There is a busy street just on the edge of downtown Los Angeles that is becoming well known. Not because of its manicured trees and landscaping, since there are very few trees. Not because of its high-end boutique shopping stores, since there are none.
Frankly, most people who live in Los Angeles probably never drove on it, unless they lived in downtown and wanted to go west via side streets.
This street is becoming known because a developer wants to build a bridge over it, in order to connect two high-end apartment buildings that straddle both sides of the road. A road that has potholes, dirty sidewalks, graffiti, and... yes, people who are homeless.
The developer told city leaders that he needed the bridge to protect his residents from the homeless people below. His explanation sounded like Donald Sterling's rants of bigotry, except instead of race he was blasting people with very low socio-economic status.
Advocates for the homeless pounced. Build a bridge over a road just so his snooty residents don't have to walk over impoverished people on the streets? Are L.A.'s avenues so bad that developers are in need of building structures that bridge over these troubled roadways?
Well, if shopping mall developers can erect enclosed bridges over streets that divide mall buildings, why not a bridge that connects two apartment buildings?
In a way, freeways that crisscross through impoverished parts of town are just like these exclusive bridges. They prevent middle-class America from having to commute through "dangerous" local streets to get to their destination.
However, unlike this politically incorrect developer, most builders don't use bigotry against the poor as an excuse to build an exclusive gated community, a freeway through the wrong side of town, or... a bridge over an urban road.
But whether they voice their prejudice or not, are builders of bridges over streets infested with homelessness, of gated residential communities that keep out everyone except those who can afford their expensive castles, and of freeways traversing impoverished neighborhoods rooted in discrimination?
I know one thing for sure. That bridge between two apartment buildings over that L.A. street will provide a perfect bad-weather shelter for people living on the streets.
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