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Patching San Diego curbs is only a patch job

City responds to citizen complaints

Offending La Jolla curb – from Get It Done app.
Offending La Jolla curb – from Get It Done app.

In the last 30 days, there were about 210 curb-related reports on our city's Get It Done app.

Requests for reapplying red paint on pinkish-hued, faded curbs are a common request. When motorists park within red curbed areas, their parked vehicles, especially RVs and cargo trucks, block other drivers' vantage points as they advance into incoming traffic.

Other San Diegans are requesting the exact opposite.

"This curb is painted red," explained a La Jolla dweller on the city's app on December 14, "presumably by the homeowner, who has also written in white over the illegal red paint, 'don't ever park here,' repeatedly. The red curb is not near the intersection with Marine Street, so there is no turning radius impact. The distance between driveway aprons, where the curb is painted, is 70 feet in length; the illegal red curb with the white lettering is less than that."

Three days prior and about 18 miles southeast, a Southcrest local posted: "Illegal red spray paint on the curb. There has never been any paint on this street corner before, and the neighbor illegally painted it about a month ago so people would not park in front of his house. Another neighbor did it across the street."

JP's curb in Normal Heights. "A Mr. Richards looked at Google maps photos of my curb from 2019."

"According to San Diego Police, painting a curb red is a misdemeanor crime of vandalism," reported ABC 10News in July. "If caught, a person can be cited or arrested."

As this article goes to print, the app lists both red curb reports as "new," which indicates that report was successfully uploaded into the system and will be viewed and/or assessed by a city employee. Other curb requests are labeled as "in process" or "closed," sometimes accompanied by an updated photo depicting the repair or the cleanup.

Before moving to North Park in 2015, we lived in Normal Heights between the 15 and 805 freeways south of I-8. Throughout the eight years that we lived around the corner from the Normal Heights sign, I noticed soil always building upon certain streets. "But why?" I wondered.

Earlier this month, JP, my former neighbor, answered that lingering question on a Facebook photo.

"Six weeks ago, I put in an order regarding my curb," he wrote in part to Councilmember Chris Ward. "I was told someone would come out, inspect it, and get back to me, [and] if I heard nothing, I was to call back. I did today (November 30). No one has been out to inspect. A Mr. Richards looked at Google maps photos of my curb from 2019 and told me someone would be out to patch my curb, as it did not need replacement. I looked at that picture from almost two years ago, not the same as now. About ten years ago, the city had patched this curb, and it did not last. I am sending pictures; the curb that remains is maybe one inch above the pavement. Neighbors on both sides have had their curbs replaced with new curbs. This is not getting it done; most of the curb is gone completely. What a bunch of horse hockey."

Complaint about curb on Howard near Alabama

"I have to say that we got no satisfaction from Ward when we approached his office repeatedly," responded someone from Normal Heights, "just crickets."

I hopped onto Google maps, viewed my old neighborhood, and couldn't see JP’s curb details from the maximum zoomed-in top view vantage point. Then, when I switched to the street-view mode, detailed depictions of the curbs were evident, as the dirt remnants on the streets that I recall. It seems that after it rains or residents water their yards, and if the curb separating the sidewalk from the soil is eroded, as in JP's photos, the dirt will make its way onto the sidewalks and streets. Other residents on the Get It Done app mentioned similar assessments.

About a week ago, the city addressed JP's request.

"Two gentlemen came out today and patched my curb. The first thing they said was the curb really needed to be replaced, but their order was to patch. Something they related to the inspection being done using Google maps from three years ago, instead of in person. Some useful information. If you want work done, take pictures, and emphasize the hazard to the elderly people in the neighborhood, including yourself, if you fit that description. They also recommended that I take pictures of their repairs noting the date and when the patch falls apart to send in a new work request noting the patch did not work. Now the curb is a hazard to myself as an elderly person and to other seniors in the neighborhood. Lastly, they noted the 50/50 replacement program gets a much quicker response from the city as it saves them money."

Another person in my old neighborhood by Adams Avenue said that they've tripped on curb debris while jogging. Another said she popped her tire when pulling into a damaged curb.

