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City Grades Streets A Through F, L.A. Times Draws Fancy Map

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Photo by Deborah Fitchett via Flickr
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According to a report in Saturday's L.A. Times, there are wide disparities in the quality of roads within the city's 114 neighborhoods. To which the average Angeleno, weary of potholes, chipped bodywork and missing fillings, might respond, "Tell me something I don't know."

The paper did. It went to the trouble of analyzing street inspection data and came up with this rather lovely map, reflecting the grade of nearly every thoroughfare. "A" means no cracking or oxidation; "F" means major or unsafe cracking.

Not surprisingly, streets in more recently developed areas such as Playa Vista scored a B average, 80 percent higher than those in Silver Lake, whose roads rank among the worst, with a D-minus average (a statistic not lost on the local Eastsider blog). Same for Hancock Park.

Indeed, as the article points out, some of the poorest parts of the city have some of the best roads—and vice versa. Many of the lowest-ranked streets are found within posh yet hilly 'hoods such as Bel Air and the Hollywood Hills.

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The reason for the widespread low ratings? Aging streets, heavy traffic, undulating terrain and the sheer size of the network. (Apparently, L.A. has the largest municipal system in the country with 6,500 miles of paved roadway.)

Rather depressingly, the story goes on to say, "But layered on top of those problems is a street repair strategy that bypasses the worst streets in favor of preserving salvageable ones… There is a 60-year backlog of failed streets—meaning residents might not see them fixed in their lifetimes."

And while the powers that be do apparently care—"I not only sympathize with those residents, I also empathize," Nazario Sauceda, director of the city Bureau of Street Services, told the Times—a whopping $2.6 billion is what's needed to fix the problem for good… until the next pothole appears.