Fri, Sep

With More Than 4,000 Miles of Broken Sidewalks, How Can LA Ever Claim to be Pedestrian Friendly?

LA WATCHDOG-Without a long term plan, how can the City of Los Angeles claim that it wants to create a pedestrian friendly environment when over 40% of its 10,750 miles of sidewalks are in need of significant repair?     

Last week, Councilmember Paul Krekorian, along with Herb Wesson and Joe Buscaino, introduced two motions to address the repair of our sidewalks. 

The first motion focused on residential sidewalk repairs by proposing a program where the homeowner and the City would split the cost of repair 50-50.  The City is also considering programs to help finance the repair of privately owned sidewalks through the establishment of a low-or-no-interest revolving loan fund and the creation of neighborhood Assessment Districts that are not smothered by the City’s dysfunctional bureaucracy.    

This motion also charged the Chief Legislative Analyst and the Bureau of Street Services to develop an enforcement plan (including fines) for commercial properties and governmental properties not owned by the City. 

The second motion proposes a City Sidewalk Repair Program that will prioritize the repair of city-owned sidewalks to limit the City’s liability in case of accidents. 

Krekorian has also expressed his concern during budget hearings about the hundreds of millions of dollars of liabilities associated with Willits v City of Los Angeles, a class action lawsuit that alleges the City violated the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 because our sidewalks and curb ramps are inaccessible to people with mobility disabilities. 

While these proposed stop gap measures are better than nothing, the City needs to devote the necessary resources (estimated to be $5 to $10 million) to survey of all of our sidewalk curb ramps and to develop a comprehensive long term plan to repair and maintain our walk ways. 

The City must also devise a plan to finance the estimated $1.5 billion to $2 billion that it will cost to repair our failed sidewalks and curb ramps.  This would involve the issuance of long term bonds over a period of years that would be serviced by the huge incremental revenues from the 20% tax on DWP’s Power System revenues that are expected to double over the next ten to fifteen years. 

Krekorian is to be commended for highlighting the issue of our broken sidewalks.  But now he must push ahead and turn his proposals into action so that we can eventually walk on our sidewalks without having to worry about breaking our necks. 


The following is the July 2 Press Release by Paul Krekorian. 

Paving the Way to Better, Safer Sidewalks


LA City Councilman Paul Krekorian Introduces Comprehensive Citywide Sidewalk Repair Plan

 LOS ANGELES- Today, Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Krekorian introduced a Comprehensive Citywide Sidewalk Repair Program - a sweeping plan to fix the city’s failing sidewalks in front of private homes and commercial and public properties.    

“This is a critically important issue for people in the San Fernando Valley and all over the city, said Councilmember Paul Krekorian, District 2. “We have an opportunity to fully address the broken and buckled sidewalks have plagued Los Angeles for decades. This is a comprehensive, sustainable program that will result in sidewalk repairs at residential, public and commercial properties. It will pave the way for better, safer sidewalks across Los Angeles.” 

FIRST MOTION: Seeks to create a Comprehensive Citywide Sidewalk Repair Program to repair buckled sidewalks at private residences and commercial properties, including: 


  • Creating a Sidewalk Repair Trust Fund to help pay for future sidewalk repairs at private homes;
  • Reconstituting the 50/50 shared cost sidewalk program to repair current 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 pay the money back over a fixed term;
  • 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.



SECOND MOTION: Seeks to create a comprehensive program to fix public sidewalks in parks, municipal buildings, civic centers and other community facilities. The city should be a good neighbor and maintain its rights of way.  

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This is the first citywide sidewalk plan in decades. Councilmember Krekorian co-presented the motions with Council President Herb Wesson Jr., District 10. Councilmember Joe Buscaino, District 15, seconded both.   

The motions will be referred jointly to the Budget and Finance Committee and the Public Works and Gang Reduction Committees for discussion and further action.


 (Jack Humphreville writes LA Watchdog for CityWatch. He is the President of the DWP Advocacy Committee,  The Ratepayer Advocate for the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, and a Neighborhood Council Budget Advocate. Humphreville is the publisher of the Recycler Classifieds -- www.recycler.com. He can be reached at:  lajack@gmail.com. Hear Jack every Tuesday morning at 6:20 on McIntyre in the Morning, KABC Radio 790.) 






Vol 12 Issue 58

Pub: Jul 18, 2014