Norwalk council members look at sidewalk issue

A Stuart Avenue sidewalk shows that it is badly in need of repair. Norwalk ordinances says that sidewalks are the responsibility of the property owner.

NORWALK, Conn. – Norwalk Democrats are considering a push for an ordinance change to allow the city to take over maintenance of city sidewalks. In the meantime, there is a push for a study to see how much it would cost to repair the sidewalks in conjunction with paving programs.

Councilman David Watts (D-District A) brought up the topic at Tuesday’s Public Works Committee meeting. Department of Public Works Director Hal Alvord attempted to discourage the initiative as being too costly. Councilman Bruce Kimmel (D-At Large) indicated support for looking into sidewalk repair, while Republicans were mute until finally agreeing to consider a study.

The council is dominated 8-7 by the Republican caucus. That includes Kimmel, who could be considered a swing vote.

Alvord initially told Watts that fixing all of the city’s 140 miles of sidewalks would cost “tens of millions of dollars.”

He said the city would have to rewrite its ordinance. Watts said he knew that.

“We should look at that ordinance and repairing these sidewalks because there’s a lot of seniors and indigent people who can’t afford to make those repairs and we have people using those sidewalks who can be hurt,” Watts said. “So I think we need to make some sort of cost analysis.”

“It’s more expensive to do a linear foot of sidewalk than it is to do a linear foot of asphalt paving on the road,” Alvord said.

Kimmel said a plan could be developed, similar to the paving plan, in which $5 million has been spent on paving each year for the past six years. The is a five-year plan in place for paving going forward. There is also a 10-year plan in place, beyond the documented capital budget plans, Alvord said.

“Let’s say I could write a check right now for sidewalk repair,” Kimmel said. “Do we have any kind of plan?”

The answer was no. Alvord said the city would need to hire an outside firm to do a study.

A sidewalk in the Stuart Avenue area, part of Norwalk District A, represented on the Common Council by Democrats Eloisa Melendez and David Watts.

“The sidewalk thing is something I just really never understood about Norwalk, especially when it comes to snow,” Kimmel said. “People are just confused, what’s going to be enforced, what their obligations are, and then you see the snowplows. They have no place — when it’s a deep snow, when it’s a real storm — they have no place to plow the stuff but back onto the sidewalk, which on occasion has already been shoveled by the homeowner.”

Alvord said that last bit was true.

“The challenge we have with streets and sidewalks is our streets started out as Indian pony paths and the houses encroached up on them and everything else,” Alvord said. “So we can’t just go straighten everything out and do the ideal thing on every street.”

Watts asked if anyone would object to a study. Councilman Jerry Petrini (R-District D) and Kimmel asked Alvord if he could get a ballpark figure for them to consider.

No formal process, Alvord said.

“You don’t go out and get prices for this… you get a RFQ, Request for Qualifications,” he said. “ … Once you select the most qualified firm then you negotiate the price.”

“I know, but I could pick up the phone myself tomorrow and start calling a bunch of cities and end up at the end of the day with some idea,” Kimmel said.

It was agreed that a proposal would be developed to put together a request to fund such a study and put it in the capital budget request, which is due by Jan. 16, according to Alvord.

Petrini said the study should separate residential from commercial properties.

Committee Chairman David McCarthy (R-District E) agreed.

“We’re not going to put the $100 million in (the capital budget request) for the sidewalks but if the study is there it is a good placeholder.”

Mayor Harry Rilling promised in his campaign to look at repairing Norwalk sidewalks.


36 responses to “Norwalk council members look at sidewalk issue”

  1. Notaffiliated

    How about putting in sidewalks where they are most needed? Example, North Avenue between East Ave and France Street.

  2. Jaywalker

    We could call the new ordinance PPACA.
    Pedestrian Protection Affordable Concrete Act.
    We could build a website that will allow consumers to pick the right contractor to do the repairs. And if you are “elderly or indigent” you’ll get a subsidy so it won’t cost you anything.
    But don’t worry, if you like your sidewalk you can keep it. And under this new plan you’ll save money because fixing the rest of the city’s sidewalks won’t add a dime to the debt.

  3. Piberman

    Some of us have been waiting 20 years or more for repair of serious damaged roads in areas where there are no sidewalks. Maybe fixing roads could trump sidewalks ? In the “New Norwalk” ?

