Frequently Asked Questions
1) How do you decide what sidewalks are repaired?
We identify sidewalks in need of repair through the City’s comprehensive Sidewalk Inspection Program. Every year, our Inspectors walk, bike and drive through the City, recording sidewalks in need of repair and the extent of required work. Sidewalks in the business district are inspected annually, and those in residential areas are inspected every three years on a rotating basis.
In addition, concerned individuals can report hazardous sidewalks and potholes via our online portal: http://user.govoutreach.com/santamonica/support.php or with a call to: 310-458-8504. An inspector will be dispatched to the location to determine what, if any, repairs are needed. Based on these inspections, we generate the list of sidewalks to be repaired. Sidewalks in hazardous condition are temporarily hot patched and then placed on a list for permanent repair.
2) You’re already in my neighborhood; can you redo my sidewalk while you’re here?
We would love nothing more than to fulfill the request of every resident; however, we are always balancing the desire for new, sparkling, sidewalks against the need to carefully manage the resources of the City. This is especially true in the current economic climate. In order to ensure that the most damaged sidewalks are repaired first, we have to adhere to the inspection results and our schedule.
If you are concerned that a sidewalk is unsafe and presents a hazard, we encourage you to report it through the link above or via telephone. An inspector will visit the site to determine if hazardous conditions exist, and what repairs are necessary.
3) Listen, I see you guys out here, taking breaks every five seconds. Maybe if you worked harder, you’d be finished with this alley/sidewalk/pothole already!
Please understand we are dedicated to doing the best job we can to maintain and improve the quality of the City’s streets and sidewalks. Our crews face a number of hazards everyday including: aggressive or distracted drivers and extremes of heat and cold. Even on a mild, sunny day, temperatures on our work sites sore into triple digits – asphalt is hot stuff, and trucks generate extreme heat. Our crews work with hot oil and heavy machinery – they need to be alert and focused 100% on the task at hand to get the job done safely and correctly. It is much more efficient to take a little extra time to prepare a site and take breaks than to rush through a job, risking injury to the crew or sloppy work. Regular, scheduled breaks are vital to ensure the crews stay adequately hydrated and able to do their jobs.
Occasionally, projects will be delayed due to unforeseen circumstances. Usually these come in the form of equipment breakage or a delay on getting a required part - factors that are beyond our control. In these instances, we work hard to communicate with affected residents and businesses, and we appreciate your understanding.
4) What are you doing to the trees? Are you hurting them?!
Don’t worry! We care about the trees just as much as you do! What you’re probably seeing is root pruning. As trees mature and grow, expanding root systems push up sidewalks and create significant cracks and damage. Thirsty roots have also been known to wrap around drainage pipes and sprinkler systems. We take great care to trim only what roots are necessary – we care deeply about preserving and nurturing Santa Monica’s beautiful urban forest. Every quarter, we have training sessions with the City Arborist to refresh and update our skills and learn about the newest root pruning techniques.
In 2000, we became one of the first cities in the world to experiment with rubber sidewalks as an alternative way to manage around the extensive root system of our Ficus trees. Rubber sidewalks allow us to regularly trim roots and prevent the sort of massive, overgrown systems of the past. Since then, we have installed approximately 22,000 square feet of rubber sidewalks! Additionally, there are indications that the rubber allows more water to permeate to the roots and actually encourages a less destructive root growth pattern. Not to mention, the rubber sidewalk panels we use come from old tires and plastic (a rubber/plastic composite) diverted from landfills – so we’re saving trees and the planet!