resources and funds to erase graffiti and repair smashed lights and guard against future vandalism.
This is hardly the worst infrastructure problem in a city of broken sidewalks, rutted streets and homeless encampments. But it seems ironic — even unfair — that city officials and civic boosters who are constantly exhorting us to get out of our cars and who are painting miles of bike lanes and guiding urban hikes through quirky neighborhoods would ignore these long-standing walkways. The pedways, a part of the history of downtown, deserve, at least, the attention of local politicians and businesspeople, who should work to find a creative solution.