The City of Los Angeles recently announced that it has set aside more than $1.4 billion to spend on sidewalks, over the course of the next 30 years. The hope is that, in doing so, it will not only make them safer, but more easily accessed by people with disabilities.
Clearly in a city as large as Los Angeles, it's difficult to know about each and every sidewalk needing repair. That's why the Safe Sidewalks LA initiative offers a combination of three different methods or incentives intended to help alert the city to problem areas or expedite their repair.
The Access Request Program allows caregivers and/or people with disabilities to report barriers obstructing their right of way, their ability to move about neighborhoods and get to public transit stops. Some examples of these include broken or missing curb ramps, uneven pavement, or broken sidewalks.
Issues that are non-compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act regulations are also prioritized. These may include actions such as making sidewalks wider, removing objects that create an unnatural elevation to the ground, and replacing missing utility covers.
Another option is the Rebate Program. It allows Los Angeles residents to make their own repairs and submit receipts with the expectation of receiving either a partial or full refund. This program was created with the intention of encouraging residents with the most pressing of concerns to address them more quickly.
To qualify, applicants must provide the city with both proof of property ownership and their taxpayer identification number. In determining the rebate amount, the representative will allot up to $2,000 for a residential lot or $4,000 for commercial or industrial ones necessary to make the ADA-compliant repairs.
The third option is nothing more than a self-reporting program, accessible by dialing 311 from any phone. Sidewalks with uneven payment or other physical barriers not only present problems for people with physical disabilities, but for regular pedestrians as well.
Depending on local ordinances and property lines, a property owner can be held liable for injuries one sustains as result of an improperly maintained sidewalk. If you have sustained an injury from such a scenario, the counsel of a Van Nuys premises liability attorney can inform you as to your rights.
Source: City of Los Angeles, "Which Program is Right for Me?," accessed Feb. 10, 2017