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Los Angeles Passes Plan to Fix Its Bad Sidewalks

The "fix and release" program will have the city fixing them up and then handing them over to property owners

Los Angeles's horribly busted sidewalks have been a thorn in the city's side for years, and thanks to a lawsuit the city lost last year, they have to get moving fast on a way to fix them as soon as possible. Though there have been plenty of ideas over the years that fizzled, the one that has now risen to the top has the city fixing sidewalks and then turning the newly repaired walkways over to private citizens and businesses, who would be responsible for the upkeep from that point on.

Now, the LA City Council has voted to make this citywide sidewalk fix a reality, says the LA Times. The next step is for city attorneys to draft a new ordinance that would get the wheels turning on the entire plan, including a repeal of a city law that requires LA to foot the bill for repairing sidewalks that were damaged by city trees—a demand LA just couldn't keep up with.

The new program is planned to roll out in July, when the new budget year begins. Features of the plan include:

—A warranty of 20 years for residential properties and five years for both commercial and industrial properties; once the city fixes sidewalks, property owners are entitled to one more repair if something goes wrong within the warranty period (the warranty applies only in cases where the damage or issue is the city's fault).

—A ceiling for how much money can be spent on sidewalks at a certain site, so that the money gets spread around instead of gobbled up at one large or expensive location.

—Rebates for property owners who fix their own sidewalks before the city gets to repairing them; people who make the repairs within the first three years of the program could be reimbursed for "roughly half of the average cost per square foot" of sidewalk and won't have to pay permit fees.