Street sweeping days are one of the many dates that Los Angeles residents try their best to stay apprised of so as not to be saddled with an infraction that can cost upwards of $40 and can rapidly double if not paid promptly.
Throughout the city, employees whose companies do not provide parking must also dodge the parking enforcement agents who frequently appear out of nowhere to cite them on days when the city’s Bureau of Street Services sends the street cleaning machine down one side of the block.
Playa Vista homeowners dread street sweeping days perhaps more than others because they know they could be cited if they park on the designated side of the street on certain days, and according to some residents interviewed recently, the streets will not be cleaned either.
“As a homeowner in Playa Vista, it is frustrating to continue to pay into the city coffers but to not have such a basic service such as periodic street cleaning being offered,” lamented Steve Donell, who lives in Playa Vista. “And it is certainly outrageous that the city is so aggressive in its parking ticket enforcement for street cleaning days, when this service has never been provided.”
City Councilman Bill Rosendahl said he was not aware that the infractions were being issued and Playa Vista’s streets had not been swept until The Argonaut notified him.
“I think it’s ludicrous to ticket anyone if we’re not providing street cleaning services,” said the councilman, who represents Playa Vista.
Dawn Suskin, the executive director of the Playa Vista Parks and Landscape Corporation, said the community’s infrastructure became official three years ago, when streets were eligible to be cleaned and violators could be ticketed for parking on street sweeping days.
But she noted that the community’s thoroughfares have never been cleaned by city crews. Initially, the developer paid for the service but at the beginning of this year the parks and landscape corporation took over that task.
“I was very involved in the street turnover process along with the developer Playa Capital Company, a representative from Los Angeles Department of Transportation and the (LAPD) Pacific division senior lead officer for our area,” Suskin said. “We met on a few occasions over a two month period and the Department of Transportation had a list of items they wanted the developer to do, and they had a few things they needed to do before the streets could officially be turned over to the city.”
In order to have a street or road dedicated and accepted by the city government, a property owner may be required to make certain improvements to a development, such as having standard signs, installing curbs and crosswalks and putting in utility boxes.
All items were completed and the Playa Vista streets were turned over on March 30, 2009, according to Suskin.
“Parking and traffic citations were issued almost immediately, which as a community was a good thing,” she recalled. “There was a real issue with speeders, people running stop signs and the developer’s street cleaner was not able to thoroughly clean the streets.
“It’s been nearly three years since the streets in Playa Vista were accepted and the city has yet to provide any street cleaning services.”
Suskin herself has fallen victim to the city’s parking enforcement officers.
“I have worked at Playa Vista for the master homeowners association for nearly nine years and have myself been ticketed on street cleaning days on a couple of occasions since the streets were accepted by the Los Angeles Department of Transportation and parking enforcement in the community began,” she said.
Following a series of recent phone calls and meetings with Public Works, the Department of Transportation and the Bureau of Street Services, it was determined that the city will soon begin sweeping the streets in Playa Vista.
“The signs were installed by one of Playa Vista’s homeowners associations (when Playa Vista’s first stage of development was being built),” Rosendahl explained. “I’ve talked to the city’s Bureau of Street Services and they will begin working on a street sweeping schedule.”
Whether the streets of the planned community of 6,000 residents were dedicated was a topic of conversation three years ago, and ironically centered around whether parking enforcement was allowed to ticket those who parked on the side of the street during the days that they were scheduled to be swept.
A group of residents at a Jan. 28, 2009 community meeting in Playa Vista told The Argonaut that cars had been parking for several weeks on some of the community’s roads without being ticketed and questioned whether the streets had been dedicated.
Jim Fisher, assistant general manager of the Department of Transportation, said that although the planned community’s infrastructure was dedicated, city officials had not “accepted” its streets at that time due to a variety of factors.
“There has been some miscommunication along the way, unfortunately,” Fisher said in a Feb. 10, 2009 interview.
The Department of Transportation executive said that Playa Vista might have inadvertently contributed to the confusion by installing certain signs before its thoroughfares were accepted by the city.
“They have put up unauthorized street sweeping and two-hour parking signs,” Fisher noted.
Rosendahl said the homeowners association wants the signs to remain in place for the same reasons that residents complained about three years ago. He also said the community’s streets, like most of those in the city, would not be cleaned as regularly as they were in the past due to budget cuts.
“We don’t have the workforce to do it like we used to,” the councilman said.
Rosendahl stressed that visitors and homeowners in Playa Vista will still be required to obey the signs on days that the streets are cleaned. “It’s up to the people to obey the laws in those locations,” he said.
Suskin declined to say how much the parks and landscape corporation was paying for street cleaning. “But suffice it to say it is a cost that the association should not have,” she added.
Rosendahl said the streets would begin being swept within a few weeks.