by David DeMullé
Everybody knows that broken sidewalks are a major problem for the elderly and the handicapped, and it has been going on for so many years that people just take them for granted. Los Angeles’s sidewalks are in really bad shape. They’re so bad that, in 2015, in order to settle a neglect lawsuit about sidewalks, in 2015, the city agreed to spend $1.4 billion repairing the thousands of miles of cracked and broken sidewalks that they are responsible for.
And who is really to blame? The city engineering bureau who oversees the maintenance of our sidewalks estimate that they receive over 700 requests
for them every month. The city is overwhelmed with requests. And that’s where our STNC Land Use Committee (LUC) is supposed to step in and help us out. If they don’t tell our councilwoman that there is a dire need here, no one really knows. For now, our LUC under the direction of Cindy Cleghorn had completely ignored these requests and instead, has directed their efforts against local business’ signs and perceived illegal operations.
Right now, the city has received more requests in one month than it can effectively address. These damaged sidewalks on St. Estaban are a major problem for the elderly and the handicapped. How come our LUC isn’t trying to help these people, especially when one of it’s vigilantes is Maryellen Elthgroth who rides around with “Ratty Patty” Mc Ardle writing up violations?
For now, city engineers say they are focusing on requests that come directly from people who have “mobility disabilities.” In a City Council committee meeting last November, deputy city engineer and head of sidewalk programs Julie Sauter said: “Our current budget is not set up to work on any of the requests that are not a part of the mobility disabled requests.”
City officials know they’re moving too slowly. That’s why they’re coming up with a new plan designed to make repairs more quickly. Called the Access Request Program (ARP), it will guide the city as it makes good on the legal settlement it agreed to in 2015 but YOU have to tell them where the problem is. The Access Request Program makes repairs requested by/for people with a mobility disability who encounter physical barriers such as broken sidewalks, missing/broken curb ramps or other barriers in the public right of way. The City’s Bureau of Street Services has dedicated crews making these repairs and improving the path of travel for mobility-challenged residents.
Through this program, we have received thousands of new requests and are working to making the repairs in a timely manner and in full compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and California Building Code (CBC) standards. These repairs continue to be the highest priority for the City.
To request a repair through the Access Request Program, go online to MyLA311.lacity. org or call 311.