Los Angeles Needs Serious Sidewalk Help: Councilman

Frustrated city officials, worried residents and even YouTube video parodies show the growing frustration with LA's severely damaged walkways

Fed up with damaged and dangerous sidewalks, one Los Angeles official is pushing for serious improvements in how the city manages the quality of its streets.

Chunks of the ground are noticeably absent from many LA sidewalks, sometimes so damaged that they appear as a stack of concrete sheets.

"As you can see, they're kind of unbearable," LA resident Christopher Limon told NBC4 as he navigated his way down Pico Boulevard. "If you were not paying attention, you would definitely trip. Without proper repairs and maintenance, I mean, these things continue to get worse and worse, over time."

LA City Councilman Jose Huizar agreed and said enough is enough.

"The city has not done its job to fix sidewalks since the 1970s," Huizar said.

He said he's tired of waiting for bond measures and half-cent sales taxes to fix sidewalks in his 14th District.

That half-cent sales tax was the subject of a report released by city leaders March 18.

The tax, which would be in effect for for 15 years, would raise $3.86 billion for failing streets and another $640 million for damaged sidewalks, according to NBC4 media parner KPCC. In order for the tax measure to reach the November ballot, it would have to be approved by the Council and LA Mayor Eric Garcetti.

"What we do is pay out an average $6 million a year for lawsuits for people falling on sidewalks," Huizar said.

Now, Huizar hopeful the Council will approve his own measure on Friday to use $250,000 in discretionary funds to start fixing sidewalks in his district.

But Huizar and Limon aren't the only people sick of LA sidewalks. Last week, a video parody of Pharrell's "Happy" garnered media attention and even support from Garcetti.

The YouTube video titled "Fix LA's Sidewalks" is introduced by text that says "Pharrell Williams' 'Happy' video was shot in Los Angeles...which has 4,600 miles of broken sidewalks." The video shows people walking, dancing, running and then tripping on different broken LA sidewalks.

Garcetti tweeted the video Wednesday to his more than 36,000 Twitter followers with the caption, "Yes, it is time to fix our sidewalks--this will be a part of this year's budget plans but love this video parody."

The video was published March 18, the same day city leaders released the report recommending the half-cent sales tax increase that would cover costs associated with damaged streets and sidewalks.

Watch the "Fix LA's Sidewalks" video parody below:

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