St. Louis Pledges to Repair Sidewalks. Residents Have Heard it Before.

A $6 million program takes aim at a backlog of thousands of requests for sidewalk maintenance, but critics say requiring property owners to foot half of the bill excludes less affluent neighborhoods.

1 minute read

February 23, 2023, 9:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

St. Louis

f11photo / Shutterstock

The infusion of federal pandemic relief dollars is funding a $6 million program to fix broken sidewalks in St. Louis, as part of efforts to clear a years-long backlog of requests. According to a St. Louis Post-Dispatch article by Austin Huguelet, “There are at least 1,500 uneven, cracked or crumbling sidewalks awaiting service from the city’s repair program, and many people have heard help is coming before: At least 180 of the requests date back to 2017 or earlier.”

The city also found that old requests were, for a time, not rolling over year to year, meaning that unfulfilled requests disappeared without any action. In the summer of 2022, in response to a series of deadly crashes, the mayor’s office launched a plan “to spend tens of millions of dollars to redesign dangerous intersections, install traffic-slowing devices on major thoroughfares, and shore up the city’s beleaguered sidewalk program.”

Critics argue that the program’s funding structure, which requires property owners to pay 50 percent of the cost of sidewalk repairs, means that lower-income neighborhoods will be left with crumbling infrastructure. 

Monday, February 20, 2023 in St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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