Saturday, July 10, 2010

Sidewalk Repairs in North Oakland

As many of you have experienced, the City of Oakland's infrastructure is failing. There is little money to invest in basic core infrastructure such as roads and sidewalks, let alone create streetscapes that are inviting and pleasant. The City is faced with such a massive budget deficit that it will be eliminating 80 police even though Oakland has some of the most dangerous streets in the country. It comes as no surprise that replacement of failing infrastructure isn't much of a priority with the Ctiy nor is barely supported through the general fund.

So it was with great surprise and pleasure to recently see some badly deteriorated sidewalks in North Oakland finally being replaced. Residents on Tremont Street have been asking for years to have buckled sidewalks removed and replaced. The City attempted several stop gap measures by using asphalt to remedy trip hazards. However, that approach did not work as one resident recently tripped and was badly hurt. Now the homeowner, who had petitioned the City for years to replace the failing sidewalk in front of their house, and the City are subject to claims and possibly a lawsuit from the injured resident. The City has allowed hundreds, if not thousands, of trip hazards and dangerous

conditions caused by failing street pavement and buckling sidewalks. The City has been subject to many claims and has paid out millions of dollars for injuries caused by the city's negligence in maintaining its streets and sidewalks. Moreover, the failure to maintain their streets and sidewalks is a direct contribution to blight in Oakland, is a violation of their own blight ordinance and contributes to stagnating property values. If we are to have a walkable City and a bicycle friendly City then replacing failing infrastructure is critical.

We have to give a shout out to the Rosas Brothers Construction Company. Their crew were efficient, clean, and professional. The final work product was nothing less than excellent, marred only by a few neighborhood kids who couldn't resist writing their initials in the newly poured concrete. Their effort is exactly what one expects from a reputable business. It's too bad the City of Oakland employees don't share the same work ethic. Perhaps the vastly overpaid Oakland Public Works Department can take a few pointers from the Rosas Brothers.

Thank you Rosas Brothers!


Anonymous said...

Thanks---this is a huge issue in many parts of the city! It is important to note, though, that in the City of Oakland, homeowners are actually responsible for maintaining sidewalks in front of their homes, not the City. (This dates back to how the city was platted out 100+ years ago; property lines run up to the street, so there is a public easement for sidewalks, but homeowners bear the responsibility of maintaining them per a 1912 law.) Not fun and pretty ineffective as a policy in my view, since I'd much rather just pay a sidewalk fee and have the City maintain them consistently and regularly, but really important for homeowners to know since it can come into play with lawsuits and liability if buckled sidewalks have not been replaced.

Fight Blight said...

Thank you for the clarification. We should note the sidewalk repairs in question were completed by the City because it was determined that the sidewalk buckling was caused by street trees planted by the City. Had the trees been planted by the property owner, they would have been responsible to repair the sidewalk themselves.