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City Hall Wants To Spend $27 Million To Fix Sidewalks

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Two city councilmen have come up with an idea to fix some of L.A.'s buckled and cracked sidewalks, so the next time you step outside of your apartment building you won't have to worry about stumbling. Just another step towards making Los Angeles even more walkable.

Councilmen Paul Krekorian and Herb Wesson have together put forth two motions that would create a "Sidewalk Repair Trust Fund" and set aside up to $27 million towards sidewalk repairs, respectively.

Los Angeles has over 4,600 miles of sidewalks needing repairs, and it hasn't had an effective plan—nor the funds—to make a dent in that number.

Under the Sidewalk Repair Trust Fund, the city would split the cost to repair sidewalks with homeowners 50/50, according to KPCC. The city would also provide homeowners with low- or no-interest loans for repair costs and create "assessment districts" within neighborhoods to localize the maintenance.

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It's a step towards fixing a major problem, but the city still has a long ways to go. Some estimates have the ultimate total running nearly $2 billion to fix all 4,600 miles of broken sidewalks in L.A. But it sounds like $27 million is what we have for right now: this year's budget set aside $20 million for repairs, and under the other motion, $7 million of unspent funds bookmarked for repairs would be rolled over.

The maintenance and repairs of sidewalks in front of private properties falls on the property owners under the state's Street and Highway Code. In 1974, under the protest of homeowners, the L.A. City Council passed an ordinance that would have the city repair sidewalks damaged by tree roots for free. Other sidewalk maintenance would still fall on homeowners. The federal funds set aside for the ordinance ran out in just a few years, and, as most people who actually walk in L.A. would notice, the city now simply patches over buckled sidewalks with asphalt.

Back in February, the City Council voted to waive permit fees for homeowners looking to repair sidewalks in front of their houses, cutting at least $265 from the cost of repairs. A proposal to put a sales tax on the November ballot to fund repairs went nowhere back in March.

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