To the editor: UCLA Professor Donald Shoup is correct in stating that many L.A. sidewalks need repair, but he failed to address the "root cause" of broken sidewalks. If the trees planted decades ago that break sidewalks are not replaced, repairs done now will need to be redone. ("A big step toward safer sidewalks," Op-Ed, Aug. 18)
Trees with invasive roots, such as ficus, not only break sidewalks, they also destroy plumbing and sewer systems and cover the ground with slippery figs. The dangers to the elderly and disabled have increased.
If the trees are not removed and replaced, the problem will continue and the city may find itself faced with lawsuits — more expensive than tree removal and sidewalk repair.
Shoup's discussion on who should pay for repairs is premature. He's got the cart ahead of the horse. First we should plan to correct the cause — roots and trees — and then address payment for repairs.