The Hidden High Cost of Rampant Development

We all know the social costs of unfettered building development in Los Angeles – either new, multi-level apartment buildings or mixed-use edifices: the destruction of landmark buildings, displacement of long-time residents, eyesores on the skyline, horrible, additional traffic jams. Add to this list: the destruction of LA’s fragile street system. In almost any neighborhood where there is new building construction the streets around those sites have been pockmarked with potholes, rough pavement, rolling depressions, gigantic ruts, crocodile cracking and even small sinkholes. The cause – gigantic heavy construction trucks that wear down the asphalt. And road deterioration isn’t just limited to business districts or areas where multi-family dwellings (apartments) are being built – many side streets in neighborhoods where the nouveau riche have moved in and torn down old Spanish style homes and bungalows to build “modern” ugly, square, glass, steel and concrete edifices have had their streets destroyed by construction trucks. Take a trip down Gardner St. between Melrose and Beverly in the Melrose and Beverly Grove areas and you’ll know what I’m talking about. This neighborhood had been home to dozens of new homes and the streets are ruptured, rutted and damaged beyond belief. I’ve been told that speculators buy up these properties, build new homes, and then sell — or lease — them at a fantastic profit. And the city doesn’t seem to be able — or be willing — to hold these developers responsible for repairing the streets.

One of the most egregious examples of road destruction caused by construction is at the corner of Wilcox and Willoughby in Central Hollywood. For months now a new apartment complex is being built on the Northeast corner of that intersection — and the intersection has been destroyed. Check out the photos below — and the culprit.

We’ll keep checking the intersection to see if the street is repaired after  construction is completed.



















A Destroyed Street in the Heart of Hollywood

UPDATE: Finally, after almost a year, the damaged street was repaired.



On April 19, 2018, I filed a Pothole – Small Asphalt Repair Service Request(Service Request # 1-1003222761) for the damaged street at Franklin Avenue just west of Wilcox Avenue in the heart of Hollywood. This stretch of Franklin is a very busy thoroughfare, a major traffic artery cutting through Hollywood (north of the-always-busy Sunset and Hollywood boulevards). Not only does it serve residents of the Hollywood Hills as an important east-west street, it is necessary for commuters traveling to the Hollywood Freeway and, during summer nights when the Hollywood Bowl is in session, its a very congested exit from events. The area in question is about 100 feet long, near Franklin’s intersection with Wilcox. There are mounds and dips for 100 feet and most cars need to slow down to 5 MPH to navigate the damaged area.

How was it damaged? Here’s an excerpt from a KABC report on September 14, 2017:

“For weeks, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power crews have been working in the area of Franklin and Wilcox avenues repairing the damage caused by a water main break.

On the morning of July 2, a 12-inch line ruptured, turning streets into rivers. But ever since then, the roads have been shut down, and residents dealing with street closures in the busy Hollywood neighborhood are frustrated.

So why is the repair job is taking so long? The Department of Water and Power says the line that broke was installed in 1916. Because of its age and the damage to the streets, officials decided to make some major infrastructure improvements.

‘It blew. Instead of going in just to do a temporary patch, we made a decision to go in and replace 3,000 feet of main that’ll keep us out of here for another hundred years’ said Donald Williams, LADWP district supervisor.”

The horrible damaged street near Franklin and Wilcox was the result of careless and improper repair of the street after the DWP tore it up to repair the water main.

So what happened to my request? The next day I received a Closed Status report from the Bureau of Street Services with the remarks:

“Referred to DWP for Large Asphalt repairs.”

Anyone familiar with the Los Angeles DWP knows the resolution of this issue: nothing. The DWP regularly repairs broken water lines, tears up streets, and improperly refills holes and damaged roadways (once, outside my home, the DWP came out to repair a sewage leak. Two days later a private company was out there, digging up the street again. When I mentioned to the workers that the DWP had just been there, one of the workers responded: “We love the DWP. Whenever they make a repair, they f— it up and we get called in to fix it right.”) (Plus, the DWP has an inordinate stranglehold on the city of Los Angeles: the city and its attorneys have been powerless in holding the DWP accountable in a scandal in which millions of dollars of taxpayer monies went missing at the agency, ostensibly a city-run agency but one that has become too big to control).

