An 80-year-old woman that was too afraid to leave her home for fear she might fall on her uneven sidewalk will soon have her wishes come true.
Councilman Bernard Parks and the Los Angeles Neighborhood Initiative have teamed up to repair 130 of the worst sidewalks in his district.
The repairs began Wednesday, outside the South LA home of 80-year-old Helen Young where a sidewalk was made uneven by large tree roots.
“We wrote letters, letters and letters telling them that the roots were uprooting, you know, the sidewalks,” resident Helen Young said.
Councilman Parks hopes to repair upward of 400 sidewalks.
“It’s the number one complaint we get in the community,” Parks said.
Parks said that about 40 percent of the sidewalks in Los Angeles need repair and that fixing them would cost $1.5 billion.
That amount of money is not in the city budget, so Parks is using $350,000 in discretionary funds to hire private contractors to fix some of the worst sidewalks in his district.
"LANI is proud to be Council District 8's partner on this project and we commend Councilmember Parks for being a leader in increasing safety block by city block," said Veronica Hahni, Executive Director of Los Angeles Neighborhood Initiative. "We look forward to working directly with homeowners to make the public right-of-way more accessible, usable and better for all."
Councilman Jose Huizar said last month that he would also use $250,000 in discretionary funds to repair the sidewalks in his district.
Councilman Joe Buscaino said a few hundred thousand dollars here and there won’t solve the Los Angeles problem. He is in support of a half-cent sales tax increase that would pay for streets and sidewalk repairs.
"What a great effort of creating 40, 000 jobs in a 15-year period and fixing streets and sidewalks," Buscaino said.
The City Council has until July 1 to decide whether to put the half-cent sales tax on the November ballot. If it is placed on the ballot, it will need to be passed by a two-thirds majority.
There are over 11,000 miles of sidewalk in the city. The 2014-15 budget includes $20 million to begin a sidewalk program under the management of the Bureau of Street Services.