Yards left high, dry by city fix

first_img“I had half of mine broken and spent half the day … trying to put them back together,” Graham said, adding that some of his neighbors don’t have that option. “There’s a lady who lives a couple-three doors down who’s a widow who doesn’t get around very well,” he said. “I think it puts a terrible imposition on someone.” Dennis Weber, the Bureau of Street Services general superintendent, understands residents’ frustrations. But with a list of 340 locations that need sprinkler repairs, there’s only so much five plumbers can do. “There are many, many sprinklers that are broken,” he said. “If we had more plumbers we could probably do a quicker job.” But that doesn’t look likely any time soon. While sidewalk repairs are a property owner’s responsibility, city crews are responsible for fixing pathways damaged by city-owned trees. From 1978 to 2000, the city did not have a sidewalk-repair program. But in 2000, the mayor and City Council created one and budgeted $9million to repair 46miles of the most damaged sidewalks. The money available for sidewalk repairs has fluctuated annually since then, with $5.1million budgeted this year to repair 39miles of sidewalk. Much of that money is dedicated to a 50-50 program in which residents chip in with half the cost of sidewalk repair. But a tightening citywide budget means the Bureau of Street Services has to make do with the plumbers it has to fix the sprinklers that inevitably get broken by backhoes and root-trimming equipment during sidewalk repairs. City Councilman Tony Cardenas, who represents Graham’s area, said the sprinkler-repair wait is yet another frustration with the city’s massive backlog of sidewalk and infrastructure repairs. “It’s always a victory when a neighborhood sees a new sidewalk,” Cardenas said. “But the delays are frustrating enough without having to wait even longer for a sprinkler to be fixed.” kerry.cavanaugh@dailynews.com (213) 978-0390160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! With the city facing an 80-year backlog, most homeowners would be happy to finally have their cracked and uneven sidewalks replaced. But some residents are grumbling because their lawn sprinklers get broken during the sidewalk project – and there’s an eight-week backlog for getting them fixed because the city has only five plumbers to do the work. Gary Graham learned about the sprinkler-repair backlog the hard way, when he returned last month to his Van Nuys home and found the moderately cracked sidewalk on Petit Street being repaired – and his lawn-irrigation system broken. Graham called about it, and he was told he could wait two months for a repair crew or fix the sprinklers himself. last_img read more