So, the street remains a disaster.

A Letter to City Attorney Mike Feuer

Dear Mr. Feuer,

My name is Stephen Padulsky and I am a Los Angeles resident. I am writing to express my extreme disappointment with the unkept roads in this city.

At 10:00am on Monday, February 27th, 2017, I was driving in Hollywood. While merging onto the Hollywood Freeway (101 North) on Cahuenga Blvd East I came across two very large adjacent potholes in the far left lane. Both the traffic and size of the potholes prevented me from rerouting my course and I, like many other cars, had to drive over them. Unfortunately, the impact immediately ruptured my front right tire. At that point I had already merged onto the freeway where I quickly pulled over to the shoulder to prevent further damaging my the axle (please see below image with reference to the location of where I pulled over; before exit 11A Barham Blvd).

Also, as you can see from the below picture, the tire is completely flat.

Fortunately, I have AAA which came within thirty minutes. However, I am now left inconvenienced by having to replace the tire. This is both a financial burden and waste of my time. The initial estimate for the repair is over $200 not including the service. Before moving forward I need to be reassured that I will be fully reimbursed for an easily preventable incident. There are so many potholes throughout this city that continue to cause wear and tear to my tires, fortunately, this is the first time it has caused irreparable damage. However, I would like to know that these potholes will be repaired in a timely manner. They are located in a high traffic area that I’m sure many drivers have experienced similarly scary encounters.As a tax-paying resident, the city has a responsibility to ensure my safety. I trust you as my councilman and therefore, in turn, you should demonstrate that my trust is valid and supported by your commitment to alleviating the burden this incident has caused me. I request that you provide an appropriate form of goodwill gesture to me in the form of full reimbursement for the repair. Many thanks, in advance, for your attention to this matter. I look forward to hearing from you and receiving compensation. I hope this can be resolved as quickly as possible for my sake and to prevent endangering the lives of other unsuspecting drivers.Attached please find an image with my best estimation of the location of the potholes (see purple pin). Unfortunately, I do not have an exact picture as I was unable to pull safely over in that area. But I recall them both being after the light at the Pilgrimage Bridge, approximately 100ft.

I contacted the Los Angeles Bureau of Street Services to confirm if this has already been reported, but I haven’t heard back yet. However, according to Twitter, a driver reported a pothole on 2/26 in the same location, which BSS confirmed the location had been reported. I wanted to bring this to your attention as others have been affected.

Please let me know if you need any additional information. I would like to be reimbursed as soon as possible.Sincerely,

Stephen Padulsky

Pothole Incident on the 710

“My name is Sam Benedick.

On 2/8/17 at 12:10 pm I had a pothole incident.

I was going north on the 710.  In the second leftmost lane around a CORNER there was a gigantic pothole deeper than I’ve ever seen, I had no time to react safely so I went over it.  My tire pressure read low immediately and I heard rattling from the outside, knowing something was wrong.  A minute later I broke down on the right side of the 710 (safely, thank goodness) right before the exit To Willow St West.  I called AAA and they sent a tow truck out.

This was around the W Shoreline Dr entrance on the 710 North in the second leftmost lane, before the freeway becomes perfectly straight.”

Mr. Benedick’s right front tire was damaged; it needed to be replaced and then the car needed a front-end re-alignment. Total damages: $421.00.

La Cienega Pothole

Just bringing to your attention that there is a big pothole on La Cienega (when you drive northbound) right around 1200 S La Cienega. It caused me to have a flat tire instantly and put me in a dangerous situation.
The pothole will cause other people to have flat times. Please, fix it as soon as possible.

Elizabeth Michaels

An Imperial Pothole

There is a large pot hole on Imperial Boulevard east of Aviation Boulevard, my wife drove her car and hit it hard, please see picture, thank you.

