LA City Council agrees to spend $1 billion to fix deteriorating sidewalks

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The Los Angeles City Council agreed Wednesday to spend $31 million a year for 30 years on sidewalk repair projects, settling a lawsuit filed by disabled residents.

The city of Los Angeles was sued five years ago by disabled residents who said they couldn't navigate broken walkways, potholes, crosswalks and curbs that lacked wheelchair ramps.

On Wednesday, the L.A. City Council agree to spend about $1.4 billion over 30 years to repair its damaged sidewalks.

The agreement "will improve access, public safety, boost property values and neighborhood pride," L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said.

The settlement means there will be a lot of new construction on our sidewalks. The Bureau of Street Services estimates 40 percent of sidewalks across the city need repair.

Officials expect 100,000 new curb ramps will be built all over the city. The priority, however, will be broken sidewalks.

"All those stretches where sidewalk segments are broken up by trees and are just really messed up - I think we've all seen them, even if you're a visitor you see them, and you see them in short order after you leave LAX, too, let me tell you that -- those will all be fixed," said Guy Wallace, an attorney for the plaintiffs.

The Los Angeles City Council agreed Wednesday, April 1, 2015 to spend $31 million a year for 30 years on sidewalk repair projects, settling a lawsuit filed by disabled residents.

How will the city pay for all of this? Officials say most of the money is expected to come from the city's general fund operating budget. The city was already paying millions of dollars every year on injury claims.

"This settlement directs taxpayer dollars to where they belong, to solving one of the city's most longstanding problems rather than merely reacting when somebody is injured," said L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer.

With the settlement, more than 200,000 residents who have disabilities will be able to make requests for fixes in their neighborhoods.

"Many of our people have suffered frustration, pain and even injury from their valiant efforts and insistence that the streets be made accessible according to the Americans with Disabilities Act," said plaintiff Lillibeth Navarro.

The settlement is still pending court approval. Details of the repair program have not yet been worked out.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Related Topics:
los angeles city councilroad repairlawsuitdisabilitydisability issueseric garcettiLos Angeles
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