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During the recent city council election, the term “pothole politics” was bandied about referring to politicians whose approach is to gladly fix street potholes to gain favor. But trying to get that same diligence for local alleyways is a different story.
Drive behind Beverly Boulevard between Detroit and Gardner Streets, or between Kings Road and Orlando Avenue, and you’re likely to damage your car. According to Councilmember Paul Koretz, 5th District, improvements are not forthcoming.
“Unfortunately, the alleys in the Fifth District are terrible,” Koretz said. “I’d say about two years ago they filled some [of the alley potholes]. Now you can’t get it done.”
Koretz suggested that residents who are concerned about the alleys should call the city’s non-emergency services 311 number to make a complaint.
An operator will take the claim, issue a confirmation number, and note that a city crew will go out to survey the alley, but no timeframe will be offered. A call can also be put to the Street Maintenance Division office at (800)996-CITY.
Drivers who have sustained vehicle damage driving in the alleyways can file a claim with the city clerk by calling (213)978-1133.
Acknowledging the unsafe conditions of neighborhood alleys and knowing that potholes can blow out tires and ruin axles, Koretz even noted that residents have mentioned that small pets have fallen into large holes.
“Our streets are largely funded by gas taxes but that does not allow for alleys,” Koretz said. “We’re so tight on money that it’s virtually impossible to fix the alleys. At best we can repair fifty feet of an alley a year.”
Taking a shortcut to avoid traffic along Beverly Boulevard recently, Yvonne Henderson quickly regretted her decision fearing damage to her new Lexus.
“It’s like a war zone out here,” Henderson said. “I can’t believe how bad the alley is. This is just terrible. It’s really shameful.”
Koretz admits that the biggest complaint constituents have when they approach him is the conditions of streets. And that leaves him with the best intentions but very little power to fix much.
“Our alleys are terrible, you can’t use them,” Koretz said. “If I could I would do something, but the alleys are at the absolute end of the spectrum. It could be several years before we come up with a solution.”
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