The Times Weighs in on L.A.’s Bad Streets

In the Sunday, May 5 edition of the Los Angeles Times — on the front page, no less, under the headline “L.A. full of roads to ruin for cars” — the city of L.A. was taken to task for its lousy streets. The paper applied its data-gathering expertise to the database of streets maintained by the Bureau of Street Services (which includes location, rating, street type and last inspection and repair), “mapped the data to neighborhood and council district boundaries,” and “found a wide disparity in road quality among the city’s 114 neighborhoods.”

And, in addition to their in-depth report, the Times put together an online interactive map that allows you to type in your address and get your street’s grade.

According to the report, “the city gives its road network an average grade of C, but the Times found differences not driven by wealth or political power — some of the poorest parts of the city have some of the best roads … But the average grade tells only part of the story. More than one-third of the streets in the city have a score of D or worse, meaning they must be resurfaced or totally reconstructed … The heart of the problem is aging streets, heavy traffic, undulating terrain and the sheer size of the network. The streets in the poorest shape tend to be in hillside neighborhoods, such as the Hollywood Hills, Mount Washington, Los Feliz and Bel-Air … For Angelenos waiting for their street to be rebuilt, abandon all hope: There is a 60-year backlog of failed streets — meaning residents might not see them fixed in their lifetimes.”

The main reason for the lack of repairs — too many streets, too little money.

Check out the Times story here and their interactive map here.

Glassell Park Pothole

On my way home from picking up my boyfriend (04/30/13), I hit a pothole on Fierro St. (cross street San Fernando Rd). The pothole was wide and deep.

Fierro St. is filled with potholes and it makes it very inconvenient for the businesses around. The street — compared to the neighboring streets — is in really bad condition. The potholes are deep and very noticeable. The address where it’s located: 3034 Fierro St., Los Angeles, CA 90065.

Thank you,

Jackie Ramirez

Alley Oops

Frank Barich of San Pedro sent us the following information March 19; check out the amazing pothole in the alley behind his property.

UPDATE:
As of early April, nothing has been done regarding the pothole I reported and it continues to worsen. As per your suggestion , I will take a photograph and post it to the LAPotholes website. Any further advice to expedite and resolve this issue would be appreciated. Thank you, again.

I am the property owner at 716 S. Walker Ave. San Pedro. I first reported this pothole January 9, 2013. My property (716 S. Walker Ave.) is adjacent to the alley near the reported said pot hole. I, as well as my tenants, use the alley daily for access to garages. The pothole is of such a large size that it’s almost impossible to avoid it. My tenants have reported damage to their vehicles.

Timeline:
On January 9, 2013: I reported said pothole. Confirmation #13001633.

On February 22, 2013: I called for an update and status. I was told it was on back log.

On March 18, 2013: I called again to request update and status. I was forwarded to Aiada. She explained the reported pothole was inspected and put on back log. Per Aiada, due to the shortage of repair vehicles in the area (twice a week), repairs for streets more commonly used take priority. She said she would forward the request to her supervisor, Derrick Brown, and confirmed my call back number and said Mr. Brown would follow up to report status.

March 19, 2013: 7:00 p.m. I have not yet received a call or message from Mr. Derrick Brown. I want to make sure the above matter is addressed as the reported pothole continues to worsen, not only for the safety of vehicles, but pedestrians as well.

Aviation Blvd. Pothole Causes Rough Landing

On my way home from work tonight (February 20), I hit a pothole on Aviation Blvd. approximately 1,000 ft. north of Imperial Hwy. The pothole was approximately 4 feet long, 1.5 feet wide and 4 inches deep. The incident caused the sidewall of my left front tire to blow out, requiring me to replace the tire. I am in the process of getting the tire replaced (Goodyear Eagle LS-2 245/45R18 ROF). I will be sending in the receipts and making a claim when the repair to my vehicle is completed; I do not know if there is additional damage.

Massive Hole at 3rd and June in Hancock Park

My Name is David Delgado and on Friday, 01/04/2013, while driving home from work, I unexpectedly drove over this pothole … fortunately nothing serious happened to my truck — but both right rims got damaged. This pothole is located at 3rd Street and June in Hancock Park.