  4. M Allen

    I would agree that if you want uniformity in how sidewalks are maintained, then you don’t leave it up to the individual owners of the property to get it done. Because it won’t, for a lot of reasonable and not-so-reasonable reasons. But really, what brilliant mind ever determined that the structural integrity of a public sidewalk along a public road should be the responsibility of the property owners? Were they installed by the current or previous property owner? Are they just the responsibility of the property owner on the sidewalk side of the street while the homes across the street are free and clear from obligation? Do we really want 100 feet to be in tip top condition and the next 100 feet be riddled with defects? There are far more reasons why this should be centralized and included as part of the roadway program than there are for maintaining the status quo. Other than money. There are countless millions of reasons for maintaining the status quo.
    The cost is obviously an issue and it is one further cost to taxpayers if the city takes it upon itself. You could still leave the cost up to property owners but let the city do the work i.e. the city bills them directly or as a special tax assessment. But if the city is going to take it on fully, then where it falls on the priority continuum will be an interesting discussion. Do safe sidewalks take precedence over bike lanes? Do generic, but safe, sidewalks in parts of town that aren’t Historic SoNo or Wall Street take precedence over the walkable city initiative? Because I’m not sure all walkers are created equal sometimes. Does the installation of entirely new sidewalks where none existed take precedence over the repair of old ones? Don’t all people have a fundamental human right to sidewalks?
    City dollars are finite. Millions here versus millions there. Choices will have to be made. But it’s nothing that intelligent planning can’t overcome. And people willing to compromise on the other expenses the city incurs.

  5. Tobias

    Can they look into adding 10 feet more of sidewalk on Grumman Ave to complete the walk to Cranbury Park’s trail? It would avoid pedestrians having to brave the traffic to get to the park in a tight corner hill. I feel like I can’t walk the 1/4 mile to the park from my house because I don’t want my 3 y/o on the road when cars are driving 40 – 50 mph on the road in that section.

  6. Oldtimer

    “It’s more expensive to do a linear foot of sidewalk than it is to do a linear foot of asphalt paving on the road,” Alvord said. And, “the city would need to hire an outside firm to do a study “. Alvord, it seems, will say just about anything to discourage something he doesn’t like, or to support something he has an interest in. He doesn’t have anybody in house who could calculate the costs ? He is lucky pants don’t really catch on fire.

  7. Dorothy Mobilia

    Sidewalk upgrades are desperately needed throughout the city. In my neighborhood, new families negotiate the roadway with their baby strollers and bicycles and even walking, because the sidewalks that do exist, even at city-owned properties, have narrowed over time to being maybe a foot wide. Much like the Indian paths Mr. Alvord talks about.

  8. Jaywalker

    Oldtimer might not realize this, but the larger street milling/paving machines are just a little more efficient than the smaller sidewalks. Concrete excavation can be very costly too. But since we know money grows on trees, all of this should be easy to accomplish.

  9. jlightfield

    A study is sorely needed, In our downtown areas there is a mix between city owned, state owned, and taxing district owned sidewalks. It is why, for example, snow and debris will be removed from upper Ann St. only to have nothing done under the rail road bridge, then a mix of maintenance the rest of the way.
    DPW does not have enough staff to do its work. Hal has consistently said this since he has been Director. It has been his claim as to why he has not been aggressive in enforcing the sidewalk ordinance we do have, and it took years to get the prior administration to hire a part time enforcement officer.
    Let’s stop with the myth that Norwalk is full of property owners who are old and poor. The majority of old Norwalk property owners are often absentee owners who allow their properties to remain blighted and their sidewalks dangerous.

  10. EveT

    The work to repair roads is not being done well. We see streets torn up time and time again, only to have new potholes within a year. It seems Norwalk is either not paying to have the job done right, or the contractors are skimming taking pay for a proper job but actually doing just a half-baked job.

  11. Ryan

    If you like your sidewalk you can keep your sidewalk………..priceless.

  12. M Allen

    @Ryan – yeah that was pretty funny. The whole ACA comparison could be taken so far with this. Like what about all the thousands of people who don’t currently have a sidewalk? We could compel them to build a sidewalk or fine them, sorry tax them, for not complying. Or what about those with substandard sidewalks, that aren’t really sidewalks at all? They would need to upgrade to fully compliant sidewalks or have their existing paths removed.
    And relax everyone. Levity can be used for good.

