‘Bel Air Has Worse Streets Than Pacoima': Officials Reject Pothole Repair ‘Fallacy’
LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Have you ever wondered how the city of Los Angeles decides which streets to repave and which ones to allow to deteriorate?
KNX 1070’s Megan Goldsby reports if you’re ever driving on a hopelessly bumpy street, you can blame a computer algorithm for the rough ride.
Street repairs are usually met with cheers in Los Angeles, but they can also be met with confusion, as was the case near 13th Street in San Pedro during a recent repaving project.
“I thought they were in decent shape before they dumped a bunch of money into ’em,” said one resident.
“They wanna spend all the money that they have so they can get more,” another man said.
Nizario Sauceda, Director of the city’s Bureau of Street Services (BSS), said there are many misconceptions about how streets are chosen for repair.
He does concede, however, that LA’s most damaged streets aren’t the number one priority.
“Doing the ‘worst-first’ strategy only allows streets in good condition to deteriorate, and then it will cost me more later,” Sauceda said.
Officials use an A through F grading system to prioritize which streets are in most need of repair using a specialized – and expensive – Street Services van.
Using lasers and synchronized cameras, BSS technicians drive it year-round up and down the city’s 28,000 lane miles of roadway gathering images to be analyzed on large computer screens and graded by a software called MicroPaver.
The technician inputs every bump and crack, and MicroPaver decides where the re-pavers go next – a fact which puts to rest another common misconception.
“I would imagine it’s probably in the higher tax rate that they kind of focus,” said one woman.
But Sauceda said that type of rationale is nowhere close to how the city operates.
“The fallacy of ‘Bel Air has better streets has Pacoima’ doesn’t exist,” he said. “In fact, Bel Air has worse streets than Pacoima.”
And those San Pedro repairs that mystified some residents? Officials say they won’t need to be redone for another 25 years.