The Solution to Los Angeles' Crumbling Sidewalks
According to a recent Op-Ed by Donald Shoup in the Los Angeles Times, "the city of Los Angeles has 10,750 miles of public sidewalks, and about 40% need some degree of repair, which the city estimates will cost at least $1.5 billion." Los Angeles got itself into this predicament after shifting sidewalk repair liability in 1973 from the state and owners of abutting properties to the city. In 1976 though, funding dried up and since then Los Angeles has resorted to either patching asphalt on cracked sidewalk, or more likely, nothing at all.
Shoup suggests Los Angeles can learn from cities like Pasadena and Piedmont, which mandate property owners fix abutting broken sidewalks when selling the property, also known as point-of-sale program. Point-of-sale programs have precedent in Los Angeles, as property owners are currently required to install a low-flow flush toilets before selling the property. For this to work, "before a property is sold, the city inspects the sidewalk fronting the property. If the inspector finds a broken sidewalk that is unsafe, the owner must fix it before the sale is final."
Shoup discusses some of the advantages of this program, such as raising property sale value and neighborhood values.