  13. Bill

    Sidewalks are an absolute must for any modern city. I can’t believe Norwalk allows its sidewalks to get into such disrepair. Also, no one should be allowed to park on the sidewalks, as happens in many neighborhoods in Norwalk, why isn’t there a fine for this?

  14. Break the Unions

    I see good old Harry has not wasted much time wasting my tax dollars.

  15. Oldtimer

    Of course, if you are talking about removing an inch or so and replacing it with another similar layer, the machines they use now are quite efficient. But, if you are talking about paving a sidewalk, starting from scratch, and comparing that cost with paving a road, starting from scratch, the cost per linear foot would never be more for the sidewalk than for a road. And I didn’t need to hire another outside consultant to figure that out. Maybe the next engineer that gets Alvord’s job won’t be a retired Army Corps colonel, more familiar with bureaucracy than road and sidewalk maintenance. Before he got to the corps, he developed a record as a good soldier and leader and we should all be grateful for that service, but that does not make him the right man for his present job. There are people in his department that are better qualified.

  16. M Allen

    @Bill – how can you not believe Norwalk has let its sidewalks get into this state of disrepair? The deterioration has been going on for decades. Sidewalks aren’t much different from bridges in that regard. They were infrastructure that was ignored as much as possible to avoid incurring the costs associated with keeping them in proper shape. But as time went by and the problem became more pervasive, what administration wanted to be the one that had to tell that many tax paying homeowners that they need to make up for decades of neglect? None of them. It is a political football with a lit fuse. Punt.

  17. MGeake

    All of the other reasons notwithstanding, our sidewalks are virtually impassible when Mary, my mother, and I are using our wheelchairs. This was one of the issues I was going to propose had I chaired the Ordinance Committee again.

    Let me propose a compromise: the city takes over maintenance of the sidewalks and, for the initial repairs needed to bring a sidewalk up to standard, assess each property owner based on the length of sidewalk adjacent to them. These assessments should then payable over the same time period as are the bonds the city uses to finance the work, and for the same rate (plus a small increment to cover the administration of the program). This way, those who should have done the work themselves will bear the initial cost, but in a manner that shouldn’t cripple any property owner, and the city has a clean slate on which to start their assumption of the maintenance. Going forward, repairs and maintenance would just be a general DPW budget item.

  18. Ryan

    My property doesn’t have a sidewalk and I don’t go out walking. Am I to be compelled to pay for sidewalks because others deem it necessary?
    How about those who have substandard sidewalks make their own repairs and leave me out of it?

  19. EveT

    @Ryan, if someone works at home and doesn’t drive, why should that person pay to maintain roads? If someone has no kids in the school why should they pay to support the schools?

  20. Don’t Panic

    As long as DPW has the right to pile snow on those side walks repeatedly causing the need for the owner to keep them clear to avoid liability for a slip and fall accident, and while the snowplows have the right to damage sidewalks, fences, cars, windows and people without consequence, the owners should not have shoulder the expense of maintaining the sidewalk.

  21. LWitherspoon

    Excellent idea by Mike Geake. Would this go so far as to install sidewalks on the many properties that don’t have them?

  22. Ryan

    Excellent point Eve. Why do I pay Federal income tax when govt has no Constitutional right to withhold it? But I digress. Norwalk has larger issues than sidewalks and bike lanes. How about we be fiscally responsible and look for ways to cut and not expand the budget?

  23. M Allen

    Maybe we should try shaming people into fixing their sidewalks. Dead serious. How about a wall of shame with the property owners names and pictures of their sidewalks. If the city won’t do it’s job in requiring these to be fixed and then fining the people who don’t comply, then start posting pics and names independently. Public shame was always a useful tool. There are obviously some who are shameless and don’t care, but maybe the others will self-rectify and then the city can deal with the others. By the way, if the city is short on funds for certain things and we get all happy when we receive $175 from the transfer of the 95/7 property, imagine what we could accrue with the fines for sidewalk repairs.

  24. Diane C2

    I wonder how the sidewalks look in Mr. Alvord’s neighborhood… in Danbury.

    The condition of Norwalk sidewalks, not unlike much of our sorry infrastructure, is attributable to a severe lack of 3 key components (which can be found as the cause of most quality of life woes here): Root Cause Analysis of problems; consistent enforcement; and routine, preventative maintenance.
    Instead, we usually treat symptoms and not causes; we enforce to silence the squeaky wheel; and our daily operations are mainly reactive, seldom proactive.

