Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

City Alley's Absorb Water in a Storm

Pervious Concrete runs down the center.

Ever wonder why Santa Monica's streets are so well maintained, while the alleys are generally as broken up as rural roads?

Technically, the City of Santa Monica's alleys are County of Los Angeles roadways. Which means the City's road department could ignore them, the County did ignore them, and the State of California, well forget about it. They do give out parking tickets in the alleys (see photos). As I've said before, the City of Santa Monica functions like a corporation, and can't ignore any potential parking tickets as a source of revenue. Otherwise, it won't be able to pay it's extraordinarily high salaries and pensions.

Never fear. As we have discussed many times in this column, the City faces a need to spend every dime of its massive $600 million a year budget, or else fire some of its 2800 lavishly paid, union employees. Forget about that too. (Actually, the City of Santa Monica's 2016-2017 budget is $614.1 million dollars. 2,797 employees as of December 31, 2014. This is much higher than comparable California cities of comparable size. Why? Because they can).

Ever vigilant to find more projects that need money spent on them, the City adopted an Alley Renewal Program last year. Admittedly, some of the alleys are pretty broken up by potholes, and barely drivable. Someone had to do it. This is never more apparent than in the rain, when the potholes fill up with oily water.

So, the City is engaged in an "Alley Renewal Program" which, over 20 years, will "improve the condition and functionality of 75 of the City's most worn alleys. Project work includes everything from patch improvements to full-alley resurfacing."

Ever wondered what the concrete stripe down the center of newly repaved alleys is about? It's so water can blow through it to the ground. "Certain alleys have been targeted for the installation of a pervious concrete gutter. Pervious concrete allows water to percolate down into the ground – reducing stormwater runoff and therefore the amount of pollution flushed into the Santa Monica Bay during and after a rainstorm. Urban runoff is damaging to the environment as the water collects pollutants and litter from City streets en route to the Ocean." Even I must admit that's fairly ingenious.

This story updated April 24, 2016 at 3:36 PM, to correct the number of employees and dollar amount of the City's annual budget.


Reader Comments(0)