Is there a fix for LA’s bad sidewalks? City rebates make it a DIY project

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In an effort to get more of the city’s backlog of crumbling sidewalks fixed sooner, Los Angeles city officials this month sweetened the deal for property owners.

The city is now offering rebates of up to $10,000 to property owners who want to make the fix on their own rather than wait for the city to do it. The city previously capped rebates at $2,000 for homeowners and $4,000 to commercial property owners.

Each rebate is meant to cover half of what it would have cost the city to do the repair, city officials said.

The rebate program is part of a 30-year-plan, created due to a legal settlement, to spend $1.4 billion to make sidewalks accessible to people with disabilities and others who have trouble traversing crumbling or busted walkways.

The city is prioritizing repairs of sidewalks next to public buildings, and projects that make routes to public transit more accessible. Many walkways in front of private properties are much lower on the list to get fixed.

Public Works officials raised the rebate cap after they conducted a survey and determined that property owners would more readily take advantage of the rebate program if the rebate were increased.

RELATED STORY: City of LA to repair sidewalks for now, but it’s on property owners in the future

The Board of Public Works has set aside $1.7 million to fund the rebate program this year, said the agency’s spokeswoman, Mary Nemick.

With the new cap, the average rebate is expected to be a little over $6,000, which means the city will be able to issue rebates for about 270 sidewalk projects this year, she said.

The city began the program at the end of 2016 and has received more than 1,100 applications for rebates so far. Anyone who has not started construction can apply for the higher cap, Nemick said.

More information about the program is available at

Sidewalks are typically the responsibility of the adjacent property owners, but it was assumed to be the city’s job after Los Angeles leaders more than 40 years ago said they would take on the task. The city soon ran out of money for the program, and many more of the city’s sidewalks have succumbed to overgrown tree roots or other sources of wear and have mostly remained un-repaired over the years.


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