Two Potholes on Temescal
Shake a Reporter’s Car
Driving on the downhill side of Temescal Canyon Road on December 12, my car jolted as I ran over what I later learned was one of two potholes in the fast lane.
Initially, I thought the jolt was severe enough that I was going to need a new tire. Luckily it held, but the incident started a search about how the City repairs potholes.
It turns out residents can report potholes via 311 or an app: MyLA311.
Circling the News called 311 on Saturday to report the potholes, but the recorded message said, “Your call cannot be completed as dialed, check the number and dial again.” The 311 Call Center is only open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The Bureau of Street Services website advised, “If you see a pothole, call (800) 996-2489.” CTN called but was told to call back between 7 a.m. to 3:55 p.m. Monday through Friday. (visit:bss.lacity.org/administration/service.htm.)
On the website, the Bureau suggests that written correspondence can be sent to:
Bureau of Street Services
Administrative Services Division,
Customer Service Call Center
1149 South Broadway, 4th Floor
Los Angeles, California 90015
There’s also an online service request and comment form, which I filled out. I was given a Service Request number #1-1254120721.
The Street Services site says it receives about 100,000 requests for service annually. When a request is received, the sender is assigned a number that should be saved for future use. After the call is received, a copy of the request is forwarded to the appropriate division.
According to the Street Maintenance Division on frequently asked questions: (bss.lacity.org/streetmainencance/FAQs.htm
Question: How do I get a pothole fixed?
Question: How long does it take to repair a pothole?
Answer: “The Bureau’s goal is to repair potholes by next business day. An inspection will occur to ensure proper repair. Some requests are not potholes and will need to be scheduled at a later date.”
According to a KPCC report in 2016, “How to Report LA Potholes, File Claim for Car Damage,” if your car is damaged y a pothole, take pictures of the damage and the pothole, then fill out and submit a claim form with the City to be reimbursed.
Prior to a March 2014 NBC4 story, “Los Angeles Triples Pothole Payouts,” the City was notoriously slow about paying claims, if at all. Less than 1 in 10 drivers who filed claims with the city for pothole damage received any kind of payment.
After watching the report, L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer vowed to quickly improve the system for handling pothole claims.
Initially, Feuer’s investigators who researched pothole claims used regular mail to request proof of a pothole from the Bureau of Street Services. Often months later, the Bureau mailed back proof of a pothole to the investigators. (Unless the pothole had been reported, the City will not pay for damages.)
Now, the Bureau of Street Services emails an updated list of all potholes in LA to the City Attorney’s office every two weeks, which allows investigators to process claims faster.
(On Monday, December 17, this reporter received an email from the City that the inquiry had been received and the status was pending.)