    As long as we ignore these integral processes, we’ll continue to have the same old problems, including embarrassing, dangerous sidewalks and roads where potholes and manhole covers serve as Mr. Alvord’s best attempt at modern traffic calming.

  25. M Allen

    Diane – welcome to government. That doesn’t begin or end with Mr. Alvord, Mayor Moccia or whoever the bogeyman of the hour is. It’s all about the squeaky wheel and being reactionary. Money doesn’t get spent unless some group is barking loud enough and carries enough weight to get it pushed through. There are so many competing interests, the biggest of which is Education, that which shall not be touched. Even in cities that do a good job of making the parts of town that most people see look pretty, I’ll bet you can find areas that go unnoticed. We can’t get bridges fixed appropriately. Where do you think sidewalks fall in the grand scheme of government outlays.

  26. Casey Smith

    @ M Allen,

    Many years ago, my family owned a piece of property that had a small stream running through it. We had a very simple bridge there to get from one side to another. When the ACOE came in to deal with flooding issues, we were informed by them that the State of Connecticut owns every bridge, from our simple board to the Q in New Haven and beyond. Then we were informed we had to ask the State permission to remove it! So, I understand your frustration about getting bridges fixed, but those bridge repairs may be out of the City’s control.

  27. Oldtimer

    Norwalk has had Republican administrations under Esposito and Moccia that relied on the ability to control taxes to get re-elected and ignored a lot of routine expenses to accomplish that. The beauty of the plan is it allowed them to campaign against Democrats as the tax and spend party. When Democrats did get in, like Knopp, a lot of the neglected maintenance things just had to be done, like leaking school roofs, and money spent. The Republicans used such expenditures to bolster their tax and spend arguments in the next campaign and we elected another Republican on the premise he would be a better fiscal manager. This happened all over the country, and already local Republicans are preparing to label a Rilling administration if it spends a nickel, in preparation for the next campaign. We all know money will be spent and taxes will not go down in spite of all the promises made about money the City will save over the next ten years with outsourcing. Norwalk’s ordinance on sidewalks is a very old one. When Irv Freeze was mayor he would ring doorbells and threaten people if the sidewalk in front of their houses were not cleared after snowstorms. Sidewalks were not required when houses were built, but, if they were there, the adjacent property owner was responsible for them. Sidewalks don’t need to be poured concrete, but they need to be wide enough and kept clear enough that nobody has to walk, or operate a wheelchair, in the street. The city built blacktop foot paths years ago on some streets and bought sidewalk size snow plows to keep them cleared, but, after a few years lost interest in keeping them clear. Some Cities took advantage of grants to make older sidewalks accessible at intersections. Remember Reagan campaigned on how horrified he was about the size of the national debt and promised to reduce it. He was elected and the debt tripled while he was in office.

