Thursday, March 04, 2010


The Tilted Sidewalks of Woodland Hills

I claim to be a walker. I'm not a long-distance walker or an endurance walker. I'm too old for all that. I walk with some gentlemen friends three days a week. We have a circuit of about 2 1/2 miles, with a McDonalds Restaurant in the middle. We walk from the home of one friend, stop at the McDonalds for coffee, apple pie, and conversation with other old gentlemen who stop there for coffee and conversation. Then we proceed on our walk until we reach my friend's house. Another friend and I get in our cars and drive home. We do all of this early in the morning. In the summer it gets too hot to walk after about nine o'clock in the morning.
We walk in the street, mostly, rather than on the sidewalks. Most of the sidewalks are dangerous. When I first started taking two mile walks I would occasionally trip on an upended block of sidewalk that had been pushed out of the way by a growing tree root.
I hate it when I trip and fall on a sidewalk. I'm apt to skin my knee and tear my pants. I wear
good quality pants. The last pair I bought cost me $45.00
The other day I decided to take some pictures of the
sidewalks in my neighborhood. Some of them are quite
level. Others are desperately in need of repair or replacement. The photos to the right are the result of my investigation.

The first three photos show the condition of the sidewalks on Manton Avenue near my house. As you can see, the sidewalk slabs lie smoothly and are not tilted or broken. Some of the trees are crepe myrtles. The others are tall cypress trees. None of them have big roots.

The next four photos show the condition of the sidewalks on
Mariano Street, looking east and west from the intersection
of Mariano and Manton. In those pictures you can see that
large trees have developed large roots and the roots have
uplifted and broken the concrete blocks. One has to be
careful when walking on such sidewalks not to trip over the
upended blocks.

At one time the city required that the owner of property next to the sidewalk maintain the sidewalk. This is, I believe, an ancient custom. A home owner challenged the city in court, arguing that in his case he had not planted the tree that did the damage and besides the sidewalk, tree, parkway, and street were all on city property. The court decided in his favor. Since then the city has not put in place either a procedure or a budget for rebuilding damaged sidewalks. All the city will do now is to slaver some asphalt on and in the gaps left by the upending blocks of sidewalk.
The city of Los Angeles needs to establish a procedure for maintaining, repairing, and replacing damaged sidewalks. We walkers demand equal rights!


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