It is certainly no secret that our sidewalks are broken and buckled throughout Los Angeles. Their condition poses pedestrian safety concerns and diminishes our quality of life. An estimated 40 percent of the city’s sidewalks, 4,600 miles, need to be repaired. Yet, coming up with a workable plan to fix them has proven elusive.
Over the last decade, there have been many valiant attempts to deal with our sidewalk problems, but because of budget challenges and legal concerns, no comprehensive repair policy has emerged. Now, there is an opportunity to move beyond piecemeal legislation and create a complete program.
In early July 2014, Council President Herb Wesson and Councilmember Joe Buscaino joined me in introducing two motions to create a “Citywide Sidewalk Repair Program.” The program prioritizes repairs based on need and creates ways to make sure they continue in the future. If implemented, the program will lead to the restoration of the city’s failing sidewalks in front of private homes and at commercial and public properties.
Here’s a snapshot of the proposed Citywide Sidewalk Repair Program:
- Repair buckled sidewalks at private residences and commercial properties by:
- Reconstituting the 50/50 shared cost sidewalk program to repair broken sidewalks at private homes, with 50% of the cost of repair paid by the city and 50% by homeowners;
- Developing a low- or no-interest revolving loan program from which homeowners can borrow to make sidewalk repairs and repay over a fixed term;
- Establishing a Sidewalk Repair Trust Fund to help pay for future sidewalk repairs at private homes;
- Developing a complaint-driven mapping and prioritization system to identify and coordinate repairs to sidewalks most dangerous to pedestrians;
- Creating an enforcement mechanism to ensure commercial property owners comply with existing sidewalk laws; and
- Developing a plan to create design and construction standards for sidewalks to maximize mobility.
- Repair public sidewalks at parks, municipal buildings and community facilities.
Click here to read the motions:
Ready for Repairs
The time is right to implement a comprehensive sidewalk repair program that has an end game in sight. Unlike in years past, the city has the resources to begin right now.
Mayor Garcetti and the City Council have appropriated more funding to fix sidewalks than at any time in recent memory. This fiscal year, there is $27 million available to complete much-needed repairs: $20 million budgeted by the Mayor and an additional $7 million in unspent funds allocated by the Budget and Finance Committee.
As our economy continues to improve, the city will prioritize continued funding to fix sidewalks in future budgets until every necessary repair is made. But money alone is not enough. Los Angeles must have a clear program in place to make certain the money appropriated for sidewalk repairs is used efficiently and effectively to benefit residents.
We Need Your Input
Your voice is critical to the success of this proposal. Only with your input and support will the program accomplish what we’re setting out to achieve.
For those reasons, I hope you will do the following three things:
(1) Attend the Joint Hearing on Sidewalk Repair: On Monday, Aug. 18, 1:30 p.m. at City Hall, the Budget and Finance and Public Works and Gang Reduction committees will hold a special joint hearing on the proposed program. In subsequent months, the committees will hear reports from staff on program specifics and consider stakeholder input before sending the final product to the full City Council for a vote.
(2) Opine Online: Read the sidewalk motions and let me know whether you agree with them. Click here to register your opinion.
(3) Adopt a Community Impact Statement: The opinion of your Neighborhood Council is important. That’s why I urge your NC to adopt a Community Impact Statement in support of our Citywide Sidewalk Repair Program. Please weigh in as soon as possible.
I realize that your NC may need some time to draft and approve a CIS. Please submit your CIS to the city by Oct. 1, 2014. After you do, please also email me a copy at email@example.com or mail a hard copy to my office: 200 N. Spring St., Room 435, Los Angeles, CA 90012.
Thank you in advance for your support. I believe that this comprehensive, sustainable program will pave the way for better, safer sidewalks in all of Los Angeles.
Very truly yours,
Councilmember, District 2