  28. Mike Mushak

    Thank you David Watts for highlighting this important issue of sidewalk conditions in our city that has been neglected for years by both city agencies and private property owners.
    There is no need for a new study. The existing ordinances seem fine, including a $250/day fine that would wake up any negligent property owner. It is up to the Corporation Counsel to seek payment of those fines with legal measures, something Maslan rarely pursued. I believe our ordinances reflect what most other cities already do as well. That is worth finding out to confirm.
    Taxpayers and the city in general should not be responsible for maintenance of sidewalks, and that includes filling holes or otherwise making the sidewalk safe to use. That is up to the adjoining property owners even though the sidewalks are mostly on public property. That is a basic responsibility of property ownership, and if an owner doesn’t like it, he can sell his property and rent and let someone else worry about it.
    It’s that simple. We live together in a society with others, and that is our responsibility towards the common good. If someone can’t afford it or are physically challenged, they need to make arrangements with friends or family to follow the law to clear sidewalks of snow and ice, pick up trash,and fill dangerous holes, or they just shouldn’t own property, but could rent as so many folks do. No one should have to risk their lives on a broken sidewalk because a property owner is ignoring the law, regardless of the owner’s income or physical condition, unless we change the ordinances but I do not see the need. I (or anyone else) could simply say I have a sore back and that is why I didn’t shovel my sidewalk, or I have other expenses and just didnt feel like fixing my sidewalk. If there was a threat of a fine, I would figure out a way to do it, the same way I as a property owner would fix a leaky roof or cut my grass. It needs to become that entrenched that that is what we do as property owners, and after decades of no enforcement, I would say many Norwalkers have just become lazy when it comes to following sidewalk ordinances, as there is no price to pay.
    I agree with Jackie Lightfield that most property owners can surely afford to maintain their own sidewalks, and in our neighborhood for instance, absentee landlords of often blighted buildings often make a killing off of charging huge rents in substandard buildings that they refuse to invest in (and we have seen through internet searches where many of these absentee landlords live-in more leafy suburbs in million dollar homes, so give me a break!). They rarely keep the sidewalks clean, free of snow, and in good repair. That is where the fines come in, and they will add up quickly, enough so that if the owner refuses to pay, the city can put a lien on the property and go ahead and fix the sidewalk themselves with the assurance the fine money will get paid eventually.
    The other issue is the city’s self-defeating sidewalk policy. I have heard, and it is worth confirming as I do not have first-hand knowledge except what I have heard from neighbors, that the city only allows new sidewalks to be 5 foot wide concrete, even in neighborhoods where the sidewalks are traditionally the lower cost asphalt. Since asphalt sidewalks are not driven on by heavy traffic, they can last decades longer than street surfaces. I know some asphalt sidewalks that are at least 35 years old and still in good shape, so why the infatuation by our DPW on concrete?
    We need to convince DPW that their engineering standard needs to be loosened and be made more “context-sensitive”, a new catchphrase in urban design that basically means design standards should fit the surroundings and that there is no one-size-fits-all solution all over the city, as engineers tend to think because, well, they are engineers who are trained to rely on established standards, not creative solutions in varying surroundings. There is plenty of evidence to back this claim up all over Norwalk, but I’ll spare you.
    I have heard that the city has fined folks for patching their asphalt sidewalks without a permit, and that with a permit, the city requires you to replace a badly damaged sidewalk with expensive 5 foot wide concrete, even when the entire neighborhood has 3 to 4 foot wide asphalt sidewalks that work just fine! So why should homeowners even bother fixing their sidewalks if the city is not going to work with them to do what is affordable and context-sensitive, but will penalize them for just trying to patch a dangerous hole?
    It is a Catch 22 that makes no sense. This is where the Public Works Committee needs to start looking to fix the sidewalk dilemma, instead of another expensive study that simply delays the process further, which is exactly what some in City Hall want to do rather than solve a huge problem.
    The horrible condition of many of our our sidewalks is making our city even less attractive to families and retirees who may choose to move to or even stay in a neighborhood with safe and adequate sidewalk. Our culture is changing rapidly, total driving miles are way down, and walking and bicycling are gaining poopularity rapidly in cities all over the country. Some folks may choose to live in another town where taking a walk doesn’t mean risking your life, as I have to do every time I walk my dog around the block in Golden Hill on the most unbelievable obstacle course that is more like a third world country than a modern city.
    We can do better, and we should do better, without having to cost taxpayers any more money if property owners just followed the existing ordinances, and were not forced to spend money installing or repairing inappropriate and expensive sidewalks in neighborhoods where they didnt have to occur, which is most of Norwalk I believe.

    We can solve this problem by using common sense and increased enforcement, and overhauling the obsolete DPW standards, and there should be absolutely no need for yet another study that we then can ignore as most of them are anyway.

  29. Suzanne

    Aren’t impassable sidewalks or inaccessible sidewalks a violation of the American with Disabilities Act? I thought compliance with this Act, across the country, was mandatory.

  30. M Allen

    @Oldtimer – under the law, sidewalks are the responsibility of the adjoining property owners. How exactly did the Moccia and Esposito administrations save tax money by not simply telling the owners to get them fixed and then fining those who failed to comply. I mean, I hear the politically conspiratorial plan you’re trying to sell, which of course worked for all of what, the Knopp Administration? But when it comes to sidewalks, that doesn’t really fit. Nor I guess would the $5 million a year the Moccia administration was spending on road repairs. But whatever. Sidewalks. How did those fit in?
    And are we really going to continue the ruse that one party or the other has cared much at all about the crumbling infrastructure of this country? Both parties put if off as long as possible and hope it doesn’t fall out from under the voters on their watch. Competing interests for tax dollars always seem to get in the way of infrastructure funding. Whether it’s for roads or railways, bridges or sidewalks, there is always something else to spend the money on. Here in Norwalk, that would be called education.

