L.A. to Explore Sidewalk Repair ‘Strategy’
City manager given 60 days to return with a plan.
By City News Service
The Los Angeles City Council took a step Tuesday toward ending 40 years of inaction on fixing broken sidewalks, instructing city staffers to begin developing a “comprehensive” repair program.
An estimated 4,600 miles of the city’s 11,000 miles of sidewalks need repairs, which could cost about $1.5 billion, officials say. The city budgeted $27 million this year to fix sidewalks next to city-owned property.
The council voted 12-0 to look into a variety of strategies for funding repairs, including offering loans, sharing the costs with property owners and setting up assessment districts. Another idea would require sidewalks to be repaired when properties are sold to a new owner.
The city administrative officer was instructed to report back in 60 days on the strategies.
The repair program, proposed by Councilmen Paul Krekorian and Joe Buscaino, also includes surveying neighborhood councils, setting up a trust fund dedicated to repair projects and creating a map to identify problem sidewalks.
“It is our responsibility to pitch in, roll up our sleeves and commit to solving this problem,” Buscaino said before the vote.
Krekorian said Tuesday’s action is “the first step of what will be a long journey, but I’m convinced it will be a journey that will produce results that we’ve waited for.”
Efforts to repair sidewalks have been tripped up by confusion over who bears responsibility for the walkways. Even though state law puts the responsibility of the repairs on the owner of the property next to the sidewalk, the city in 1973 decided to take on repairs for sidewalks damaged by overgrown tree roots. That program ran out of funds after two years and the list of broken sidewalks has grown ever since.
The city “embarked upon a path that has failed its residents for the last four decades,” resulting in sidewalks falling “into a state of completely unacceptable disrepair — a state that is potentially dangerous to public safety that limits accessibility and detracts from the quality of life in our neighborhoods,” Krekorian said.
The city is also the target of a class-action lawsuit that alleges the city has failed to give physically disabled people proper access to sidewalks.
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August 28, 2014 Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.