Sidewalk Silliness

Posted by on Jan 20th, 2011 and filed under Viewpoints. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry


’ve lived in the Crescenta Valley long enough (nearly my entire life, actually) to know that some of our often-heard local expressions have their origins in reality. For example, if you want it to rain, wash your car. I’ve lost count of how many winter or spring seasons I’ve carefully considered the weeks of cloudless, dry, warm days (like our weather the past two weeks, in fact) and finally decided to wash one or both of our cars only to have the skies cloud up and produce a downpour within a day or so of me taking a sponge and chamois to my car.

Another adage is that local cable service will go on the fritz seconds before a big bowl game kickoff, during the opening sequence of the long-awaited final episode of a long-running series or the very minute some major national news event takes place. It’s happened at my house many times over my years of ever-increasing monthly payments to said cable provider. It’s also more than ironic that – invariably not too long after another outage of service – I’ll invariably get a call from one of the cable company’s sales reps trying to sell me a bundled service plan that would also put my home phone and internet in their oh-so “capable” hands. No thanks. I’ve spent far too many wasted hours on the phone either listening to a rage-inducing recorded voice telling me to check a laundry list of obvious reasons the cable might be out (“… be sure the cable is attached to the back of your TV …”) or talking to a “customer service” representative in Rameshwaram, India who can barely tell me that there has been a problem reported in my neighborhood. No kidding.

But my favorite local truism is that within months or even weeks of being newly repaved, rebuilt, or resurfaced to a pristine state, any given street or sidewalk will be torn up all over again by some jack-hammer-happy utility, city or county work crew. Case in point: the current demolition of the brand new sidewalk and driveway at the brand new public library on the corner of Foothill and La Crescenta.

Seriously? I mean, it was only a year ago this month that the brand spanking new library was dedicated and officially opened in a public ceremony. Several dump trucks of dollars (somewhere in the very pricey neighborhood of $15 million) were spent to build the beautiful new 15,000 square foot addition to our community.

I drive by the location a few times every day and saw the amount of time, materials and labor that went into the sidewalk and parking lot alone. There were temporary chain link fence sections blocking off part of La Crescenta Avenue for many months as the new sidewalk, driveway and parking lot were excavated, forms built and concrete poured and asphalt put down. It was beautifully designed. Expertly built. A joy to behold. And now it’s a pile of rubble and ruin. I don’t know why and haven’t asked. I’m sure there’s some logical reason (at least in bureaucratic speak). Probably didn’t use union-sanctioned cement the first time. Or they sprayed an unapproved shade of paint to mark the parking lot. Or the concrete screeding was done from left-to-right and the specs called for right-to-left screeding. It’s only taxpayer funds, folks. Not like real money or anything.

Some things never change and I have no doubt that some day in the not-too-distant future, after the next new sidewalk has been poured, the cement cured, and a new driveway has been paved and painted – another work order will be issued to rip it all up and do it again. You just can’t change the course of nature.

Which reminds me, I’m really not ready for this summer weather and would dearly love more cold temperatures, clouds and rain. Time to wash my car.

I’ll see you ‘round town.

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