Jerry Kearney

L.A.’s Biggest Pothole: The City Attorney’s Office

Here’s a great letter from an LAPothole reader delineating her struggles trying to file a claim with the L.A. City’s Attorney Office:”Hi LAPotholes team,

Hope you’re doing well.

Really wanted to thank you for such a great and informative resource on potholes problems in LA city area.
Here’s my story I really wanted to share with you and other unlucky motorists who have happened to get into potholes at least once.

It’s been almost a year since I started fighting a losing battle with the LA City Attorney’s Office. 

I got into a pothole during afternoon rush hour of 9/15/2015 as well as at least 10 other drivers and claimed the damage two days after since I had to take care of replacing both of my right tires the day after the accident. This is where the information you’ve shared on your site came in handy and I’ve filed my claim at (thanks again). 

Due to some personal and professional business, I hadn’t had a chance to check up on the applied claim up until January, 2016. As a side note, I’ve never heard from the City Attorney’s office during that time either – the claim hasn’t been denied, neither was 
it approved. 

I’ve contacted the Office in January this year just to find out they’re not able to find the claim and was asked to contact them again in a couple of weeks. The back and forth continued for several months and every time I would hear that 
they either had problems locating the claim or it hadn’t been assigned to anyone yet – “please, call back in two weeks.”

Then again I was out of the game for a couple of months due to a big project at work and got back to bombarding them with calls in May when they finally informed me they didn’t have my claim. They advised I could send them the copy of my claim either via mail or fax. On 6/18/16 I mailed them the copy of my claim together with a copy of the dealership bill for replacing my shredded tires. Checked back with them in a three weeks, and guess what? Correct! They never got my letter (even though I double checked the mailing address with the employee I was taking to several times over the phone). The same day I faxed them my claim, got their confirmation on receiving and had to wait another two weeks until it got assigned to an investigator.

I reached out to the City Attorneys office on 8/1/2016 once again and discovered my claim had been assigned to Mr. Robert Arevalo, who I tried to reach out to during that day with no luck and ended up writing an email which I never got any reply to.

Finally today (8/22/2016) I was able to reach Mr. Arevalo by phone, who told me the fact I didn’t have any photos of the pothole attached to my claim didn’t benefit me and he would need to request street maintenance records, which is going to take another year! to be processed, since they needed a proof the pothole was really there. When I said I had witnesses among other drivers who got into the same pothole right before I did I was told they never got any claims from them (which is really strange because all the drivers I talked to were going to file the claim to get the reimbursement).

As a side note, I really didn’t take any pictures of the pothole since the manhole with a pothole around it happened to be right in the middle of a busy intersection (I got into it while turning left).

This week I’m planning to visit Street Service Bureau’s office and request street maintenance records. As I’ve found out you have to request the records in writing. Decided to go there in person since the letters have a tendency to get lost. 

I would really appreciate if you could share my story so other people who’re going through the same bureaucratic Hell on Earth at the moment could read it, find it useful and maybe share some advice.

Many thanks.

Best regards,


Keep plugging away, Julia. The key is persistence and documentation — you need to document every email, letter and phone conversation because the City’s Attorney Office “loses” so many emails and letters. Good luck.

Hard Landing Near LAX


There is a giant pothole on Arbor Vita Blvd. east of Aviation and before Barranca in Los Angeles 90045. (Near LAX)

It’s in the far right lane and measures about 4-6 feet in length, 2 feet wide and about 6-8 inches deep.

Observed on July 16 – not sure how long its been there, but looks very worn overall.

Thank you – Agnes

Arlington Heights Tire Damage

Here is a new pothole. Damaged my tire tonight  (January 26)


La Cienega Damage

On January 12, 2016, Simon Classen reported this pothole at 401-407 S. La Cienega Blvd. (near the intersections of La Cienega and Burton Way/San Vicente):

Approx. size: Massive 2-3 ft wide and 0.5ft deep.

It broke the tires, rim and the alignment on my brand new BMW 650i. Approximately $1000 in damage.

Length of time it’s been there: Noticed it today.

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