Politics

Los Angeles's broken sidewalks to get fixed — sometime in the next 30 years

File: Damaged sidewalk in downtown Los Angeles.
File: Damaged sidewalk in downtown Los Angeles.
Pinelife/Flickr Creative Commons

The Los Angeles City Council unanimously voted to approve a sidewalk repair plan at their meeting Tuesday. The plan calls for the city to cover the cost of the first repair — then hand off the responsibility for future fixes to the property owner.

"Our sidewalks are an embarrassment," said Councilman Joe Buscaino.

The plan passed Tuesday after being approved in committee last month. It calls for the city to spend about $30 million a year over the next three decades to make those initial repairs.

Councilman Paul Krekorian supports the plan.

"We've developed a policy that will work, that will fix every sidewalk in the city of Los Angeles, and importantly, will make sure that no one will have to dig into pocket to fix the sidewalk for many, many years to come," Krekorian said.

The plan rolls back a longstanding rule that held L.A. responsible for repairing sidewalks that buckled thanks to nearby trees. California state law already said that adjacent property owners were responsible for those sidewalk repairs, but L.A. had previously taken on the responsibility for sidewalks in the city that were damaged by trees.

Krekorian described the decision 40 years ago to take on repairing sidewalk damage caused by tree roots as "short-sighted," giving the city a responsibility without having the resources to live up to it.

The sidewalks come with a 20-year warranty from the city in residential areas, though commercial and industrial areas only get a five-year warranty on their sidewalks.