Thursday, September 16, 2010

Los Angeles' Overgrown, Weed-Infested Median Eyesores

It's no secret Los Angeles is gripped by a budget disaster, which has led to unfortunate belt-tightening like the decision to shut down the public library twice a week (an extreme move decision that, the L.A. Weekly notes, was seen as taboo in every other major U.S. city).

But also noticeable in recent weeks: The lack of any lawn care for the city's median dividers. As a result, weeds and grass are growing out of control, and L.A. streets are looking even uglier. The out-of-control median mess sure makes L.A. look bad.

Above: Talk about a tale of two cities. On Burton Way at the Los Angeles/Beverly Hills border. To the left, The City of L.A., where weeds are out of control. To the right, Beverly Hills, with a manicured median.

The Eastsider L.A. looked into L.A.'s median problems a few weeks ago, and hinted that help may be on the way:

Faced with the budget cuts, the city’s Bureau of Street Services has all but eliminated regular median maintenance... Rick Coca, a spokesman for Councilman Jose Huizar, said that medians strips maintained by outside contractors have continued to be cleaned up. It’s the medians once tended by city employees that have been left without care.

Meanwhile, Councilman Tom LaBonge, who represents portions of Atwater and Silver Lake, introduced a City Council motion to use street improvement money to pay city contractors to maintain the Highland Avenue median near Hancock Park and is working with the Department of Public Works to work on other medians in his district.

Councilman Eric Garcetti, who represents Echo Park and Silver Lake, introduced a motion last month to help pay for the maintenance of 2.6-million square feet of medians citywide.

"Without proper maintenance, these medians can become overgrown, litter-strewn eyesores that can drag down an entire neighborhood," he said.

There's truth to that. And if money isn't available, I'd suggest that local business associations band together to trim the medians (via weedwhackers) in their neighborhoods.

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