By Josh Stephens.
Originally posted at Next City.
Perhaps no greater cliché hangs over the city of Los Angeles than that of “nobody walks in L.A.” The truth is, progressive planners have been trying to soften the city’s car-centric image for years. Neighborhoods have become more walkable, and the city’s often-ridiculed public transportation system has expanded and improved. Indeed, plenty of people walk in L.A. Increasingly, though, many of them can’t walk — or at least find it more difficult than ever.
In a city famous for the sudden shock of moving earth, the disrepair of Los Angeles’ sidewalks is a slow-motion disaster, threatening ankles, baby strollers, disabled pedestrians and the city budget alike. Sections of pavement look more like skateboard ramps than they do sidewalks. Concrete has crumbled. Slabs have been uplifted. Some stretches look as if they have suffered their own private earthquakes.
“You just look at these sidewalks around the city and you know … there’s some failure of government that has to be addressed,” says Dennis Gleason, policy director for Los Angeles City Council Member Joe Buscaino and self-described expert on the city’s sidewalks.