Road conditions in La Puente fuel safety concerns


Potholes dot Valley Boulevard. (Monica Tamayo/Community News)

Monica Tamayo, Community News Digital Editor

Folks driving through one of the main thoroughfares in La Puente notice a few things right off the bat.

There’s the drive-thru donut shop that’s shaped just like a giant donut.

Down the block are a handful of strip clubs.

Finally, there’s the bumpy ride.

Residents say potholes in the city seem to be expanding after each winter storm – especially on Valley Boulevard.

The road stretches approximately 25 miles starting in Pomona to Los Angeles. On a number of stretches of Valley Boulevard, drivers encounter roads filled with rocky asphalt pieces and numerous potholes – leading some to abruptly swerve and put lives at risk.

“It’s so dangerous, especially when you try to cross the bridge to Hacienda Boulevard. People often try to dodge the holes and it makes me very nervous when I drive. You could be driving nice and calm and suddenly someone will slide right by you with their car,” said Beatrice Castellanos, who has been living in La Puente since the late 1980s.

She recalled that the road maintenance was once outstanding but as years went by, conditions deteriorated.

Although local governments might save money putting off repairs, some consumers lose out. Repair bills for pothole damage can cost up to $1,000, according to the American Automobile Association. Its 2011 survey found that “nearly 30 million U.S. drivers experienced pothole damage.”

Teresa Hernandez, who lives in Mexico and frequently visits her son in La Puente, said something must be done about Valley Boulevard. “It’s all cracked up…[The city should] remove the asphalt and start over again,” she said.

According to the city of La Puente’s website, the city is responsible for its 34.5 miles of streets and medians, including a section of Valley Boulevard, while Los Angeles County is responsible for parts nearby that are in unincorporated areas.

Over the past few weeks, public works has repaired and filled major holes and cracks on Valley boulevard, according to City Manager Bob Lindsey.

Unfortunately, the city was recently denied a road improvement grant because “there was not a focus on bike path and our focus was predominantly on the failing roads and the safety of vehicular commuters,” Lindsey wrote in an email. Because it didn’t get the grant, he said the city used a loan from its neighbor, the city of Industry, to help reconstruct a portion of Valley Boulevard.

City residents and others who use the road can expect improvements soon, according to Lindsey. He said, “La Puente hopes to have positioned itself by summer to begin Valley Boulevard renovation and a systematic repair and replacement of streets with renovation focused around our community schools and high visibility areas.”

Community News reporters are enrolled in JOUR 3910 – University Times. They produce stories about under-covered neighborhoods and small cities on the Eastside and South Los Angeles. Please email feedback, corrections and story tips to [email protected]