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Offending La Jolla curb – from Get It Done app.
Offending La Jolla curb – from Get It Done app.

In the last 30 days, there were about 210 curb-related reports on our city's Get It Done app.

Requests for reapplying red paint on pinkish-hued, faded curbs are a common request. When motorists park within red curbed areas, their parked vehicles, especially RVs and cargo trucks, block other drivers' vantage points as they advance into incoming traffic.

Other San Diegans are requesting the exact opposite.

"This curb is painted red," explained a La Jolla dweller on the city's app on December 14, "presumably by the homeowner, who has also written in white over the illegal red paint, 'don't ever park here,' repeatedly. The red curb is not near the intersection with Marine Street, so there is no turning radius impact. The distance between driveway aprons, where the curb is painted, is 70 feet in length; the illegal red curb with the white lettering is less than that."

Three days prior and about 18 miles southeast, a Southcrest local posted: "Illegal red spray paint on the curb. There has never been any paint on this street corner before, and the neighbor illegally painted it about a month ago so people would not park in front of his house. Another neighbor did it across the street."

JP's curb in Normal Heights. "A Mr. Richards looked at Google maps photos of my curb from 2019."

"According to San Diego Police, painting a curb red is a misdemeanor crime of vandalism," reported ABC 10News in July. "If caught, a person can be cited or arrested."

As this article goes to print, the app lists both red curb reports as "new," which indicates that report was successfully uploaded into the system and will be viewed and/or assessed by a city employee. Other curb requests are labeled as "in process" or "closed," sometimes accompanied by an updated photo depicting the repair or the cleanup.

Before moving to North Park in 2015, we lived in Normal Heights between the 15 and 805 freeways south of I-8. Throughout the eight years that we lived around the corner from the Normal Heights sign, I noticed soil always building upon certain streets. "But why?" I wondered.

Earlier this month, JP, my former neighbor, answered that lingering question on a Facebook photo.

"Six weeks ago, I put in an order regarding my curb," he wrote in part to Councilmember Chris Ward. "I was told someone would come out, inspect it, and get back to me, [and] if I heard nothing, I was to call back. I did today (November 30). No one has been out to inspect. A Mr. Richards looked at Google maps photos of my curb from 2019 and told me someone would be out to patch my curb, as it did not need replacement. I looked at that picture from almost two years ago, not the same as now. About ten years ago, the city had patched this curb, and it did not last. I am sending pictures; the curb that remains is maybe one inch above the pavement. Neighbors on both sides have had their curbs replaced with new curbs. This is not getting it done; most of the curb is gone completely. What a bunch of horse hockey."

Complaint about curb on Howard near Alabama

"I have to say that we got no satisfaction from Ward when we approached his office repeatedly," responded someone from Normal Heights, "just crickets."

I hopped onto Google maps, viewed my old neighborhood, and couldn't see JP’s curb details from the maximum zoomed-in top view vantage point. Then, when I switched to the street-view mode, detailed depictions of the curbs were evident, as the dirt remnants on the streets that I recall. It seems that after it rains or residents water their yards, and if the curb separating the sidewalk from the soil is eroded, as in JP's photos, the dirt will make its way onto the sidewalks and streets. Other residents on the Get It Done app mentioned similar assessments.

About a week ago, the city addressed JP's request.

"Two gentlemen came out today and patched my curb. The first thing they said was the curb really needed to be replaced, but their order was to patch. Something they related to the inspection being done using Google maps from three years ago, instead of in person. Some useful information. If you want work done, take pictures, and emphasize the hazard to the elderly people in the neighborhood, including yourself, if you fit that description. They also recommended that I take pictures of their repairs noting the date and when the patch falls apart to send in a new work request noting the patch did not work. Now the curb is a hazard to myself as an elderly person and to other seniors in the neighborhood. Lastly, they noted the 50/50 replacement program gets a much quicker response from the city as it saves them money."

Another person in my old neighborhood by Adams Avenue said that they've tripped on curb debris while jogging. Another said she popped her tire when pulling into a damaged curb.

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But what about the faded green street signs all over the county? Some are unreadable now thanks to sun bleaching.

Dec. 23, 2020

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