Traffic engineers and urban planners: Why would a short stretch of street be raised two feet?

(Emphasis mine)

Do you consider this concrete from 1949 dark?

(From the 1200 block of South Brockton Avenue, where most of the sidewalk pavement went down in the late 1920s, but this particular block is a later repair.)

While it’s obviously darker than a recent paving job, it still seems fairly light in color. Whenever I’ve visited cities outside SoCal the sidewalks have seemed a lot darker. I don’t know why that is or whether it’s due to differences in climate or rather in the amount of pedestrian wear.

Is there any way you could still contact this person and ask, perhaps via email? I no longer live in the area or else I might try to figure out a way to contact them myself. That is, other than by letter. I’ve tried that in the past once or twice, in similar circumstances, without success.

I’m interested in this particular property because I suspect that the build date of record in this case may be incorrect–that does happen from time to time. I’ve been trying to find the former location of a Palm Villa or Villa Palm Hotel that is listed in a 1904 tourists’ guidebook to SoCal, but even with the Sanborn maps my search has been fruitless. We know from newspaper mentions that the hotel was established around 1890 or earlier, but nothing yet has revealed its location. Advertisements and guidebooks of the era, virtually without exception, tell us only that a business or residence was “in The Palms”, and leave it at that–no intersection or street address. Apparently you were expected to simply travel there and ask somebody when you arrived.

Because of that house’s odd design, I can’t help wonder if it might actually have been the hotel, or at least on the same property. Not all the available clues corroborate, but at this point I begin to question the accuracy of the 1890s news items, concerned.

Yeah, pretty much. It’s not like it turns dark grey in colour or anything.

A surveyor or title office might have plans showing the location of the old hotel. I don’t know how they did things in the US, but old cadastral plans in NZ often show notable buildings (usually as a little black square with a tiny label as they aren’t really the focus of the plans.)

We had some work done at Water’s Auto Body earlier this year!

My guess is that originally the turn was sharper. Look at the sharper angle of the road on the far side across from Norm’s Fabrics – it creates a wider bit where cars can easily park. I bet the sidewalk next to Norm’s originally had a grassy verge next to it all the way to the old corner. The old corner would have been about in the middle of the current right lane.

At some point the higher speed/increased volume of traffic on National prompted the city to widen the inner part of the curve. So the street now runs really close to the corner of Norm’s (look how narrow the sidewalk gets). When they repaved over the old corner, it was easier to raise the road slightly. Maybe there was a fireplug there, or a streetlight or a storm drain, something that would have been a pain to completely remove. Instead they just paved over the obstruction and the road got slightly higher.