By Damien Newton, November 12, 2014
Eric Garcetti discusses street reconstruction flanked by Joe Buscaino and Mike Bonin.
The current state of the crossing facing west at National and
Barrington. If it gets me new continental crosswalks, I’m on board.
Flanked by elected and appointed city officials, Mayor Eric Garcetti
announced a handful of initiatives and reforms that would increase city
revenue for road repaving by nearly $50 million a year at the “under
reconstruction” corner of National and Barrington Boulevards in West Los
“All told, we are going to pay another 200 miles of road, every year,
on top of the 200 miles of road in this year’s budget,” Garcetti
stated. “That’s 400 miles extra more of road paved every single year.”
Garcetti outlined plans that would allow the city to recapture and save funds in a variety of ways.
First, Garcetti pledged that the city will refurbish and upgrade its
asphalt plant in South L.A. The improved plant will operate more
efficiently, be able to recycle used and broken asphalt and even be
better for the environment.
Later today, Counclmember Joe Buscaino will introduce legislation
that will require all private parking garages to accept credit cards.
10% of revenue from private parking is supposed to be returned to the
city. While he didn’t say that he thinks that parking garage operators
are lieing, he did point out that there is more of a paper trail when
someone swipes a card rather than when they hand over cash.
That paper trail could lead to another $20 to $25 million for the
city, which Garcetti pledged would go right back into increasing the
city’s road reconstruction program.
The last area that the city could improve, is the formula it uses to
charge private companies when they rip up the street: usually cable or
telephone companies. The city created a formula in 1996 to estimate the
reimbursement a private company should pay the city. Over the years, the
formula hasn’t been tweaked, and Garcetti seems anxious to make sure
that L.A.’s taxpayers aren’t being charged to fix a street that was
intentionally destroyed by a private interest.
The total increase in revenue could be “around $10 million.”
While the amount generated is hardly enough to address the billions
of dollars needed to restore city streets to a state of good repair;
Buscaino points out that the city can’t just count on new revenue from
taxes and bonds to fix L.A.’s streets.
“Residents want better streets, and are willing to pay more to
improve them, but only if we as a city do a better job operating
efficiently and spending their money wisely,” Buscaino stated.
He followed by telling a stories of how residents would fight to get
their streets repaved only to see them dug up weeks later or how streets
would be repaved, but it would take weeks for the markings to be
Responding to a question from Streetsblog about road bicycle lanes
and crosswalks, Garcetti responded that coordination between LADOT,
Bureau of Street Services and other departments was a critical way to
save both time and money.
“It slows things down when we’re not coordinated,” Garcetti. “It takes more time and it frustrates drivers.”
Don’t worry, he also promised that new streets would have the most
recently approved design, including bike lanes and the improved
Speaking without prepared remarks, Mike Bonin, who represents the
Westside community where the press conference took place and Chair of
the City Council Transportation Committee, made the case that repaved
streets are improved for all road users.
“We cannot have a robust bicycle network in this city if you are
riding down a bike lane and it’s pockmarked or full of potholes that
could cause you to flip and risk your life,” Bonin stated. “We cannot
have walkable neighborhoods if our sidewalks are buckled and not
navigable. We can do better.”
The initiatives announced today also included new avenues for
community involvement, a three year moratorium on street cuts on streets
after repaving, and prioritizing street resurfacing based on need. For
more, read the Mayor’s press release posted on Streetsblog Lite.