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Should the city or property owner be responsible for repairing the sidewalk?

Asked at Asked on Massachusetts Street on January 20, 2006

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Photo of Susan Cooper

“The city, because the sidewalk is a public place and a lot of other people use it besides the property owner.”

Photo of Randal Fulbright

“I guess the city should, because most property owners don’t have the skill or means to fix their own sidewalk.”

Photo of Sonya Dingman

The property owner, because I think there are a lot more important things to spend our tax money on, like education.””

Photo of Robert Murphy

“It’s the city’s job to take care of public property, and I think that since the sidewalk is usually used as public property, they should be the ones to repair it.”

Comments

bearded_gnome 8 years, 3 months ago

"several months" rather ambitious, ain't it, you should hire forty-eight orange clads give 'em all shovels to lean on...a great job creator you would be!

love the detour idea...most of east lawrence should have walkers detoured! whether they wear bicycle shorts or not.

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classclown 8 years, 3 months ago

Everything east of Mass sucks. That's not where the money is so why should the city care? That's why they can only look to the west. Except for their precious downtown.

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classclown 8 years, 3 months ago

Maybe the bike lanes can be converted into pedestrian lanes since the bike riders never use them anyway. I don't have a sidewalk, but if I did and it was in disrepair, I would just put up detour signs at the beginning of the block and detour pedestrian traffic around several blocks.

Or maybe put up cones and/or barrells down the middle of it forcing pedestrians to stay to one side of it during the several months it would take to repair it.

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bearded_gnome 8 years, 3 months ago

City...take money from the wasteful spending and put it on infrastructure!

if Lawrence is supposed to encourage walking, and safety of walkers, it damned well needs to provide a place for walkers to WALK!

I have ranted about this topic many times on topics on this board! sidewalks east of Mass SUCK!

yes, the capitalization is ON PURPOSE!

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armyguy 8 years, 3 months ago

Guess, I don't see the big deal about sidewalks and who should repair them. My Aunt who lives in the "hood" in KC Mo recived a letter from the city several years ago saying that if she did not repair her sidewalk the City would do it for her and bill her (how nice).

A few years ago, I got a letter from Marysville Ks, saying that I must remove snow from my sidewalks or they would do it for me, at a fee.

Most homeowners in this country know that sidewalks are the homeowners to keep and mantain. It is as simple as forcing home owners to mantain their property, if they don't they city has many options to force the issue

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from_kansasland 8 years, 3 months ago

Reader (the lone voice of the "ugly red-headed step-child" otherwise known as "north Lawrence".......

You don't post as often as you should!

I get a kick out of your posts!

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kansaskev61 8 years, 3 months ago

I doubt Sonya Dingman owns property. Once she is out in the real world paying taxes, both personal, property, sales plus the unrepresented taxation in the People's Republic of Douglas County then she might think twice before heaping even more cost on a property owner. The property owner is paying his/her fair share of taxes that go to education already so saying the property owner should pay for the sidewalk because the city should be spending on education is foolish. The tax payer/property owner is already paying more than the city in funding local education Sonya

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trinity 8 years, 3 months ago

gettin' in kind of late in the day-but CITY.

bea, you're a HOOT, loved your posts! :)

methinks dear e_m likie the porn?? ;)

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unfrumpy 8 years, 3 months ago

I think some people don't want to pay for what they own. If I own property, that's a priviledge. And I need to pay for it.

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consumer1 8 years, 3 months ago

Beatrice, that is funneee! a walking round-a-bout. I wonder who is liable when a bicyclist hits the flower garden in the middle of your walking round a bout at midnight. Also, I believe the city actually referrs to the round a bouts as "traffic calming devices"... I know I get an erie calm each time I have to navigate through one. A walking round a bout.. too funnee.

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jshaw 8 years, 3 months ago

I read somewhere that about half the homes in Lawrence are rentals. While I agree that the city should take care of public property, I also think there are a lot of slum lords in this town. Isn't the biggest property management company in town owned by an out of town corporation?

Seeing all these great old houses in town in ruins really bums me out. And a lot of the "newer" complexes aren't much better. I called George Waters for months just to have someone mow the bloody lawn.

Regardless of how we feel about the law and whether or not we think it is just or not, it is still the property owner's responsibility to fix the sidewalks. They are dangerous for a lot of people and I think it is rediculous that the city enforcers have allowed it to get to this point.

