City Hall pushes for comprehensive sidewalk repair program

Cones cover the site of a public sidewalk repair project on February 10, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.
Cones cover the site of a public sidewalk repair project on February 10, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. David McNew/Getty Images

City Hall leaders are seeking a comprehensive plan to repair cracked and broken sidewalks throughout the city of Los Angeles, and they have $27 million in starter funds -- a significant jump from what city officials have spent in previous years. 

Under the motions from Councilmen Paul Krekorian and Herb Wesson, a Sidewalk Repair Trust Fund would be established to earmark funds for sidewalk repairs. This year's budget included $20 million for repairs and another $7 million that went unspent last year. Speaking to reporters, Krekorian said the city was unable to spend all of its money last year because it didn't have a clear vision for repairing sidewalks. 

"The idea was let's have a thoughtful, comprehensive conversation about all of the different approaches that we can take to effectively and sustainably initiative a long-term sidewalk replacement program within the confines of this funding that we've already appropriated," Krekorian said. 

The councilmen also want to explore alternative ways to fund repairs, including: 

  • The 50/50 program, which allows residential property owners and City Hall to split the costs of repairs
  • Low- and no-interest loans to property owners who want to fix sidewalks in front of their buildings
  • Assessment districts that allow neighborhoods to pay for maintenance in their communities

"We really need to start making a substantial investment in reducing the city's exposure to liability and improving the public's access to our public spaces and also improving the infrastructure in our communities," Krekorian said. 

The motions comes shortly after two other council members, Joe Buscaino and Mitch Englander, declined to pursue a sales tax measure that would have generated funds to fix failing streets and sidewalks. 

The Los Angeles City Council will be on recess through the end of the moth. A joint hearing of the Budget and Public Works committees is expected to be held when the council reconvenes. 

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