Construction Blocking Sidewalks in Booming Downtown Los Angeles

The construction boom in Downtown Los Angeles has had the unintended, and largely unregulated, consequence of closing access to sidewalks. The practice might be illegal under federal law.
August 4, 2014, 1pm PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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"So many sidewalks have been closed to accommodate construction that pedestrians are walking into the streets — amid traffic — to get around. In the South Park district of downtown, east of Staples Center, 11 sidewalks are closed in a 24-block area, and some will continue to be for as long as three years," reports Catherine Saillant. Moreover, "a dozen additional major projects are in the pipeline for the same neighborhood, with the potential to close 29 more sidewalks."

The blocked sidewalks raise questions about pedestrian safety, regulations of construction sites, and the access of individuals with special needs for access and mobility.

"The Los Angeles building code has a mechanism for officials to order covered walkways, but it's not often used….In practice, it's often left up to developers and site contractors to decide if a temporary walkway is needed." That's compared to cities such as Washington, Boston, and Chicago, which "require contractors to construct covered walkways on the existing sidewalk, or to create a clearly marked alternate walkway nearby." 

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Published on Monday, August 4, 2014 in Los Angeles Times
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