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Report: LA Should Should Fix Sidewalks Near Private Property, Then Leave Upkeep to Owners

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Now that Los Angeles legally has to fix its miles of busted-up sidewalks, it's finally hammering out the details of how it'll do repairs now and into the future as it embarks on a $1.4-billion plan that will, over three decades, attempt to conquer a huge backlog of fixes on the sometimes dangerous walkways. A new report out from the City Administrative Officer presents a handful of recommendations, one of whichis that commercial property owners should repair the sidewalks around their properties on their own, without city money, says the LA Times.

Commercial owners would have a year to get their sidewalks up to snuff under that plan; the report suggests the city provide a list of approved contractors and waive permit fees for the repairs. The city would repair the sidewalks broken by tree roots that are near private homes, but the responsibility to keep them in good condition once they're fixed would be on the property owners. (The report calls this "fix and release.")

Shifting sidewalk maintenance to anyone other than the city would depend on another the implementation of another suggestion in the CAO's plan—that the city "repeal an exception to a section of the municipal code [dating to the 1970s] that gave the city responsibility for walkways." (In the rest of the state, the onus is on property owners to fix their sidewalks, but LA had previously chosen to take on that responsibility when there was federal money to do the repairs. Now there is not any federal money.)

Even before the city begins to chip away at the backlog of sidewalk mending, it's probably going to have to conduct a thorough inspection of the entire city to create "an inventory of sidewalks and curb ramps," because right now there's no idea exactly how many miles of sidewalk even exist in LA, or whether or not they're in good or bad or impassable condition. There is also no "centralized" report of where there are curb ramps throughout the city, or what condition they're in. The report notes, "Without this information, it will be difficult to measure progress as the City implements its new sidewalk management strategy."
· L.A. sidewalk repair costs should shift to property owners, city report says [LAW]
· Los Angeles Finally Being Forced to Fix Its Terrible Sidewalks [Curbed LA]
· Meet the Block With Los Angeles's Most Dangerous Sidewalks [Curbed LA]