Key Roads Need Repair in Pacific Palisades
A recent report by the nonprofit transportation group [TRIP] noted that “Bumpy roads, uneven pavement and potholes cost drivers in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim areas more than $900 a year in repairs, maintenance, fuel consumption and tire wear, accelerating vehicle deterioration and depreciation.”
But Pacific Palisades residents do not need a report; we already know many of the roads here have potholes and pavement deterioration.
According to the Bureau of Street Services, streets are rated using a Pavement Condition Index (PCI). A May 2013 L.A. Times story (“Grading Los Angeles Streets”) reported that 175 of the 769 streets in the Palisades received a grade of F. The average for streets here was C-.
Residents were promised that once the heavy trucks used in the Caruso Palisades Village project were done hauling and the retail/restaurant center opened, Chautauqua, from Sunset Boulevard down to PCH, would be repaved.
Palisades Village opened September 22, so last week we contacted the L.A. Bureau of Street Services Resurfacing and Reconstruction Division for an update.
The last time Chautauqua from Sunset to PCH was repaved was August 2001.
The good news is that this stretch is now on a list to be repaved sometime in the last half of 2019 or the beginning of 2020. But that’s a long way off, and motorists fear that the lower portion of Chautauqua (below the final curve) may not make it through a rainy winter.
Monument Street between Sunset Boulevard and Albright (adjacent to Palisades Village) was last paved in April 1998 and it is “not on the grid” for repaving, even though the surface was badly damaged by constant truck traffic during construction.
The last time Sunset Boulevard was paved between Chautauqua and Temescal Canyon Road was June 1998. It is not scheduled to be repaved anytime soon. The Zone 1 Coordinator that we spoke to said that he would create a future project for Sunset and look for utility clearances, but then funding would have to be found.
Where does funding come from? It goes back to Councilman Mike Bonin. Every Council District is allocated funding for street projects, and the Councilman’s office make recommendations to the BSS.
“That’s where we get our list from,” said the BSS Vector coordinator.
The lack of repair has nothing to do with Proposition 6.
A November 2017 KCET episode, “Cycle of Disrepair: The Dangers of Biking in L.A.,” discussed the amount of money the City is paying to injured bike riders–and families of deceased riders–because of accidents on unrepaired streets. (visit: kcet.org/shows/socal-connected/cycle-of-disrepair)
That episode also featured a snippet of the April 2017 L.A. City budget hearings in which Nazario Sauceda, director of the Department of Public Works of the Bureau of Street Services, was questioned by Councilman Mitchell Englander. (The entire budget meeting can be viewed at lacity.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=18&clip_id=16882, click on Street Services.)
“How much money are you giving back this year [to the general fund]?” Englander asked.
Sauceda replied, “A total of 19 million dollars.”
“The bulk of that was pavement preservation?” Englander asked.
“That is correct,” Sauceda said. “Yes, $17.1 million.”
“Why do you have money left over? Why wasn’t it spent?” Englander asked. “We give the department money and we don’t expect a dime back because there’s so much more to be done.”
Sauceda told Englander that this was a question he should ask the Mayor. “As a team working together with the Mayor’s office, we understand there is a need to balance the budget,” Sauceda said.
The City controller did an audit of Street Services, and in a July 31, 2014, report noted that $21 million that had been earmarked for street repairs between 2010-2013 but was instead returned.