Los Angeles News

Restrictions along space shuttle Endeavour route

Friday, October 05, 2012

Many people near the route of the space shuttle are disappointed at the new restrictions on public viewing. There will be only a few places where large numbers of spectators can watch as Endeavour is moved from Los Angeles International Airport to Exposition Park starting next Friday.

Getting a street ready for a 165,000-pound space shuttle takes a lot of preparation. Crews are still laying down 2,600 metal plates along the route to protect underground utilities.

But patience is being depleted. Many people who live near the shuttle route are angry to learn they not be allowed to watch Endeavour roll through their neighborhood.

"Very upset because it stops the community from coming out," said South Los Angeles resident Clarence Bragg. "It's a historical thing. Everybody wants to see it, be there, instead of being pushed away from it."

The LAPD says most of the shuttle's street route will be closed to the public for safety reasons.

Crews will be removing power lines and streetlights. Plus officials say most spots just aren't wide enough for the shuttle and crowds.

"I'm going to watch it, I want to see it. I would like to see it," said Kayshia Hall, who lives just off Martin Luther King Boulevard, part of the shuttle route. But police say MLK Blvd. will be one of the sections closed to the public. "I never knew that," she said.

The shuttle's 12-mile trek will begin at 2 a.m. Friday, as it leaves LAX it will wind its way across streets like Manchester, Crenshaw and MLK en route to the California Science Center.

LAPD says a number of viewing areas are set up along the route so people can get a great look at the shuttle. One recommended site is The Forum in Inglewood where thousands can park for free. They're also pointing shuttle watchers to Inglewood City Hall and the parking lots at MLK Blvd. and Bill Robertson Lane. A celebration is also being planned at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza, but LAPD says space is limited there. Some worry all of the viewing spots will be packed.

Randy's Donuts on Manchester may appear to be excited about Endeavour's trip with a new "mini-shuttle" adorning the famous donut on the roof. But the owners are frustrated.

"I'll be out of business for a day and a half," said Ron Weintraub, Randy's owner. They just learned that few if any customers will be allowed in the shop.

"If they're not going to have anybody on the street, I don't think, so who's going to come and buy donuts?" said Weintraub.

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space shuttle, nasa, los angeles news, rob hayes
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