A Los Angeles City Council committee has voted to conduct a pilot program to replace some problem sidewalks, with a material that’s a bit more resilient and porous.
Those are things like rubber, crushed asphalt, or decomposed granite.
Adrian Glick-Kudler, senior editor at Curbed LA, says the idea is that the more porous the material, the more water that material will allow to seep into groundwater basins. And when the sidewalks are damaged by tree roots – as they notoriously and frequently are – the sidewalk can either be more flexible, or be pulled up with less trouble and cost.
If approved by the full City Council, the proposal by Councilman Bob Blumenfield would direct the Bureau of Street Services to set up the pilot program.
But the assistant director of that bureau, Ron Olive, told the panel that alternate materials tried out years ago in West Los Angeles have NOT held up, and that rougher sidewalk surfaces could cause more serious injuries if someone falls.
He recommended that the city do more diligence on the program before going forward.
The sidewalk idea is similar to one adopted in 2000 by Santa Monica, which has replaced some of its sidewalks using rubber made out of recycled car tires.
Blumenfield claims more than 100 cities have rubber sidewalks.
City officials say about 4,600 miles of crumbling sidewalks need attention or replacing.
Meanwhile, those crumbling sidewalks aren’t stopping throngs of Angelenos from visiting the still more than 900 medical marijuana shops that continue to operate in LA.
And about half of those — about 450 at last count, according to the LA Times — have filed renewals this year to pay business taxes to the city.
Interestingly, that’s about three times as many as are allowed to operate in the city, under Proposition D. That was the ballot initiative approved by voters last November.
Emily Alpert-Reyes has been covering the story for the LA Times.
She says the city is in a precarious position when it comes to licensing, because at the same time city officials try to uphold the law, they can’t delve into the specifics of exactly who is requesting a license.