Sidewalks Emergency Program
Addressing the Worst Sidewalk Issues
We have a sidewalks emergency in District C and many parts of Houston. The solutions are complex, long-term, and expensive.
Abbie Kamin knows we cannot wait. That’s why, as our next council member, Abbie will create a District C Sidewalks Emergency Program.
A 2015 study found that Houston is missing sidewalks on 42 percent of our street frontages. And a recent investigative report by the Houston Chronicle identified more than 10,000 pedestrian crashes in our region in the last eight years, with the huge majority concentrated in Houston. Fortunately, groups like AARP are already doing walkable surveys and collecting a lot of the data.
In District C, entire neighborhoods have narrow streets with no sidewalks. Abbie Kamin knows this well – her neighborhood, just West of the Heights, is one of them.
It won’t be cheap; sidewalks are expensive. Check out this sidewalk cost calculator, where you can enter the size and length of a typical sidewalk and see the cost for yourself.
Beyond the reality of high costs, the fact that in Houston, the city is not responsible for maintaining sidewalks makes the problem almost unsolvable. Instead, individual property owners are responsible for maintaining sidewalks in front of their properties. As the Houston Chronicle pointed out in 2013, “With no dedicated stakeholder, our sidewalks crumble under the force of weather and tree roots.”
Abbie believes that the long-term solution is for the city to take responsibility for maintaining sidewalks and, with the exception of new construction, building them.
That’s a goal to work towards – it cannot happen overnight, primarily because of a lack of funds – and would almost certainly require a change in our city charter.
What We Can Do Now: District C Sidewalks Emergency Program
Abbie’s plan will identify and rank the most dangerous areas in District C without sidewalks or dangerously deteriorated sidewalks. She will consult with civic clubs, super neighborhoods, and groups like AARP who are already doing walkability surveys – and set up an online portal where residents and businesses in the district can share their input.
Then the hard work begins. Abbie will put the power of her office, her relationships and her personal determination to work to find the funds to begin the process of addressing each identified area. Because there is no ongoing, dedicated funding source, Abbie will make a concentrated effort to find one-time sources of funds for each project – including grants from foundations or federal and state governments, working with local organizations and businesses or savings from other programs in the city budget. Abbie doesn’t make promises she cannot keep; she cannot guarantee success in finding all the funds and making all the fixes – but Abbie can guarantee that she won’t stop until the job is done.