Terrible Road Damage and Flooding: A Letter to the Mayor:

Mr. Mayor,

I live right off an alleyway south of Melrose between Poinsettia and Fuller. It’s the alleyway behind The Darkroom Bar and Floyds Barbershop. I have been complaining for a long long time to Public Works and the bureau of street services about the terrible road damage in front of our unit, and have never gotten a response or any action.

This needs to be looked at immediately. And fixed. Too long have we had terrible potholes at the entrance to our house, and too long have they been flooded by even minimal rain. Last night it rained for maybe an hour, and look what it did (see attachments). It’s damaging our cars, it’s damaging our house (from mud and debris people track in), and it’s damaging our neighborhood. Some of the potholes are 5 inches deep!

Please, I beg you, please get this simple thing taken care of. We need the road resurfaced. It looks like a third world country outside my house.

Thanks.

Al

Getting the City to Pay for Damages

In late August, reader Martin Wolfson, who has been vigorously pursuing remuneration from the city for damages to his car (see below) , sent us the following:

“Despite evidence that the city was aware of the pothole I hit and took no action to fix it, my claim for repairs was denied by City Attorney Carmen Trutanich and investigator Craig Bushey.”

Shortly after that, Pam Teplitz — whose car also was damaged by an encounter with a pothole, sent us the following comment:

“I received a “rejection by operation of law” claim denial today from Mr. Trutanich and Investigator II Richard Wright for damages from a teeth-jarring pothole on La Brea. These rejections appear to be pro forma after 45 days and have to be pursued with a lawsuit within 6 months. Any ideas about how to proceed?”

In the latest update, Mr.  Wolfson successfully won his claim with Los Angeles for damages to his car:

Thanks for all your help. You’re doing a great thing for the people of LA.

I finally got my claim approved. I was going to get my check and then share a guide on everything I did to get it. I’ll share with you what I did and you can post it under your name if you would like.

I wrote the investigator and he admitted he never actually looked at the claim and it was automatically denied. I called his boss and spoke to him.

1. It is very important that you get proof that the City was aware of the pothole before the date of your loss otherwise they can claim immunity. To do this you must contact the Street Services Bureau and request street maintenance records for the block where your pothole is for the last 365 days (the block and direction of travel).

2. If the records show that the city had received a compliant about the pothole you hit, even if they fixed it and it came back, then you have a case. Fill out a claim with the city attorney’s office. They will deny it without looking at it.

3. Once they have denied it, call the city attorney’s office and ask them why they denied it. They will talk to you about immunity laws and such. Tell them that you have records showing the city knew about it. Email these to the investigator or ask to speak to the head investigator if you’re not getting anywhere.

This is what worked for me. It may have been easier just to go to small claims right off the bat, but either way make sure you get records from the Street Services Bureau. Perhaps even street sweeping records could show the city had to be aware. You could even get statements from residents around the pothole to ask how long it’s been there.

Congratulations, Martin. You’re an inspiration to everyone who has had (and will have to) go up against the city.

 Here’s the web address for filing a claim with the City Attorney’s Office:  City of Los Angeles Claim for Damages

The street address for the City Attorney’s Office: 111 N Hope St #340, Los Angeles, CA 90012

The phone number for the City Attorney Office: 213-978-7050 

LA Potholes Makes KNBC News

Thanks to Martin Wolfson, who reported here about a very nasty pothole at Sepulveda Blvd. Southbound between Howard Hughes and 77th Street, L.A. Potholes made the KNBC news tonight (July 12).

From Mr. Wolfson:

I reached out to Cary Berglund at NBC4, he did a spot about my pothole problem and showed your website in the feature.

In my case I found over 22 people had called the city to let them know about the pothole I hit and they did nothing.

I’ve filed a claim with the city, but the time frame for it to be considered is absurd. If I owed them for a parking ticket they’d want the money upfront.

I plan on going to the DPW building and not leaving until I get answers.

Do you have anymore constructive ideas on what I should do next, the way the city has handled this and all those other peoples problem’s is disgusting.

