Why Are Some of L.A.’s Curbs So Damn High?

No, Maaco is not to blame

For answers to more of your burning questions, visit the Ask Chris archive.

What is the purpose (if any) of the extremely high curbs in some neighborhoods around L.A.?

Every time my car door scrapes one I imagine Maaco put them there, but those foot-high curbs were part of an early flood control system. Before storm drains were common, engineers planned streets in flood zones to capture runoff from a “100-year storm.”

Changing a curb means raising the street or lowering the sidewalk—each is a huge undertaking—so you might have to wait 100 years for a new one. Maybe we’ll get some more rain by then, too.

RELATED: What’s the Deal With “Dirt Mulholland”? 

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