Let the corporate pigs pay for the sidewalks!

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Aiko 8 years, 3 months ago

That is insane! I have never walked on my sidewalk other than while mowing. Plus, if the "sidewalk" in question was developed poorly by the city then why should it go into the hands of the existing and/or new owner of the property?

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beatrice 8 years, 3 months ago

sun_sue: Like a crack in the sidewalk, I thought I might trip somebody up with that one. Glad you appreciated the humor. : )

Go Steelers!!!

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lunacydetector 8 years, 3 months ago

i'd like to know who polices the construction of the sidewalks in the first place, because i think there is a lot of shoddy concrete that is being used all over town. i had a house that was 12 years old and the driveway was crap. there was sand only an inch down plus the concrete had shale in it. i see the city replacing curbing all the darn time. obviously someone is using cheap mix when they construct sidewalks/driveways/curbing. i NEVER threw icemelt on my driveway - so i know THAT isn't the reason for the deterioration. cheap mix (because it had lots of shale in it) or it wasn't applied properly - at the right temperature with the proper curing agent.

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unfrumpy 8 years, 3 months ago

Raise taxes on gasoline to help fix roads? That sounds fair to me. :)

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sunflower_sue 8 years, 3 months ago

Bea, thought you were actually serious 'til I read your second paragraph. WHEW! Thanks for the good laugh.:)

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Centrist 8 years, 3 months ago

What a wonderful showcase for KU ... driving along 19th St. Bump, bump, crash ...

Again I say - fix the damn ROADS!!!!!!!! :)

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unfrumpy 8 years, 3 months ago

Well, I think homeowners should.

I live in a home that we own, and just because we own the property, doesn't necessarily mean we can do whatever we feel like with it. Leave it up to homeowner's agreements to figure out how squeakily perfect they want their lawns to be.

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Reader 8 years, 3 months ago

Just Catching Up With All The News, Been Reading All Week. And Couldn't Resist This One.

As I Told You All Before, Living On The North Side Of Town. We Have No "Grocery Store", No "Bank" Of Any Kind, No Real "Retail" Shopping.

And In My "Neighborhood" At Least On My Side Of The Street, Hey Guess What? "NO SIDEWALKs" Either!

Probably A Blessing In Disquise!

Be It "City" Or "Property" Owner's Responsibilty We'll Just Have To Wait And See. BTW, The Sidewalk In Front Of The "Lawrence Vistor's Center" Still And Always Looks Like SH*t, Any Givin Time Or Day Of The Year! Who's Responsible For That One?

Well I Can Say This Much, The "Sidewalks" And The "Streets" Will Always Have Something In Common!

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bankboy119 8 years, 3 months ago

Before you proceed on with the complaint that the roundabouts are all $750k I have heard that they are nearer to around $200k. Does some one know for sure?

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Ceallach 8 years, 3 months ago

Posted by rhd99 (anonymous) on January 20, 2006 at 2:05 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Okay, let me leave you all with this: Boog is an ethical man, though not intelligent in his decision making abilities on this commission.


Who started that rumor?

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DonQuipunch 8 years, 3 months ago

I think the enforcement of homeowners maintaining their sidewalks is on par with the enforcement of laws prohibiting their patrons from littering on homeowners' lawns.

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beatrice 8 years, 3 months ago

mistaken it "for" (or "thought" it was) a plumbers' convention! I hate it when I mess up a joke like that.

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beatrice 8 years, 3 months ago

Or, I could have said ...

Are you kidding me?! There were so many cracks on the sidewalk in front of my house you could have mistaken it was a plumbers' convention!

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beatrice 8 years, 3 months ago

Homeowners should pay, without question! Take a little pride in your neighborhood already! Too many homeowners are just lazy bums, that if laws weren't passed to make sure sidewalks are cared for -- even down to giving out tickets because lazy bum homeowners can't shovel a little snow -- then sidewalks wouldn't be cared for at all!

That is why, when I lived in Lawrence, I kept my sidewalk in perfect condition. To pay for this, I put a toll booth on my sidewalk, as well as several walking roundabouts for which I gave out tickets if people do not navigate them properly -- the lazy bums. If you didn't live in my neighborhood, I charged double, and there were no discounts for children -- the little lazy bums.

