New report finds some L.A. streets too clean, others too dirty

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Los Angeles streets could be a lot cleaner if the city re-evaluated its street sweeping program, a new audit finds.

A street sweeper in Granada Hills. (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

If you’ve driven around Los Angeles and thought, ‘wow, this street is dirty’ – a new report backs that up.

It says that when it comes to street sweeping, there’s plenty of room for improvement.

This new audit from LA Controller Ron Galperin’s office finds there’s no clear methodology for cleaning the nearly 14,000 miles of streets on which Angelenos and out-of-town visitors drive.

About a third of those streets are swept every week, regardless of how dirty they are, while the other streets might only get cleaned once a year, depending on when city employees have the time.

“One mark of a great city is its clean streets,” Galperin said in a statement. “Though thousands of miles are swept each year, we currently lack clear data or a methodology as to why or where streets are swept.”

The audit says the Bureau of Street Services can save money and time by using digital mapping to rethink street sweeping routes and schedules. It also suggests using digital street signs to warn drivers when a street is about to be swept.

A spokesman for the Department of Public Works, which includes the Bureau of Street Services, says officials agree with most of the audit’s findings, but that a huge loss in staffing has made it harder to clean some streets more often. The report acknowledges that LA drastically cut its street sweeping staff in the wake of the last recession.