Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

By David Ganezer
Observer Staff 

Strip of Percolative Concrete in Centers of Alleys Shows Signs of Wear After One Year

Santa Monica is One Year into Program of adding strip of concrete to Alleys.

 

January 24, 2017

One year ago, the City of Santa Monica launched a program to add a strip of concrete down the center of 75 alleys. This allows rainwater to percolate through the strip and into the groundwater, then out to sea.

One year ago, the City of Santa Monica launched a program to add a strip of concrete down the center of 75 alleys. This allows rainwater to percolate through the strip and into the groundwater, then out to sea. The problem is, that center strip visibly wears out more quickly than the surrounding black asphalt.

The City launched 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.

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.

The problem is, that center strip visibly wears out more quickly than the surrounding black asphalt.

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.

 

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