A Big One at LAX

Here is a big bad pothole that blew out my right front tire in my Jag. It’s located on Sepulveda Blvd. southbound at the Lincoln Blvd. junction right before you go into LAX. My tire blew on May 3rd and as of today, 5/15, the pothole is still there. There is also another pot hole 20 feet before it in the second lane. The thing is at least 24-inches wide and six inches deep. That is the lane everyone uses to get into LAX so I can’t be the only victim.

Liliy Games
Corporate Secretary
PREMIER TILE & MARBLE

A Plea for Help

To Whom It May Concern,

I have lived in the San Fernando Valley for over 20 years. I work, pay my taxes and have never been in legal trouble. I have had pothole damage to my vehicles a number of times in the past, but just paid for the damage myself or ignored the damage done to my car.

In November of 2011, I was exiting a mini mall in Studio City from a full stop, and my car slammed down into a hidden pothole and I heard something crack underneath my car. I immediately pulled over and saw a dent on my front fender, but had no idea at that time what the full extent of the damage was to my car. I went into a store in the shopping center to ask [the] owner if he knew about the bad potholes exiting the driveway to all of the stores, and he told me yes, he did, and that he had asked the City to fix the potholes numerous times and had many customer complaints and the City had not responded. He said maybe I would have better luck and told me to call 311 to report  potholes and damage done to my car.

So I called 311, they took a report about the potholes and gave me the number to call to get a claim form from the City for damages. I received that form about 2 weeks later and I not only filled out the forms in full, but I included an estimate for damages from Honda, which was over $1000, because I have severe front end damage underneath my car now. It almost scrapes the ground because it is hanging so low and has a crack underneath and has to be replaced.

I waited about 2 months and didn’t hear anything from the City Attorney’s Office, so I called and was put through to a really rude clerk (he said his name was Tom Wong) and he got very defensive when I asked how long this was going to take and what I was supposed to do about my car. In short, he told me that I would just have to wait because my claim had not even been assigned to an investigator yet to make a determination, or I could sue the City of Los Angeles. I knew I wasn’t getting anywhere with him, so I hung up.

Less than TWO DAYS later, I received a letter from the City Attorney’s Office, from an investigator named Craig Bushey, who denied my claim, with no explanation or basis for the decision and was once again told to sue the City, if I chose to. Not only is 2 days not enough time to investigate a claim, but I was never contacted regarding any details about my claim or my car damages. This action leads me to believe that the clerk forwarded my claim to an investigator right away and he told him to deny my claim just because he didn’t like me. So apparently, this was not about he damages done to my car.

I am not working right now, I cannot pay any deductible to my insurance company to pay for the damages and I need my car to find work and I went through all of the proper channels to get my car damage covered by the City that I have paid taxes to, for over 20 years. I am very disappointed and frustrated by these events and I am wondering if there is anyone that can help me … other than suing the City, which is the only advice that I was given TWICE.

I don’t think that the taxpayers should have to pay for court time for legitimate car damage caused by a City street, do you? The ironic thing is, they fixed the potholes at the location of the incident over a month ago, because of my report.

I would really appreciate some help with this matter if you could. Thank you very much for your time.

Sincerely,

Patti Metroulas
Studio City Resident
818-766-3456
email:blupeeps2@yahoo.com

Here’s part of our reply to Patti:

In the Naked City, there are a million stories like this — the City just turns its eyes away from such things cause they figure most citizens will give up and go away …

Here’s what I would do:

1) Contact your local council person and complain and ask them to take action.
2) Call the mayor’s office and complain.
3) Try contacting David Goldstein at CBS in Los Angeles; he does investigative articles about incompetence and crime in Los Angeles; you can say something like “if this happened to me, it must have happened to many, many others and the city is shirking its responsibilities to taxpayers.” He may “smell” something: djgoldstein@cbs.com
4) You might also try “Fightback With David Horowitz”; Horowitz used to be a consumer reporter on TV: david@fightback.com
5) David Lazarus at the L.A. Times is always going after government and corporate offenders and gets results: contact him at David.Lazarus@latimes.com
6) Also at the L.A. Times is Michael Hiltzik, who does some expose work: michael.hiltzik@latimes.com
7) Find a lawyer to work on spec to mount a class-action suit against the city on behalf of all the people who have had their vehicles damaged by potholes, and were not able to collect.

Good luck and let me know what happens.

Harley Lond

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