Who Killed the L.A. River Bike Path Lights?

http://blogging.la/archives/images/2007/10/deadlights-thumb.jpgFor weeks now, someone’s been sabotaging the streetlighting systems along the L.A. River Bike Path.

One by one, the damn things started going dark. As of this morning (see right) the entire damn path was pitch black at dawn.

Cyclists without headlamps can crash, pedestrians can get jumped in the dark. Before long, I figured out what was happening. (More evidence of systematic tampering after the jump) But who’s doing it – and what the hell for? …

Someone’s opening up the service hatches at the base of the streetlamps … http://blogging.la/archives/images/2007/10/hatch3-thumb.jpg

yanking the wires out into the open and disconnecting them …

http://blogging.la/archives/images/2007/10/hatch2-thumb.jpg

It’s hard to tell without risking electrocution whether these are still live, but you have to wonder – is the city open to liability suits here if some kid touches them and arcs out? …

http://blogging.la/archives/images/2007/10/hatch1-thumb.jpg

If a cyclist rides over a half-closed hatch or one of these makeshift hatch-handles – and does a faceplant?

And finally, the big question is: Bums or taggers?

The amount of tagging along the path has gone up dramatically since the lights started failing – particularly under the Colorado Street overpass, which used to be kept pretty clean.

But there’s also a growing colony of homeless dudes living between the path and the freeway behind a wrecked cyclone fence. You can see them spraypainting stolen bikes in the river bottom – and there’s plenty of this sort of action:

http://blogging.la/archives/images/2007/10/40-thumb.jpg

Whoever’s in charge oughta get a jump on this, wire things up again and this time screw down the damn lids with something a little more vandal-proof than hex bolts.

I invite all you bike path users to email this URL to Tom LaBonge’s office along with a hearty “WTF???”

12 Replies to “Who Killed the L.A. River Bike Path Lights?”

  1. Don’t forget homeowners and NIMBYs as potential culprits. I have a lot of trouble keeping our exterior lights on up at Angels Gate because one or two individuals go around unscrewing the light bulbs on exterior lights because they like the park dark and they see all exterior night lighting as yet another form of urban light pollution.

    It wouldn’t surprise me if there’s some grumpy homeowner who’s taken things into his/her own hand because some light shines in their bedroom window.

  2. Not likely – the only neighbors lining the L.A. River path are the industrial parks of Glendale and the blue herons in the riverbed.

    And the bums. The … I guess … NIMBY bums.

  3. Yikes. We all noticed that the lights were out while riding on Wednesday, but didn’t see that they were actually vandalized. It definitely feels about 1,000% less safe with the lights out.

  4. Wasn’t there an article in the Times recently about copper wire thefts? It is very likely that this is what is going on. I wonder if access panel locks are a viable option?

  5. I wonder if there’s any connection (or disconnection) with the lighting being knocked out for months just down the 5 freeway at the 110 interchange [working again as of two weeks ago] and the East LA freeway interchange (the 5/101/60 freeway). Entire area darkened by non-functioning street lights. Those underpasses are also very popular aerosol zones.

  6. Assuming this is in the City of LA, you can report problems like these to the Bureau of Street Lighting, by submitting a simple web-based Street Lighting Service Request Form,

    Or just call 311 and tell them. Whichever’s simplest for you.

    They’re especially anxious to hear about dangling wires and opened service covers, but they’re pretty quick to respond to almost any street-lighting problem, in my experience.

  7. Hey, thanks for the URL. I filled out the form quickly. Hope the city gets to this before too long. Someone’s gonna get hurt.

  8. Take a cue from a Portlander (currently living in LA but will never claim LA as a hometown) —

    All safe and responsible bicyclists should have lights (front & back) not only for their own safety but for the safety of others as well.

    The sun is a nice trade-off for the rain, but I’ll take a bike-friendly city over this any day!

  9. I’m with Kendyl, it’s most likely copper wire theft. The dramatic increase in metal prices in the last few years has made stealing copper, brass, etc very lucrative for some people. Probably some clucks pulling out the wire late at night, then selling it to the scrap yard. At $3 per lb. all that copper could buy those clucks at least a week worth of crack.

  10. Well uh…get that fixed somebody huh??? this just pertains to the last pic.

    A good pal of mine considers himself an intellectual and walks around like an eliteist. He doesn’t drink much because it messes with his stomach. But the other day he tells me his favorite beer his Miller High Life. I start howling but relate that every once in a while I’ll hit the liquor store and for the hell of it will pick up a tall boy of MHL. But the last time it was really gross. Tasted like it came out of a sock.

    He was aghast and feverishly defended his fav. “It wins numerous awards.” Oh man…some people believe everything they read . Too funny.

  11. i did a little doc on the issue of homelessness on the river that was posted here by spencer a while back , and the guy i interviewed down there, named deli, he told me that it was the gang members who hang out around there that were doing the wire theft. also, the reason the homelessness is more visible now is that people have come up from the river for the winter, cause flooding makes it dangerous to be in the channel this time of year.

  12. i did a little doc on the issue of homelessness on the river that was posted here by spencer a while back http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLZGy3d_N98 , and the guy i interviewed down there, named deli, he told me that it was the gang members who hang out around there that were doing the wire theft. also, the reason the homelessness is more visible now is that people have come up from the river for the winter, cause flooding makes it dangerous to be in the channel this time of year.

Comments are closed.