L.A. County Public Works has an app for that

A storm drain at Centinela Avenue and Teale Street in Playa Vista is completely clogged with vegetation Photo by Linda McNally

A storm drain at Centinela Avenue and Teale Street in Playa Vista is completely clogged with vegetation
Photo by Linda McNally

A little green space can be a welcome addition to a city streetscape — except when it’s a bunch of weeds clogging up a storm drain with El Niño on the way.

That’s the situation on Centinela Avenue near Teale Street, where one of nature’s guerilla gardens is blocking up a drain across the road from the future Playa Vista office of Yahoo Inc.

Local dentist Kevin McNally, whose practice is located behind th e drain, and his wife Linda McNally said they’ve reported the problem to various local authorities. A few years ago, a call to the Hyperion Treatment Plant got the drain cleared out, but this year the McNallys say a Hyperion rep referred them to the L.A. Bureau of Street Services, which referred them to the L.A. Bureau of Sanitation — all, so far, to no avail.

“Recent rains over the last few months fed the growth, and now the drain is effectively blocked and the water puddle can extend into the middle lane of Centinela,” Kevin McNally says. “Aside from the nuisance of passing cars at high speeds splashing water onto the front of my building, the opportunity for an auto accident as cars careen westbound on Centinela and hit this water hazard is predictable.”

Even in dry weather, the area has been prone to crashes. Last year a driver traveling on Centinela lost control and his car jumped the curb, striking McNally’s building. A block away at Major Street, a driver lost control and crashed into Evolution Fitness earlier this year.

L.A. County Public Works spokesman Mike Kaspar, who tells The Argonaut he’ll alert dispatch to the drain, says there are two ways that people can alert authorities of similar problems and expect a quick response.

A department smartphone app called The Works allows users to report clogged drains, graffiti, illegal dumping and other issues — regardless of jurisdiction — by uploading a photo of the problem. The app uses the phone’s GPS coordinates to alert the correct city or county agency, Kaspar says.

Another option is to call the County Public Works dispatch line at (800) 675-HELP (4357).

We’ll keep an eye on the drain. Meanwhile, “I wish I could get my tomatoes to grow like that,” McNally says.

— Joe Piasecki

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