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rhd99 8 years, 3 months ago

Okay, let me leave you all with this: Boog is an ethical man, though not intelligent in his decision making abilities on this commission. Bush is unethical & worse he does NOT think about the consequences of his actions that could hurt us all. Today's debate about sidewalks is more of a functional debate. It underscores just a fraction of where Boog & others have failed to take Lawrence & make it a better community. If people question my motives in this last entry, do so, but remember this: 40% of the business & shopping activity that is done on a daily basis is done where? Not Lawrence, but K.C. & Topeka. If this figure is correct, then kudos to the LJW & its people for a great story. Maybe it should serve as a wakeup call to BOOG & others that says this: STOP stalling & start working on ways to attract, not detract people to the Lawrence community. Your days of dividing a great community are up. Put up or shut up!

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Ceallach 8 years, 3 months ago

e_m: Sooo nice of you to sacrifice self and Google Penthouse for omb ;)

Almost forgot -- CITY!

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The_Original_Bob 8 years, 3 months ago

Probably. Just cold rainy/sleety and at some point snowy. Enought to freak the collective populace out.

AAAAAAAAAAAGHHHHHHHHH! Winter Weather! Hide the children!

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sweetpeagj 8 years, 3 months ago

I also recieved a ticket a few years ago for my car being parked on part of the sidewalk. They said it was a public highway. What is the debate then? Public highway..city pays. I fought with the officer because kids walk across the lawn or ride their bikes across it so does that mean my yard is a public highway too? Can I get the vity to pay to keep that up? Heck, that would be nice.

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one_more_bob 8 years, 3 months ago

Are things such as sidewalks getting slick up in L-town right now?

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linux_chick 8 years, 3 months ago

What's the difference between "cracked" sidewalks and "historic" sidewalks. I grew up traversing the brick sidewalks along 9th & Alabama as a kid.

Those walkways are broken, raised, and missing altogether in areas. I used to watch my neighbor in a wheelchair get around using the road by the curb.

Is this an aesthetic debate or a functional one? If we're arguing that functionality on these walkways are a problem, we should probably pull up the old brick sidewalks...

If we leave the old brick, then isn't this debate really about our sidewalks looking nice?

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rhd99 8 years, 3 months ago

Way OTS, but somewhat related to issues here in Lawrence-Bush thinks he can violate our Constitution by doing what he allegedly is doing illegally. Many Democrats & Republicans (I hope) are going to go to the mat & start wrestling with this crisis to see to it that Bush & Co. are held accountable. How does that compare to here? It's simple, we voters need to be clear on the major issues here in Lawrence, & when we see NO improvement in our infrastructure, it's time to throw INCUMBENTS OUT at the voting booths. Some may think nothing can be done. WRONG! Something can be done, so if you're not happy with the current state of things here in Lawrence, which is what I am seeing in all these comments (including mine), then BOOG & whoever else is up for re-election to this City Commission needs to be voted out. Lawrence can & will be better, WITHOUT Boog & one or two other commissioners.

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from_kansasland 8 years, 3 months ago

The city should pay for sidewalk repair.

But considering the year-in and year-out pothole problem we have here in Lawrence.....for some reason, I'm just not inclined to hold my breath when it comes to the city of Lawrence and what it plans to do with its miles and miles of crappy sidewalks!

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Gootsie 8 years, 3 months ago

C1 - blush - you made my day!

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rhd99 8 years, 3 months ago

OTTR is right, where was BOOG & others when the decision was made to WASTE $750k in roundabouts when we could have made repairs on our streets & sidewalks & give pay raises to the uniformed personnel of our fire, medical & police units? Oh I forgot, Rundle was hanging a smoking ban on the tops of everbody's heads!

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consumer1 8 years, 3 months ago

Hey dotteboy, you oughta see Gootsie, a straitup hotsie cutsie... Fo Sho. I'd fix it for her any day o the week..

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76_IH_Scout_Dad 8 years, 3 months ago

Hey Blue, I can only speak of what I know and learned from the contractor/developer of my residential neighborhood. Our neighborhood has about 50 lot's developed by a single contractor. The contractor has to follow certain city codes that specify when, where, and how the sidewalks are constructed. The cost of the sidewalks, Light poles, (all infrastructure governed by the city) is spread evenly between all the finished homes for sale. So, to deduce, even though I live on the other side of the street I paid part of the initial cost of installing the sidewalks in my neighborhood. I'll let you all argue if I should thus be responsible for part of the cost of fixing any repairs to a sidewalk on my street.

