Published on July 21st, 2015 |2
Council OKs Norwood legislation to prioritize sidewalk maintenance
The legislation, introduced by Buckhead resident and At-Large City Councilwoman Mary Norwood, calls for utilizing the Infrastructure Maintenance and Improvement Account and all other available funding sources to pay for sidewalk repairs and maintenance until such funding is exhausted.
“I would like to commend my colleagues for approving this legislation that will ease the burden that has been placed on our residents for too long,” Norwood said.
“The city’s sidewalks are public assets that provide benefits to the entire community, not just property owners or abutting property owners near sidewalks,” the councilwoman added.
“This allows us to budget for sidewalks annually and to improve our sidewalk system over time, without putting the city at financial risk,” Norwood said.
“This (legislation) will enable departmental management to manage repairs efficiently and deliver repairs much more cost effectively,” said Peggy Berg, co-chair of the City Council Sidewalk Task Force sub-committee.
“It will also enable management to address the red tape that has plagued the sidewalk repair process because of its prior lack of official status,” Berg said. “With the legislation, DPW will set formal priorities for selecting and implementing sidewalk repairs.
Berg explained, “This will make the process fair and clean for the first time in over 40 years. This is the kind of management Mayor Reed described in his campaign and I am delighted each time his administration takes another step in this direction. If the administration sets up a committee to develop the prioritization policy, I would be happy to be involved.”
The maintenance and installation of sidewalk infrastructure throughout the city of Atlanta is a basic function of a local government in Georgia, said Norwood.
City Code Section 138-14(d) and certain provisions contained within Section 138-103 have previously required that private property owners maintain sidewalks that abut their property. Historically, many neighborhoods and residents have been unaware of their responsibility to maintain the sidewalk that abuts their property.
“Sidewalks can improve pedestrian safety, encourage walkability, and enhance the quality of life in our neighborhoods,” Norwood stated. “Safe and accessible sidewalks are essential to the health and mobility of Atlanta’s residents.”
City of Atlanta has not had a sufficient system for prioritizing repairs, a sustainable funding source dedicated to sidewalk repair, or an effective approach to tackle the problems of repairs and replacements.
With this legislation, the city is committing to allocate funding for sidewalk maintenance on a sustained yearly basis. When funding is made available for maintenance and repair, Norwood’s legislation will make it a priority to allocate such funding to help maintain and repair sidewalks.