What to Know
- The audit found sidewalks next to city buildings are given priority.
- More dangerous sidewalks in front of homes and apartments get pushed down the priority list for fixing.
- LA often repairs stretches of sidewalk when only small defects exist.
It would take nearly 500 years to fix all of LA's buckled and cracked sidewalks at the current pace of the city's repair program, says an audit by City Controller Ron Galperin obtained by the NBC4 I-Team.
"The system that the city has to deal with broken sidewalks is broken in and of itself," Galperin told the I-Team.
The seven-month audit, "Repairing L.A.'s Broken Sidewalk Strategy," concluded the city's most hazardous sidewalks are not getting repaired fast enough, despite the city spending millions of dollars a year.
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Controller Galperin spoke with the I-Team in front of a segment of nearly impassable sidewalk in a residential neighborhood on Norton near Eighth Street. Google Street View shows that sidewalk has been buckling for at least 13 years.
"This sidewalk should have been fixed years ago," Galperin said. "This sidewalk is impossible to get over with a wheelchair, and if you're just plain old walking. Imagine how you can get hurt."
In November 2014, the NBC4 I-Team first revealed how thousands of people were getting injured, because LA was slow to repair cracked and buckled sidewalks.
Seven years later, Galperin's audit says the city is still too slow to repair the hazards, costing taxpayers extra millions of dollars.
"We're spending about $30 million a year on sidewalk repair, but in the last fiscal year we spent $12 million just for settlements" from sidewalk claims and lawsuits.
The Controller's audit found numerous problems with LA's sidewalk repair program, including:
- Sidewalks next to city buildings are given priority for repair, while even more dangerous sidewalks in front of homes and apartments, get pushed down the priority list for fixing.
- LA often repairs an entire block--or parcel--of sidewalk when only small defects exist in one or a few spots and could be fixed more cost effectively.
"You bet we are wasting millions of tax dollars," Galperin said.
Back in 2015, to settle a lawsuit brought by disabled citizens, Mayor Eric Garcetti promised to spend $1.4 billion to fix the city's sidewalks.
But Galperin's report found there are still more than "50,000 reports of sidewalk problems not being addressed" by LA.
"We've got 9,000 miles of sidewalks and only a tiny fraction of them get fixed," Galperin told NBC4.
The I-Team asked Mayor Garcetti's office to comment on the failures of the sidewalk program exposed in the city audit.
Garcetti's office sent NBC4 a statement saying:
"Mayor Garcetti has always made sidewalk repairs a top priority -- that's why he created the City's first repair program in three decades, which has fixed more miles of sidewalk than any other program in history. The Mayor appreciates the feedback provided in this report, and will continue to aggressively push to deliver the kinds of improvements that Angelenos can see and feel in their neighborhoods."