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offtotheright 8 years, 3 months ago

Atleast she makes a good argument, unlike Randal "because most property owners don't have the skill or means to fix their own sidewalk".

That really has nothing to do with it, or the argument 'I can't afford to make the repairs'.

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dotteboy 8 years, 3 months ago

I'd repair my sidewalk for Susan Cooper, she's smokin' hot!

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The_Original_Bob 8 years, 3 months ago

Got a question...

The OTS question is "Should..." Isn't there a definitive answer to it? Is it city or property owner? This is where Marion would come in handy. Need to know the actual answer. I love all your opinions.

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sunflower_sue 8 years, 3 months ago

Gootsie, my opinion is that pleather would not hold up well. You should really consider something that never breaks down...like Twinkies or maybe disposable diapers. The diapers are a good idea because they are padded and thefore would help in case of a bad fall. If they have previously been used, they would have self-adhevisive properties that would also be beneficial to the soil.

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Gootsie 8 years, 3 months ago

How well does pleather hold up in extreme temperatures and dog doo doo?

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blue73harley 8 years, 3 months ago

Another question. If the homeowner does own the sidewalk, can they put whatever surface they want? I think I would like a nice boardwalk. Or maybe I will take fruitcakes and use them for stepping stones.

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offtotheright 8 years, 3 months ago

The thousands and thousands of dollars spent on round-a-bouts are also coming out of our taxes! This is spending that does not HAVE to occur! The money that is WASTED is unbelievable!

That is why there is nothing left for street repair, sidewalk repair, etc...

How can anyone justify a $750,000 round-a-bout, over street repair throughout the City?

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blue73harley 8 years, 3 months ago

The city may "own" the sidewalks but I do believe homeowners pay for them. At least they do on newer homes. If I remember correctly, buyers of new homes pay special assessments for a certain number of months/years to covers sidewalks etc. Or has this changed? It has been a long time since I have bought a house.

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rhd99 8 years, 3 months ago

Kutwitch, Dunfield I think proposed animal ordinances that said dogs' crap has to be picked up or else. Where was the enforcement in that?! NOWHERE! Street repairs are coming out of our taxes anyway.

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kutwitch 8 years, 3 months ago

If the sidewalk is the property owners responsibility than I think the owners should have ownership over them and have the right to completely get rid of the sidewalks on their property all together. Very few people seem to ride their bikes on the sidewalks, even in residential areas where it is allowed, so if got rid of my sidewalk I wouldn't have to worry about cracks and maybe people would't walk their dogs on my property and let them crap everywhere. It's a stupid idea but so is making the sidewalks the property owners responsibility. Next thing you know people will be responsible for street repairs.

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rhd99 8 years, 3 months ago

OTTR, I would LOVE to thow out the bums (not all, some) who DON'T have the common sense to prioritize the agendas. I would love to run myself, but that costs money. Tax increases, wow, what a concept! Sounds to me like BOOG & others don't want Lawrence to be a supplier of higher paying jobs. Time to kick BOOG, RUNDLE & SCHAUNER out NOW! For you all who think that I am out control, my apology. I want to fix problems here in Lawrence & find ways to attract higher paying jobs, but I don't have the money to run a successful campaign. That is where my frustration comes from.

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mssking1 8 years, 3 months ago

My son was wheeling in his wheelchair down michigan st in the street because The sidewalk is so torn up his chair cannot maneuver the broken sidewalk or the mud that is always around it. The police stopped him and said he had to move to the sidewalk--he told them he could not for the above reasons and they said he had to anyway and drove off. If they are going to force wheelchair folks to use the sidewalks then the city should repair them

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small_fish_in_small_pond 8 years, 3 months ago

To expedite the process, the property owner should have the right to fix it and be reimbursed by the City

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offtotheright 8 years, 3 months ago

The waste of money in this City makes my head spin. When it comes down to something needing repaired, low and behold 'the money just isn't there, we'll have to raise taxes'.

We need someone with a little more sense making decisions on where and what our taxes will be spent on!

