By Dakota Smith, October 24, 2013
Transportation officials agreed Thursday to increase funding for a pedestrian bridge near Universal City.
Metropolitan Transportation Authority board approved a plan for a $27
million bridge to span Lankershim Boulevard. Construction and design
bids for the bridge, originally priced at $19.5 million, came in higher
than expected, Metro officials said.
The planned three-cornered walkway across Lankershim and Universal Hollywood Drive won MTA approval last year.
project angers some transit groups, who argue the bridge caters to cars
because the walkway removes pedestrians from the busy intersections.
Other groups say a tunnel under Lankershim is preferable.
In voting for the funding, Los Angeles City Councilman and board
member Paul Krekorian called for landscaping around the bridge to “help
soften” the modern appearance of structure.
The MTA board action
on the bridge was one of the first controversial votes under Mayor Eric
Garcetti, who recently unveiled a plan to revitalize L.A.’s streets and
emphasized creating more walkable neighborhoods.
The mayor was
absent from the bridge vote, Metro spokesman Dave Sotero said. Garcetti
spokeswoman Vicki Curry said the mayor had a conflict of interest and so
couldn’t vote on the item.