Thank forum participants – and audience for opportunity to share recommendations. Mention why I care. Tell story about friend who tripped on uplifted hexagon paver.
Already underway! Public Works is collaborating with Georgia Tech on a high-tech inventory of sidewalk conditions. (Tablet, app, wheelchair:measures vibrations and videotapes conditions. ) Once this is complete, the City will be on notice about every sidewalk defect in Atlanta. It will also have data that enables Public Works to compare severity of hazards.
Georgia Tech’s sidewalk inventory and prioritization study will create this. The Connect Atlanta Plan, combined with crash data, GIS maps showing schools, transit routes and other pedestrian generators would be excellent data sources.
Typical tripping hazard is ½ to 1” Thank Public Works for decision to close the cement plant. City of Raleigh: $1 million contract with company specializing in repairsAlpharetta also contracts with sidewalk repair comapny
Karen Huebner, former director of Atlanta’s Urban Design Commission. Condo adjacent to sidewalk where century-old tree had uplifted hexagon pavers.Public Works replaced the sidewalk with plain concrete – and narrowed the sidewalk near the tree.Karen was thrilled: she had told her colleagues for years to put aesthetic treatments at eye level
No excuses: neither insufficient funding nor conflicting local ordinances or special interests justify sidewalks that are not accessible to all users.
2004: City launched a campaign to educate residents about their financial responsibility for sidewalk repair. During the following 4 years, city collected just $200,000.Public Works is doing better than in previous years – but still not nearly enough.
February Task Force meeting confirmed that. The sidewalk ordinance has been on the books for over 30 years. When Public Works tried to enforce the ordinance, residents and their elected representatives expressed outrage.Most jurisdictions in the Atlanta region use tax dollars to repair sidewalks.
Many sidewalk replacements have been paid for with federal grants, Quality of Life Bond funds, or councilmembers’ discretionary funds. These are all taxpayer dollars. All property owners pay taxes. It isn’t fair to make people pay the full cost of sidewalks adjacent to their property – while subsidizing the cost of sidewalks located elsewhere. This is especially true when funding for some sidewalks came from discretionary funds – rather than from an objective, points-based plan.
Sidewalks are not things that simply decorate the abutting property. They provide value by creating a network that enables people to be physically active while getting from Point A to Point B. If a resident or business repaired the sidewalks abutting their property– and a nearby neighbor failed to do so, the investment would have little value.
On many streets, sidewalks exist on just one side.In some neighborhoods, sidewalks are located on collector streets but not on streets with less traffic, such as cul-de-sacs. People on the sidewalks benefit from having sidewalks on the collector street – and through taxes, should share in maintenance costs.
Why should property owners pay for repairs, when damage was caused by fire officers who parked on the sidewalk to make it easy for them stand in the street at a nearby intersection to raise money for a charitable cause?
According to the editor at the East Atlanta Patch, the average cost of repairs that would have billed to each property owner on Delaware Avenue was estimated at $1,600. Many people in Atlanta live paycheck to paycheck – and cannot come up with that on two weeks notice, if ever.
Atlanta’s Comprehensive Transportation Plan – adopted in 2010 – calls on City to reassume financial responsibility for sidewalk maintenanceMany funding options exist for our elected officials to choose from. No need to assume the only option is a “magic pot.”
Recommended by Connect Atlanta Plan
Public Works has recommended this since at least 2005.Competition for revenue: new roads and streetscapes near the proposed new stadiumProjects recommend for local share of proposed transportation sales tax funds that failed last year.
The Roadmap to
Safe and Accessible
Sidewalks in Atlanta
President & CEO, PEDS
July 30, 2013
By 2030 one out of five people will be over 60.
Most will live an
additional 20 – 25 years.
www.pedbikeimages.org / Dan Burden
www.pedbikeimages.org / Dan Burden
sidewalks may be
one of the most
important ways to
numbers of older
people in good
enough health to not
Dan Burden www.pedbikeimages.org
An effective sidewalk maintenance program
depends on five principles:
1. Create a comprehensive inventory of sidewalk conditions
2. Use a points-based system to prioritize projects
3. Reduce maintenance costs
4. Amend the City’s sidewalk ordinance
5. Dedicate funding to sidewalk maintenance
Create a comprehensive
inventory of sidewalk conditions
is using a
tablet to map,
This will create
Use a points-based system to prioritize projects
Reduce maintenance costs
Use a two-pronged
repair and replacement.
Allocate tax dollars only to
the cost of plain sidewalks
Make plain sidewalks
the default choice.
Assign costs for bricks
or stamped hexagons
to abutting property owners
• Replacing trees with
ones that match caliper
of existing trees
• Using historic sidewalk
materials on top of a
concrete base in
Eliminate unfunded mandates
Or allocate sufficient funding so they do
not remain barriers to repairing sidewalks
The Americans with Disabilities Act
trumps local ordinances.
Photo by Dan Burden
Public sidewalks are a
program of the City that
must be accessible to
Photo by Dan Burden
Amend the sidewalk ordinance
§ 138-103 The Commissioner of Public
Works is authorized to inspect the sidewalks,
. . . condemn promptly pavements on such
sidewalks that are unsafe and unsuitable for
public travel, and to cause repairs to be
made in accordance with city law
and to charge the cost of the repair to the
abutting property owner.
current sidewalk ordinance
faces numerous barriers
Lack of community support
The annual budget for
enables Public Works
to address less than
of the estimated
$152 million backlog of
broken sidewalks and curbs.
Limited funding & staff
Atlanta has prioritized
so low for decades,
it will be difficult,
if not impossible,
to restart a program
funded by assessments
Lack of community support for
current sidewalk policy
Selective enforcement is inherently unjust..
“What is so frustrating
is that there are so
many blocks around
Delaware where the
city repaired the
sidewalk at no cost to
the residents. It is
selective billing and
that is simply unfair.”
than to abutting property owners.Sidewalks are public assets that provide
more benefits to the community at large
than to abutting property owners.
Maintenance costs should be shared by all taxpayers,
not just those whose property abuts sidewalks.
Sidewalks and curbs are often damaged by
illegal parking, car wrecks, and other problems
beyond the control of property owners.
High poverty rate
A program relying
on property liens as
a major funding
source is not
The longer we wait, the
more it costs to fix
Identify a funding source
The City must identify
a funding source that
allows the City to
for construction and
maintenance of the
A parking surcharge could pay
for infrastructure repairs
The City of Atlanta has
estimated that if a $1
daily surcharge was
levied on transactions
for 200,000 parking
spaces inside of the
city, it would generate
$75.9 million in its first
year of implementation
A bond referendum could help, but
competition for funds will be fierce.
In 2011, 60% of Ann Arbor residents
voted to fund a city-wide sidewalk
repair program that replaced a system
assigning financial responsibility for
repairs to abutting property owners.
Impact of increasing the property tax rate by 1 mill
and dedicating revenue to sidewalk maintenance
Increase revenue by
$15 million / year.
Owner of property
valued at $200,000
would pay $50 more
in annual city taxes
Eliminate backlog of
broken sidewalks in
If given the opportunity, would Atlanta residents
vote the same as those in Ann Arbor?
The ADA will force cities to do what they should be
doing anyway: maintain public infrastructure.
Donald Shoup, Fixing Broken Sidewalks
Or are lawsuits the only strategy that works?