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Linda Endicott 8 years, 3 months ago

If a property owner fixes the sidewalk himself, can he then put a fence up around "his" property and not let anyone else walk on it?

No? I didn't think so...so let the city pay for it.

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rhd99 8 years, 3 months ago

Oh, this MIGHT be totally off the mark, but the DAMN potholes have been a problem as well. I suppose the city wants US to fix it ourselves (yeah RIGHT)! GET A CLUE, BOOG!

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rhd99 8 years, 3 months ago

Since the city seems to have enough money for roundabouts, I think THEY can fix the sidewalks. Kudos to Randall in the "on the street" question. How much money does it take for US to fix the sidewalks? It's money many DON'T have.

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offtotheright 8 years, 3 months ago

How much does a Barista make in Lawrence? I might have to get a part time job to pay for my sidewalk repair.

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bankboy119 8 years, 3 months ago

btw, everybody see the job posting for baristas in the paper today? The current ones must have left so that's why we haven't seen so many in the OTS question.

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bankboy119 8 years, 3 months ago

Lawrence is ridiculous. Stop paying for crap, sorry art, and start paying for infrastructure. OTTR is right. The city should be responsible since it is technically "city" property.

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The_Original_Bob 8 years, 3 months ago

" Don't you people pay taxes for the installation and upkeep of facilities in your city?" Canada

No. Our taxes cover Dada celebrations, roundabouts, and subsidizing tax breaks for companies that offer $6/hr jobs.

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ms_canada 8 years, 3 months ago

I can't believe what I am reading here. Of course the city should maintain the sidewalks. They own the darn things, don't they? That is the case here in my city. Our sidewalks are maintained very well, thank you. The only responsibility of the home owner is to keep the snow shovelled and keep them ice free. If you don't do that, you get a notice and so much time to comply, if you don't comply you get a fine. Can you imagine what a city block would look like if each home owner were obliged to do the repair. Joe Smith decides that hole in front of his house would look just lovely if he added some green pigment to the cement. And two doors down Rick Mercer likes the color purple and he has a rather large crack in his sidewalk. And Mike Slovenly never bothers at all to fix his portion. This is the most ridiculous situation. Don't you people pay taxes for the installation and upkeep of facilities in your city? Our property taxes cover street paving, lighting, snow removal, sweeping and washing in summer, and cutting of the grass on the boulavard and policing of our streets. We even have paved lanes. Also taxes cover garbage pickup and I don't know what else.

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offtotheright 8 years, 3 months ago

They could have repaired or built new sidewalks all over town for the dollars they have spent on god awful 'art', round-a-bouts, surveys, studies, the list goes on and on!

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quitbitchin 8 years, 3 months ago

if the city said they were spending x amount of dollars to fix sidewalks, half this town (or at least most posters here)would go into full blown cardiac arrest.

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even_money 8 years, 3 months ago

Bob Guccione. Don't Google the name unless you are okay with nudie pix.

o_m_b is correct though: Lawrence sidewalks are a 'hard core' problem.

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offtotheright 8 years, 3 months ago

Of course the City should be responsible! All of the broken down sidewalk descriptions in the article reflect the problem stemming from city trucks or people hired by the City.

If I repair my sidewalk, or pour a new wider sidewalk, and it is MY sidewalk, can I park on it?

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Topside 8 years, 3 months ago

it depends on who put the side walks in, in the first place. If it wa a neighborhood Assoc. or neighborhood group then...sorry current property owners, it is your responsibility. But, if it was origionally the city who built the sidewalks then it should be the cities responsibility. Time to dig up the records and figure it out.

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tir 8 years, 3 months ago

I think the city should pay at least half the cost of maintaining or replacing the sidewalks. They're public walkways, located on land that the city claims as their right of way. Property owners are having to pay outrageous taxes as it is due to inflated property values in Lawrence, and they shouldn't get stuck with the entire bill for fixing the sidewalks.

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one_more_bob 8 years, 3 months ago

It looks like they went for the bob g. (can't spell his name & can't google 'penthouse' at work to get the info) 'soft focus' look.

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consumer1 8 years, 3 months ago

As pointed out in the article, many sidewalks are damaged by contractor's, whether doing work for the city like replacing water lines or private like KPL, or whoever we pay outrageous electric bill's to now. These contractor's invariably tear up sidewalks with heavy equipment and then just drive away, charging more money to the customer. They should repair the damage they do. The city should be able to enforce contractor's to repair them. They are on public right of way. I think the city control's the property about 14 feet in from the curb. It could be more or less, I am not sure.

