Putting Streets Removed from Public Use Back On The Grid

In 2019, Councilmember Blumenfield successfully led the City Council to pass a new ordinance he wrote that would effectively reinstate over three hundred streets back into our City grid. Many of these streets were inappropriately removed from public use between 1936 and 1970 and consequently had never been repaved. Of the 374 streets that were removed from public use over the last 80 years, 84 are in Blumenfield’s district, the most of any district in the City. 

People had been complaining for decades that their streets were being neglected and they didn’t understand why the City would not repave their street, when others nearby were being repaired.  Blumenfield leaned in to solve this mystery and find a solution.  He found out that because these streets had been technically removed from public use, even though they were used by the public just as other nearby seemingly identical streets were being used, the City claimed that its legal duty was merely to ensure these streets were physically passable rather than maintaining, fixing and updating them like it does every other street in Los Angeles. But this made little sense as many of the removed streets are entwined with streets on the grid and most residents had no idea that their street was any different than others. 

Since becoming Chair of Public Works Committee Blumenfield made solving this problem a top priority.  The solution he found was complicated because were the City to simply have reinstated these streets back into the grid by ordinance, it would have triggered street widening, sidewalk and gutter requirements that would have been both extremely expensive and, in many cases, would have caused major opposition from the adjacent homeowners who would be impacted. Consequently, he achieved the goal by finding and rescinding each of the very old ordinances that removed the streets from the grid in the first place-- this required digging into the City’s archives and reconstructing actions that were taken, in some cases, more than 80 years ago before anything was computerized. Now these streets are once again eligible for street maintenance and repair.  Although repair will take time, Blumenfield continues to press for additional funds to make it happen.