Following an audit from Controller Galperin, serious issues were outlined regarding the processes and efficiency of the City’s current sidewalk maintenance program

LOS ANGELES, CA – Today in the LA City Council’s Public Works Committee, Chairman Bob Blumenfield advanced initial recommendations to improve the City’s sidewalk repair efforts. Blumenfield’s first action is to formally call on his colleagues to support a comprehensive assessment of all city sidewalks to better understand the magnitude of the problem, and inform future policy discussions. In addition, he calls on City departments to develop a proposal to respond more quickly to sidewalk problems with short- and medium-term repairs.   

“Everyone who uses our sidewalks in Los Angeles knows there is a lot of work to do before we can say we have the infrastructure our City deserves. We must begin making changes on how things have been done in the past,” said Chairman Bob Blumenfield. “You can’t fix a problem you can’t measure and we can’t piecemeal solutions to a problem of this magnitude. We need to build off of what the Controller has outlined and start with a thorough audit of every sidewalk in the City, including places where needed sidewalks and curb ramps are missing.”

Last November, Controller Galperin released Repairing L.A.’s Broken Sidewalk Strategy, an examination of the programs tasked with fixing sidewalks. It highlights how the current strategy hasn't been working fast enough and isn't adequately funded to meet basic sidewalk repair needs. This has led to, as the report states, more than 1,700 claims and 1,020 lawsuits for sidewalk injuries over the past five years, paying out more than $35 million in settlements, including $12 million in FY 2020. In addition, less than 1% of sidewalk parcels have been certified as repaired and there is a backlog of 50,000 sidewalks that need to be fixed. 

Beyond the Willits settlement that allocates more than $30 million annually to fix ADA violations on sidewalks, the City repairs sidewalks and curb ramps through other programs, but it hasn't been enough. Furthermore, the City's historic failure to develop a comprehensive sidewalk maintenance and repair program- or to adequately maintain City-owned trees in the public right-of-way- has made many property owners reluctant to allow the planting of trees that provide important environmental and community benefits.

Blumenfield concluded, “This is not just a question about funding, it’s about how we as a City must be open to making needed changes to our policies if there are more efficient avenues to fix our shared infrastructure. And while this is a long-term problem that requires long-term solutions, we must do a better job of short- and medium-term fixes that quickly address minor tripping hazards and obstacles to mobility for all Angelenos.”

Chairman Blumenfield’s recommendations will soon be heard in the Personnel, Audits, and Animal Welfare Committee, followed by the full City Council. 


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  • Jake Flynn
    published this page in Newsroom 2022-01-13 19:23:32 -0800