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Putting Cities Back on Their Feet

February 9, 2011 Comments off

Putting Cities Back on Their Feet (PDF)

Source:  Journal of Urban Planning and Development (via Donald Shoup)

Broken sidewalks have become an important legal issue since 2002 when the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to sidewalks. As one way to comply with the ADA, cities can require property owners to repair any broken sidewalk fronting their property before they sell the property. Before any real estate is sold, the city inspects the sidewalk fronting the property. If the sidewalk is in good condition, the city does not require the owner to do anything. If the sidewalk is broken, however, the city requires the owner to repair it before selling the property. Analysis of sales data shows that if Los Angeles had adopted a point-of-sale program in 1995, about half of the city’s 4,600 miles of broken sidewalks would have been repaired by 2007. A walkable city needs walkable sidewalks. Requiring sidewalk repairs when property is sold can help put cities back on their feet.

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