Improving public infrastructure is critical to ensuring safety of our neighborhoods. I've been committed to addressing the unique infrastructure challenges in our hillsides with increased funding to our broken streets, and attention to reducing cut-thru traffic.
For 80 years, Los Angeles has ignored so-called "withdrawn streets." These streets were officially "withdrawn" from public use during the Great Depression, but continued to serve the public regardless - people continued to live on them, and motorists continued to drive on them. The only difference was the City was officially unable to repair them. Many of these streets exist in our hillsides, and all of them have been ignored for nearly a century.
When I entered City Council, I was proud to help right this foolish wrong. I stood alongside Councilmember Bob Blumenfield in pushing legislation to return withdrawn streets to the City's system, and successfully pushed to include $25 million in the 2019-2020 budget to begin repair failed streets - including those that had been withdrawn.
When I joined the City Council, I ran on repairing long-ignored concrete streets, many of which had been ignored for decades. I was told time and time again that repairing concrete streets was too expensive, too difficult, and would never happen.
I set out to prove this thinking wrong. I started my own concrete repair pilot program to prove that costs could be cut. We commissioned a report that included a preliminary analysis of the 1,184 miles of concrete streets in the City, 82 percent of which are in poor condition, many in our hillsides. I worked with the Bureau of Street Services and Public Works on a Concrete Streets Repair program, and in 2019, we won $25 million in the City Budget for failed streets - with $7 million specifically allocated for concrete street repair.
Cut Through Traffic
I've been concerned about the increasing traffic on small hillside streets by commuters following wayfinding apps. Apps like Waze and Google Maps direct motorists up narrow hillside roads without considering the effect on infrastructure and public safety - so I took them on directly. I asked the City Attorney to consider legal action against companies like Waze, for putting our neighborhoods and motorists at risk. I urged Google and Waze to meet with me and respond to community concerns, and worked with City Council colleagues to reconsider data-sharing agreements with Waze & Google until they demonstrate that they will respond to these concerns.
This pressure resulted in a new pilot program led by the Los Angeles Department of Transportation that will allow DOT engineers to work directly with app developers to reduce the number of drivers directed up narrow hillside roads. I continue to focus on ways to hold these wayfinding apps accountable to the impacts they cause.