The ride will soon be a little less bumpy on some parts of Wilshire Boulevard between Rimpau Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue as the City of Los Angeles moves forward with a repaving project on the curbside lanes.
The work began last weekend near Wilshire and Rimpau Boulevards and will be continuing on weekends over the next several weeks. On April 9 and 10, the city’s Bureau of Street Services will be working in the section between Rimpau and Hudson Avenue. Crews will only work on weekends to cause as little disruption as possible to traffic, and will be removing and replacing the asphalt on the outside of the roadway known as the “bus lanes”.
City Councilmember Tom LaBonge, 4th District, said the high number of buses, and the recent heavy rainfall, have caused many potholes in those areas. He said approximately $470,000 for the work was identified by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) Board. Metro works closely with the city on some public works projects, and officials were able to coordinate to identify some funding for street repairs in the city’s budget that could be used for the project on Wilshire Boulevard.
“We are trying to replace the roadway in places where there is a lot of damage, because it’s horrible,” LaBonge said. “It’s absolutely long overdue, and I have been trying to shepherd improvements.”
LaBonge, an alternate member on the Metro Board, said he is working with Metro to find more funding for repaving. He added that there are several sections of Wilshire Boulevard that need attention, from Western to Fairfax Avenue. Temporary traffic markers have been placed at some locations where potholes are so deep they could cause significant damage to vehicles.
Metro is currently in the research phase of creating bus-only lanes during rush hours on Wilshire Boulevard, and that project will include funding for the repaving of some sections of the thoroughfare, according to Metro spokesperson Dave Sotero. The Metro Board is expected to consider the project later this year, and will examine several alternatives to the plan. Depending on which alternative is approved, between three-and-a-half and five miles of the curbside lanes would be repaved, Sotero added.
LaBonge added that repairing Wilshire Boulevard, and other streets in the area, remains a priority. Todd Leitz, a deputy to LaBonge, said members of LaBonge’s staff regularly drive around in the district looking for potholes and other street problems, and report them to the appropriate city departments for repairs.
“With 7,000 miles of streets in Los Angeles, it is a difficult thing to keep up, and were talking about some streets that were built in the 1920s,” Leitz said. “But people calling in, I would still encourage them to do that. It gets the problem on the list.”
In the neighboring 13th Council District, which includes Hollywood, the push to get potholes repaired is continuing despite tough budgetary times. Yusef Robb, a deputy to Los Angeles City Council President Eric Garcetti, said the city is still proactively filling potholes, and that residents should still report potholes to 311. The goal is still to have the potholes repaired in 48 hours. According to Robb, the city has filled 202,000 potholes since the beginning of the 2010-11 fiscal year through March 31.
“We still have the Garcetti 311 app where people can report a pothole using their smartphone, and people can still make phone calls to 311 to report potholes,” Robb added. “We really need the public to pick up the phone or the smartphone and report the potholes. If the public becomes the eyes and the ears, we can do that much more.”
Still, some people were not convinced that the city is doing enough. Rashawn Davis, a Los Angeles resident who frequently uses Wilshire Boulevard, said driving on the thoroughfare can be a bone-jarring experience.
“The street is terrible. There are so many potholes it is hard to drive in a straight line,” Davis said. “They need to fix it because sooner or later, someone is going to get hurt.”
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