Thursday, July 24, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Davis neglects its sidewalks

By
From page A10 | June 06, 2014 |

As a resident of Davis, I find it disturbing, to say the least, that the city is more concerned about bicycle lanes than the flow of automobile traffic, vehicle parking and sidewalk safety.

The bicycle lobby has become the most powerful entity in our city. Davis is not “green” nor will it ever be; it is a dream. I walk the street sidewalks almost every day and again today, I tripped and fell, injuring my shoulder. Three weeks ago I tripped and fell and injured my hip. I’m a fit 60-year-old; I ride my bicycle or walk every day.

The sidewalks in Davis are neglected, overgrown with plants, and tree roots uplift the sidewalk concrete, making it hazardous and unsafe. Many of the sidewalks are not even accessible to the physically challenged. Trees uplifting the concrete or damaging the road should be removed and all sidewalks should be handicap-accessible as well as maintained.

The city is negligent in the care and maintenance of the sidewalks. When will safety for foot travelers become a priority? Or will it take a lawsuit to bring it to their attention?

Trent Meyer
Davis

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Discussion | 16 comments

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  • June 06, 2014 - 6:36 am

    Trent, if you contact the city about the uplifted sidewalks you tripped on, they will probably be responsive and grind them down. That’s an easy job. Making them all handicap accessible is obviously a more complicated and costly issue.

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  • Double X- no surprise thereJune 06, 2014 - 10:20 pm

    A comment on this optimistic post that the City will make prompt repairs: still waiting for the City to repair sidewalk hazards in North Davis--NINE years after letter pointing them out. These are publicly installed walkways; City needs to exercise its responsibility for their maintenance. Sorry Rich, but your idea in subsequent post to impose an arbitrary (and unfair) tax on select homeowners is unwise.

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  • Rich RifkinJune 07, 2014 - 8:47 am

    "Sorry Rich, but your idea in subsequent post to impose an arbitrary (and unfair) tax on select homeowners is unwise." .......... To be fair, it is not my idea. That is what many California cities now do. And I have not said I favor it. I think it is something which should be considered, given the reality that Davis lacks the money to repair our streets, and they are badly deteriorating, and given the money that sidewalk repairs (other than grinding) are also unlikely to be funded. ............... As you likely know, the City Council next Tuesday will be discussing a new parcel tax, designed to pay for street repairs.

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  • Double X- no surprise thereJune 07, 2014 - 9:59 am

    What's next? Asking homeowners to pay for streets in front of their homes? Point is, we already do. Californians pay among highest aggregate taxes in the US. Question is--where does it go?

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  • June 07, 2014 - 9:55 pm

    I haven't read the responses but my mother has fallen flat on her face, with many witnesses around each time, in downtown Davis. We have dementia in our family and I have no doubt that her falls, from tripping on the sidewalk, advancing her genetic condition to come on much faster than any of her relatives have experienced. We're living in the dark ages as far as our understanding of brains and brain injuries are concerned, it's going to require science to somehow become less political, but, 8 years of bush and look at where we are now... the sidewalks won't be fixed, in my science class, at the public schools here, they taught us it's the trees that cause the sidewalks to be uneven, and unless you remove the trees, you will always have uneven sidewalks. It'd get crazy expensive for the city to hire union workers to grind down each reported uneven area of sidewalk, sidewalk that sometimes has it's own grade... .

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  • DanielJune 06, 2014 - 8:42 am

    And the medians on all the roads. Weeds are allowed to grow up through the medians. It makes the city look abandoned. keep the weeds down! You certainly take enough of our tax money.

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  • Rich RifkinJune 06, 2014 - 8:43 am

    One thing Davis is going to have to consider is to make the proximate property owner financially responsible for the repair or restoration of the sidewalk which abuts his property, no matter the cause. Many other cities already do this; see, for example, Pasadena. ............... Trent is right to say that there are quite a large number of sidewalks in Davis in need of repair. But being that we have been unable to maintain our streets since the late-1990s and they are now falling into "fail" territory, it seems very unlikely we will have money to fix our broken sidewalks any time soon.

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  • B. CarfreeJune 06, 2014 - 9:38 am

    I strongly disagree with this solution. By forcing the proximate property owner to repair sidewalk failures, we lose the economy of scale that we have with a single entity in charge of all sidewalks and we also will see most of them "repaired" to the lowest level allowed. However, we certainly should allow/encourage city crews to trim foliage that interferes with sidewalk use and then bill the property owner for this service.

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  • June 06, 2014 - 10:56 am

    I agree. Property owners need to trim their plants back so people can actually walk on or use wheelchairs on our sidewalks.

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  • June 07, 2014 - 10:03 pm

    We need a city leaf trimmer is what we really need. Once we get water figured out, maybe then we can be deserving of the finer things in life, right?

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  • June 06, 2014 - 10:57 am

    Another thing to consider is that homeowners may become liable for injury if they are required to upkeep the sidewalk in front of their house. If a sidewalk is a public easement, then I’d rather have the city bare the liability burden.

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  • June 07, 2014 - 10:01 pm

    is the "may" used in that sentence anywhere near a true "truth value"? like, what city in the USA requires homeowners to be liable for the state of the sidewalk erosion in front of their home?

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  • Dorte JensenJune 06, 2014 - 12:10 pm

    Trent, I agree with you on some points and would like to share what happened in my neighborhood. In 2010, two blocks of sidewalk on Lake Boulevard were closed due to severe buckling from City tree roots. The City planned to take out three of these trees (which were also damaging storm drains) and repave the sidewalk, but nearby residents opposed this plan. Over the next three years, representatives of the City met with representatives of that community to draw up plans to save all of the trees, and one of these plans was chosen by Council. It involved changing the street configuration (without majority approval from residents using that street) and repairing the sidewalks (in such fashion that they would likely buckle again in a few years). At present, the sidewalk is open but the bike lanes (damaged by those same trees) have not been repaired. In this case, the bicycle lobby, as you call it, had nothing to do with the outcome. The common sense approach would be, as you said, to take out trees which damage infrastructure and to replace them with ones which would not do so. This could be done over time, starting with those trees doing the worst damage. However, this is not happening in Davis. If all of us who care about public safety contacted our Council members, we could bring this issue to their attention. If they decide not to listen, we could elect ones who will. That seems to be the only way--other than a massive lawsuit--to make progress on this important issue.

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  • Dorte JensenJune 06, 2014 - 1:32 pm

    Correction: In the third sentence it should read, "... trees (TWO Of which..."

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  • June 06, 2014 - 5:00 pm

    The previous Council was more interested in taking over PG&E than in maintaining sidewalks. Let's see how the partially new one will do.

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  • Dorte JensenJune 06, 2014 - 5:22 pm

    It's good to be optimistic. Thanks!

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