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BrianR 8 years, 3 months ago

The City should be responsible for these repairs. Several years ago I got a ticket for parking in my driveway because they said my bumper was 'blocking' the sidewalk. It was only blocking someone from driving on the sidewalk because my wife and I could easily walk side by side past my bumper without walking on the grass or going out of our way. The message I got from that experience is that the sidewalk isn't mine in any way, shape or form so if it falls apart, too bad - not my problem.

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sunflower_sue 8 years, 3 months ago

Hilary, Someone finally learned how to move the little dial on top of the camera to "portrait" setting.

Sidewalks: I have never heard of a property owner actually taking it upon themselves to fix their portion of the sidewalk. Most people won't even fix their own homes up. This just isn't going to happen on a city-wide level. The city should have to budget for fixing sidewalks so maybe they'd be forced to put some other dumb ideas on the back burner. Any idea what those "dumb ideas" are?

Let me go on to say that a property owner could at the very least keep their section weed free. Sorry guys, no selling or smoking on the sidewalk!

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hilary 8 years, 3 months ago

Is it just me, or did the "On the Street" people get a better camera for pics? These look like freakin' Glamour Shots.

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RonBurgandy 8 years, 3 months ago

The city should take care of this, no question.

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Marion Lynn 8 years, 3 months ago

Not to mention the recent fad of driving at night with no headlights or parking lights only.

I see the LPD doing nothing about those things!

Lemmee see here......

...smoking ban...

..."disorderly house" ordinance...

...no umbrellas in your yard....

...really odd sculptures put up at public expence...

...roundabouts which no one really wants....

...drug paraphernalia sold openly Downtown...

...and now....

...fix your sidewalk or we'll put a lien on your house!

A lien is the end result of failing to fix a sidewalk and if the lien is not satisfied a sale of the property may result.

Welcome to Lawrence!

The answer is "No!"

Thanks.

Marion.

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YourItalianPrincess 8 years, 3 months ago

The sidewalks are horrible all over Lawrence. I really don't think its just one place they are looking at. On the East side of town we have brick sidewalks along with some brick roads. I realize keeping the brick sidewalks keeps the old look there, but making them level would be nice.

I walk to and from the neighborhood school twice a day taking and picking up daycare children. Theres not one day that one of my little daycare guys falls because the sidewalks are raised, cracked and they trip. I have taken care of alot of beat up knees.

I won't even start with the fact you can't see the lines in the street at night when it rains.

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Marion Lynn 8 years, 3 months ago

All of the sidewalks in town could have been repaired for the cost of the 19th and Barker roundabout which cost inexcess of $750,000.00 by the time all things were paid.

Doh!

Thanks.

Marion.

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blue73harley 8 years, 3 months ago

Suggestion for the future. When new developments go in, increase the special assessment slightly to set up a fund for sidewalk repair. Of course, you would have to put some clause in this repair fund to make sure that it didn't end up building a roundabout.

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Harry_Manback 8 years, 3 months ago

Maybe if they fixed the sidewalks, then they could begin allowing people to ride their bikes on them. The I wouldn't have to worry about hitting bikers all the time at 2 a.m., when they're riding down the street with no lights on and not following the rules of the road.

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even_money 8 years, 3 months ago

It's not so much a matter of "should" as it is about "must." Dangerous sidewalks MUST be repaired and / or replaced. More than simply a matter of "walkability", it is also a matter of pride.

Although the law requires property owners to be responsible for sidewalks on their property, obviously this scenario isn't working. Instead of focusing efforts on putative measures, some type of organized effort must be set in place to create and manage a variety of solutions. One means would be to coordinate local groups together to take a serious look at what is needed to fix sidewalk inadequacies and on a case by case basis how to go about it. The city needs to work with LAN (Lawrence Association of Neighborhoods) which in turn, working with individual neighborhoods (and subsequently with individual property owners), must identify and prioritize specific instances where agreements can be reached on how to proceed. Entities such as the Traffic Safety Commission, Parks Commission, etc., must also be tapped for their input.

Properly fixing and maintaining Lawrence sidewalks will take a concerted community effort.

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