Broken L.A. sidewalks spur aggravation but no consensus

Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez looks at some of L.A.'s notorious sidewalks.

Bob Arranaga says no way. He wouldn’t vote for a bond measure to fix potholes and cracked sidewalks in Los Angeles.

“L.A. should be paying for repairs from the city budget, not from adding more taxes,” he emailed in response to my Sunday column about the 98-page list of people who have filed injury claims against the city since 2007 after tripping and falling.

Greg Golden sees it differently. Even though his street in Van Nuys is fine, he said he’d vote yes even if it adds “several hundred dollars to my property tax bill.”


Why? Because “the rest of the city needs help.”

One reader wondered why the city can’t use pea gravel instead of concrete where tree roots are a problem. Another reader recommended recycled tires instead of concrete, because it doesn’t crack and it can be easily replaced.

And several suggested reinstating the 50-50 plan, in which the city would split the cost of sidewalk repairs with property owners.

Actually, the $10-million-a-year sidewalk repair proposal being considered by city officials would designate a third of it to a 50-50 program, a third to sidewalk locations that have produced the most injury claims, and a third to high-pedestrian areas near retail or transit.

Several readers noted that one of the most offending trees is the ficus, with shallow roots that destroy sidewalks, streets and driveways. They were over-planted half a century ago by developers, and it didn’t help that the city failed to properly maintain them.

But I also heard from readers suggesting that they’d rather have cracked pavement than sacrifice shade and the carbon dioxide-eating, oxygen-producing benefits of mature trees.

Mayor Eric Garcetti, who said he wanted to get back to basics, should feel free to weigh in any time now.

What’s more basic than fixing one of the city’s most embarrassing, dangerous problems?

Twitter: @LATstevelopez