The Return of LAPotholes

Welcome back, LAPotholes.

It’s been two years since my last post here — not because the streets in Los Angeles have gotten better and all potholes are repaired instantly, but because the site was hacked. Hacked so bad, in fact, that I couldn’t even log-in to repair it — and the cost of professional help was, at that time, exorbitant. But things have changed and now, after COVID, I discovered a way to repair the site and then protect it myself at a very reasonable cost. So we’re back!

There’s a residential street  near the Hollywood Bowl that traverses one of the Bowl’s parking lots, with a pothole  just outside the driveway that was driving me nuts. I don’t live near there — but visit a friend in the area — and I wondered why no-one ever contacted the Bureau of Street Services to have it repaired. I guess sometimes we’re just too lazy or we figure someone else will do it.

Well, I finally filed an online service request and within 24 hours the pothole was fixed — but it was the wrong one! I had given very explicit instructions on where the pothole was located, but the crew went to another pothole around the corner, on Highland.

 

I filed the form again and, this time, they got it right. So there’s hope yet for all those unfilled potholes around the city,

Next up: street resurfacing.

There’s so many bad streets in LA., I wondered why, in my neighborhood, the city was resurfacing a street that had been resurfaced two years ago. Not only that, but the workers left much to be desired in terms of work habits — one morning they started at 6:30 am and another they damaged a street sign. See my email to Adel H. Hagekhalil, Executive Director, the Department of Public Works, Bureau of Street Surfaces:

1) This part of Hawthorn Avenue — between Gardner and Vista – was repaved a couple of years ago. I don’t know if this go-round was a “slurry seal” but the crews were here several days and the street was torn up and then re-asphalted.

2) A crew came by at 6:30 in the morning (6:30am in a residential neighborhood!) to take away their heavy equipment. It was a rude awakening.

3) One of my neighbors said that one of your crew members backed into a street sign and just left it on the sidewalk (see attached photo).

I have lived here all my life and the streets have just gotten BAD and WORSE — especially in Hollywood. Have you driven south on Highland Ave. from Sunset Blvd. to Melrose? Or North on Fairfax Avenue from Melrose to Fountain (this stretch might be in West Hollywood). Or North on Highland from Melrose to Franklin? Parts of La Brea between Melrose and Fountain are terrible — but South of Beverly it is fine. Try driving Wilcox North between Hollywood Blvd. and Franklin. Parts of Santa Monica Blvd. east of La Brea are murderous. Vine and Cahuenga south of Franklin rattle your teeth. That’s just a sampling. It’s been like this for years.

Another thing I’ve noted: Whenever a new house or apartment complex or mixed use complex is built, the streets nearby get destroyed by construction trucks. In particular, when trenches are dug for gas and water connections, the holes are never properly filled. Doesn’t the city have some provision whereby developers must return a street to its original condition?

Here’s his response:

Thank you for reaching out and explaining. My staff have researched the issue and should be responding to you later today with their findings. They are also addressing the early start which should occur unless it is an emergency. We will look at the streets you identified. I agree with you on the impact of heavy trucks on our roads. I am developing a policy/plan to address this as we did with the street and utility cuts.

I apologize for the early morning disruption our project may have caused you and this matter has been addressed with staff.

We have two processes in our pavement preservation program: resurfacing and slurry seal.  Street resurfacing, or paving, requires the removal and replacement of the approximately 2 inches of asphalt from the street creating a new wearing surface and can last for decades with proper maintenance.  As part of normal maintenance, slurry seal applications are applied to extend the service life of streets after it has been paved.  Our Pavement Management database and field inspections ensure streets are not resurfaced or slurry sealed prematurely.  We are using new technology in this area to help improve our service to the community by equalizing the condition of all streets in a neighborhood to include the recently paved sections on Hawthorn Av and Vista Pl this week. Our goal is that when we return to the neighborhood, they will be on the same maintenance cycle improving our efficiency.  I am currently having staff compile a status report to send to you regarding the other streets you have concerns about and also referring them to our maintenance division to inspect for interim repairs. This will also include information related to home construction projects or utility work.

I am very proud of the work we have done over the 3 years since I have taken over as GM. Our potholes response is better than ever with a turnaround time of 1.7 days. We have utilized data and public facing website share our paving program to prioritize paving and repairs to enhance public public safety.. We have addressed failed and concrete streets that haven’t been addressed before.

 

So far, however, none of the streets I mentioned have been worked on, and they are only getting worse — so let’s see what happens.