L.A. City Council Approves $1.4 Billion Sidewalk Repair Program

LA's sidewalk repair program now prioritzes where people actually walk
LA's sidewalk repair program now prioritzes where people actually walk

Today, the Los Angeles City Council approved the final touches to get its $1.4 billion sidewalk repair program going. This unprecedented L.A. city investment in sidewalk repair is due to the class action lawsuit Willits v. City of Los Angeles, concerning making the public right-of-way accessible to people with disabilities. The $1.4 billion will be spent over ten years beginning this current fiscal year.

The city program is essentially the fix-and-release model, outlined in 2015 and approved by joint committees last March. Under fix-and-release, the city will do extensive repair of broken sidewalks, then turn over sidewalk maintenance responsibility to property owners. L.A.’s fix-and-release program has drawbacks—including concerns over equity and street tree health—but today’s approval nonetheless gets needed sidewalk repair construction underway.

Today’s council action included approving several interlocked items (more detailed summaries are available on the meeting agenda):

  • Adopt ordinance to return sidewalk repair to property owners, and related programs (council file 14-0163-S10)
  • Set up Sidewalk Repair Incentive and Cost-Sharing Rebate Program (council file 14-0163-S3)
  • Designate specific departments to be responsible for various aspects of sidewalk repair (council file 14-0163-S11)
  • Direct Bureau of Street Services Urban Forestry Division to report on tree removal and replacement (council file 15-0467-S6)
  • Direct Bureau of Street Services to report on hiring additional tree pruning crews (council file 15-0467-S3)

The city sidewalk repair program will go by the name Safe Sidewalks L.A. The city has set up a new sidewalk program website, available starting tomorrow. Anyone can use the website to report L.A. sidewalks that need repairs. Anyone with a mobility disability can request free sidewalk repairs or new curb ramps. Property owners can also take part in a rebate program to incentivize early sidewalk repairs. Under the rebate program, owners can receive $2,000 for repairs at a residential lot or $4,000 at a commercial lot.

Additional sidewalk repair program coverage is available at KPCC and NBC.

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