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Why We Don’t Walk in LA

Uprooted sidewalk

Uprooted sidewalk (Photo credit: Cria-cow)

Those of us who’ve been around long enough all remember the ’80s song chanting what we knew then and, sadly, now to be true: Nobody walks in LA. In a city famous, these days infamous, for and built around car culture, projects to improve accessibility by foot or bicycle are seldom a priority-a fact most evident in the state of our sidewalks.

With roughly 4,500 miles of bad sidewalk and a poor track record of tree maintenance, it is not uncommon to find our walkways turned into hills, valleys, and uprooted slabs of concrete. Last summer, Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez was photographed lying under the pavement in the city’s Beverwil section, a stunt that caught the mayor’s attention and led to much-needed repairs in that area.

The rest of Los Angeles is still waiting. Lopez reports that there is a 98-page list dating back to 2007 of people who have tripped and fell on our sidewalks and subsequently filed injury claims against the city. While suggestions for fixing the problem have ranged from replacing concrete with pea gravel or recycled tires to reduce damage from tree roots to placing the responsibility on the city to fix the sidewalks, several people, including Los Angeles City Councilman Bob Blumenfield, support the reinstatement of the “50-50” sidewalk repair program. Originally created in 2004, it allowed property owners and the city to split reconstruction costs evenly. The program ended during the city’s 2009 financial crisis. This time around, property owners would be expected to pay up to 75% of the repair costs.

However city officials decide to pay for repairs, they need to be made soon, before more citizens are hurt while just trying to walk through their own neighborhoods.

Those who are injured have recourse through the civil justice system and should contact an attorney immediately about their case, as special rules and procedures apply to claims against the government. For more information about the civil claims process, please call 888-752-7474 or complete our online contact form.

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