Set priorities, fund repairs and report on progress
In July the City of Atlanta approved an ordinance addressing sidewalk maintenance that takes positive steps forward but falls far short of needs. To bring sufficient funding and transparency, much work remains.
Establish sidewalk maintenance priorities
The ordinance requires Public Works to implement repairs “upon a prioritized basis.” It doesn’t, however, define what factors Public Works should use to set priorities.
The current first-come, first-served system must be replaced by one that considers multiple factors.
Researchers at Georgia Tech have gathered data that answers these questions. The next step: helping Public Works incorporate their findings into an equitable prioritization system.
Show us the money
The new ordinance authorizes Public Works to use public funds to pay for repairs, if funding is available.
Yet to our dismay, the ordinance maintains Public Works’ authority to bill property owners for repairs to sidewalks adjacent to their property. Public Works is unlikely to exercise this authority, so we don’t expect it to prompt sidewalk repairs. Instead, continuing to authorize Public Works to bill property owners may keep city officials comfortable approving budgets that grossly underfund sidewalk repairs.
The ordinance doesn’t set a minimum that the city must allocate to sidewalk repairs each year. Given that, we’ll continue to push for a fair share of funding for sidewalk repairs.
Make spending, needs and activities transparent