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Enhanced Crew Tackles Downtown Maintenance  
By Jonathan Friedman
Lookout Staff

March 4, 2010 -- During a recent tour of a Downtown parking structure, maintenance worker Arturo Gonzalez points to small patches of dirt that he will soon remove, graffiti that has been quickly erased and a spotless bathroom that is constantly being cleansed.

To Gonzalez, the parking structure is like a small child that needs constant care and attention. Gonzalez is one of a dozen workers in an enhanced Bayside District maintenance program started in July to improve the condition of the parking structures, which are often the welcoming point for Downtown visitors.

Three shifts of workers are on the job all hours of the day to maintain the eight public structures, including the two City owned garages at Santa Monica Place, which have remained open during the mall's ambitious remodel. (Santa Monica Place will reopen on August 6. See story on page 4.) So far, the crews have addressed 7,367 requests for maintenance.

“Having a round-the-clock team is helpful in the structures,” said Andrew Thomas, Director of Operations for the Bayside District. “A lot goes on in those structures, especially after hours.”

Bankrolled with $1.2 million in revenues from the Downtown's new Property Based Assessment District, the enhanced cleaning crews scour the Promenade and surrounding streets, powerwashing sidewalks, alleys and parking structures.

The new budget allows the power-washing crews to clean a larger area more frequently – including the sidewalks and alleys – and deep clean the entire Promenade once a month, instead of every three months.


The expanded area includes Ocean Avenue and the Colorado Avenue alleys, as well as the parking structure stairwells, which had long been the source of complaints. In addition, the Promenade is now also cleaned from property line to property line, instead of eight feet from each curb.

Thomas has been getting positive feedback on the program, especially when it comes to the condition of the bathrooms, which are now staffed and cleaned using a sophisticated new piece of equipment called the Kaivac.

The machine allows workers to clean the area while remaining at a safe and hygienic distance. The Kaivac’s pressure shooter sprays water and then vacuums up the liquid.

Gonzalez, a native Santa Monican, has been on the crew since the program’s inception, landing the job after being unemployed for a year.

“This job really keeps me on my toes, keeps me busy,” Gonzalez said.

In addition to taking care of the structures, Gonzalez also assists visitors, directing them to Santa Monica’s many destinations and helping them locate their vehicles in the multi-story structures.

“It’s really good to help people,” Gonzalez said.


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