Yesterday, in a huge win for accessibility advocates, the disabled, and all people who use sidewalks, Los Angeles has agreed that it’s going to have to spend about $31 to $63 million every year over the next 30 years to repair its jagged, ruptured sidewalks so that they can actually be safely used by all members of the public. (The amount will start at $31 million and, in the future, rise to $63 million to help mitigate the increase in costs over time.) It’s estimated that 40 percent of LA’s sidewalks are in need of repair, says the LA Times. There’s no funding method in place (every past attempt has gone up in flames, and no real plan on how to approach repairs. So how will LA catch up with that pileup?
It’s not like LA doesn’t want to fix public walkways. The biggest problem is that there’s so much work to do and not a ton of money to do it. In the past, LA’s thought about funding sidewalk repairs with an increase to the sales tax and by allowing residents to tax themselves to fund fixes. The lawsuit settlement doesn’t say where the money for this massive undertaking is supposed to come from, which means that all options are on the table. The City Administrative Officer says LA might try to get grants to help meet some of the expense of fixing sidewalks. Even then, it’s not totally certain that the increased spending on repairs will take a big bite out of the “backlog” of sidewalks awaiting repairs.
The first perilous walkways to get the fix will be those closest to parks, schools, and hospitals, those that are in high-traffic areas, and those that have specifically been named by people with accessibility concerns. There’s still a big gray area surrounding sidewalk repair near private properties—namely, whose responsibility it is to fix said sidewalks when they are busted.
By: LA.Curbed.com/Bianca Barragan