Mayor Eric Garcetti seeing results of the "Safe Sidewalks LA" program. Photo via @MayorofLA Twitter feed
Mayor Eric Garcetti seeing results of the “Safe Sidewalks LA” program. Photo via @MayorofLA Twitter feed

Mayor Eric Garcetti showed off a recently repaired sidewalk in Sherman Oaks Thursday to help promote the city’s $1.4 billion program to fix 11,000 miles of sidewalks over the next 30 years.

Since setting the program into motion in late November, the city has fixed about 33 miles of sidewalks, according to the mayor’s office.

“We made a historic commitment to make these repairs, because safe sidewalks that are easy to traverse are at the heart of getting back to basics,” Garcetti said.

“I’m encouraging Angelenos to take advantage of these programs so that everyone, regardless of their ability, can move around in their neighborhoods,” he said. “When we repair our sidewalks, we improve the safety and quality of life in our communities, raise property values, and boost our sense of neighborhood pride.”

The Safe Sidewalks LA program was created to repair a backlog of broken sidewalks, and the city agreed to the repairs as part of a legal settlement with disability advocates.

About 40 years ago, city leaders committed to taking responsibility for fixing broken sidewalks, but the city soon ran out of money for repairs. The question of who should pay for sidewalk fixes was also up in the air because state law says it is the responsibility of the adjacent property owners.

The City Council voted in 2016 to adopt a “fix-and-release” strategy that includes repealing a law that makes the city responsible for the repairs, while also committing to paying for the entire expense of one-time repairs.

“Safe Sidewalks LA is the culmination of many hard years of work and public input,” Councilman Paul Krekorian said. We now have an operational program that allows Angelenos to get their sidewalks fixed outside their homes and businesses. This is already changing the pedestrian experience in our great city and improving safety in our neighborhoods.”

Garcetti’s office said the city has repaired sidewalks at 71 locations since the program began, and that for every one tree removed to repair a sidewalk, two trees are planted in its place. The 71 locations were identified by Angelenos with mobility-related disabilities.

Councilman David Ryu said safe sidewalks are critical for the preservation of our neighborhoods. However, for nearly four decades, the city has been stuck with a broken policy for sidewalk repairs.”

” The Safe Sidewalk LA program tackles this long-standing issue by addressing it with common sense solutions,” he said. “This is an exciting step forward in our city’s work toward enhancing the quality of life for all Angelenos.”

As part of the program, residents can also participate in a cost-share option and rebates are offered to property owners who initiate and pay for their own repairs.

— City News Service

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