Beautification - Sidewalk Repair Comes to Ladera Heights
Significant Repairs Coming to a Sidewalk Near You! Are your trees part of the problem and the solution?
by Dorothy E Harris, LHCA VP, Beautification Division Chair
Note: Information contained in this article comes from County Engineer Greg Even, coordinator of the sidewalk rehab project at the County Department of Public Works. Mr. Even made a presentation in the April 16th LHCA meeting elaborating on the information in subsequent conversations.
After years of populating our streetscape with those “temporary” ugly asphalt patches to address safety and liability concerns, our Ladera sidewalks are scheduled for proper repairs. This major project will repair displaced concrete sidewalks, curbs and gutters, and driveway aprons. Slated to begin this summer, it will continue for at least a year, and encompass all County sidewalks in Old, Lower, and Up-per Ladera. The inventory of repairs is divided into those requiring minor displacements and broken concrete curbs, and major issues requiring replacement of the concrete with new concrete.
The schedule of work will begin with Minor Repairs-Grinding.
Minor Repairs – Grinding:
The contractor will begin in Upper Ladera, then move to Old Ladera, and lastly Lower Ladera.
The DPW contractor will first address the minor repairs with removal of the asphalt, and grinding down the displacement to meet the lower, adjacent grade. The grinding procedure thus preserves the con-crete but re-aligns it. The repair retains the color of the concrete but it has a marbled patina on the sur-face. This process was done in Ladera Heights perhaps a dozen years ago. It is quite visually ac-ceptable; however, it was discontinued in recent years because of cost considerations.
Major issues – Concrete replacement and adjacent trees:
This more time-intensive phase will be done by a County crew beginning at our request in Old Ladera. It is anticipated that completion of work throughout all of Ladera will take up to a year.
In each individual case the DPW evaluates what will be necessary to replace major displacements and breakages with new concrete. This frequently involves trees whose roots were often responsible for the problem. The solution may also involve the homeowner whose front yard or parkway tree roots, if not controlled, would contribute to the same problem recurring with new concrete.
Parkway, i.e. Public Trees – remain, or remove and replace:
If new concrete is needed the County will make every effort to root prune and preserve the parkway tree. However, if the parkway tree cannot be safely root pruned to accommodate the concrete repair they will need to remove it. If removal is recommended:
The County will notify you about a week in advance of the planned removal and will place a “tree re-moval notice“ on the tree so that community members can get information about the upcoming re-moval. If you are leaving town and believe your parkway tree is likely to need replacement because it cannot be properly or safely pruned, contact Greg Even before you depart to discuss the options for replacement. GEven@dpw.lacounty.org. Note: Mr. Even says root pruning can generally only be done on one side of the tree; therefore if multiple work is needed at a given site (e.g. curbs, aprons and/or sidewalks) the tree will not have adequate root stability to survive.
The County encourages property owners to request new as well as replacement trees to be planted in the parkway if the location meets the requirements below. Please refer to the Illustration “Parkway Trees & Minimum Spacing Criteria”. That’s correct, “FREE parkway trees“will be available even if you aren’t replacing a tree. The idea is to green up our neighborhood – trees are a valuable environ-mental addition.
If you would like a parkway tree, please email and they will add your location to the list. You may also request a specific type of tree in accordance with a street theme, if the tree is still on the approved parkway planting list.
When replaced, homeowners should ensure the tree’s planting/placement includes vertical piping to ensure the tree will establish a root system that goes down – not up/laterally – in search of water. This will save you water as well!
The Work Process:
Approximately one week in advance of any concrete replacement adjacent to your property, the con-tractor will leave a door-hanger informing the property owner/resident about the work.
48 hours prior to the start of concrete replacement or tree removal work No Parking signs will also be placed. Be sure your vehicles are out of the garage and driveway if your apron is involved and away from the area of curb which may be involved.
Private Trees – on your residential property (i.e. front or side yard):
Your private tree(s) roots may be problematic to the concreted areas of concern. The County will notify prop-erty owners about this situation and apprise them of their options.
If you do nothing to address the problem tree on your property, the DPW will continue to patch the loca-tion with asphalt until the tree is removed or root pruned by the property owner. Note if you wait and do it later, there is no guarantee that the concrete work will be available at your date of convenience.
If you opt to root prune your private tree, at your expense, the DPW recommends that you consult with an International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) certified arborist to have them evaluate whether your tree can be safely root pruned without compromising the structural integrity of the tree. The roots will need to be pruned and a root control barrier installed as shown in the diagrams below. Certified Arborists can be found on internet listings.