  31. LWitherspoon

    @Mike Mushak
    I know that many cities make sidewalk upkeep the responsibility of homeowners. But might the City’s policy on sidewalks be creating a disincentive for property owners to build them in the first place? From the owner’s perspective, if you build a sidewalk, sure you’re doing a civic-minded thing but the downside is you’re now responsible for maintaining that sidewalk when it snows and when it needs replacement.
    I am in favor of sidewalks everywhere, but it seems to me that the existing policies may have unintentionally created a disincentive for residential property owners to install sidewalks. What can Norwalk do to encourage more sidewalks in front of residences where they don’t exist?

  32. ryan

    When is the last time someone in Norwalk suffered a fatal injury in a sidewalk fall? The way this issue is being dramatized its made to sound as if we’re taking a walk on I95.

  33. Mike Mushak

    Ryan, I don’t know the statistics but we do know of plenty of falls and injuries on sidewalks. Do we need deaths before we address this issue? I would also argue that many folks avoid the worst stretches as a matter of personal safety, unused stretches that would be used if they were safer. This is a matter of economics, and property values, as much as it’s a matter of safety. It is also a matter of crime, as studies show higher crime rates in neighborhoods with trash-strewn, weed-choked broken sidewalks.
    In some places it’s just a matter of trimming overgrown plantings that homeowners or condos have neglected with impunity as the sidewalks become choked with growth. It is common in our neighborhood (Golden Hill) to see children and elderly walking in speeding traffic because the sidewalks are impassable. It is only a matter of time before tragedy hits, and we have actually had a couple of pedestrian deaths over the years on CT Ave where there was a lack of sidewalks and crosswalks, which even though is a state road it was the city that approved projects over the years there with little regard for pedestrian safety (see Wendy’s near Kohls for an example). That is another issue than sidewalk maintenance being discussed here but it is related to the larger issue of pedestrian safety in Norwalk.
    The truth is, you can drive around older neighborhoods all over town and see sidewalks that are impassable and dangerous. Norwalk is not unique as an aging industrial city for sure, but I visit dozens of cities every year as a hobby and drive through all kinds of neighborhoods, and I can say with confidence that most cities take a proactive approach and keep their sidewalks safe for ALL users. The news that the state provided millions in grants for fixing sidewalks that were given to surrounding cities, but that Norwalk got nothing because we didn’t ask, is discouraging.
    L Witherspoon, the city should not require homeowners to pay for initial installation of new sidewalks. That should be part of a neighborhood approach with efficient construction savings based on scale, as the city did on Ponus Ave last year with great results. There are times when long stretches of crumbling sidewalks can be replaced en masse with road construction, as the city does routinely already (Camp, Cedar, etc.). This is an effort worth celebrating, but it is dealing with the individual property owner who has let their piece deteriorate through neglect that is the big issue here.
    I still think a study is overkill when all we need is better enforcement of existing ordinances. I am less concerned than Councilman Watts is with property owners who say they can’t do it because of unique income or physical needs, as I believe that property ownership is a choice, not a right, and personal responsibility includes following public safety laws that should not be ignored by anyone. There are other options for these folks, including churches, families, friends, private charities, or selling the property and renting. The reality is there is widespread resentment in neighborhoods of the folks who are not doing their fair share to keep sidewalks in good shape, and leads to some folks giving up because their neighbors have, and strict enforcement is the only way to deal with it, something we have ignored for decades.
    Smart cities get this, so we need to deal with it now instead of kicking the can down the road yet again with another study we don’t need. If DPW needs help with this, Alvord should ask for it or the Council should just demand it, as this area of enforcement of safety and quality of life ordinances carries over into another need, the trashcan and sidewalk cleanliness ordinances that are so often ignored leading to trash in the streets and storm drains, that goes directly into our harbor every time it rains. Small investment, huge benefits. What are we waiting for?

  34. Suzanne


    The accessibility of sidewalks does not have to be re-written. There are plenty of WEB based resources from the Federal Government, this reference to local interpretation of accessibility laws, that Norwalk could use to improve the inadequate conditions that currently exist. In fact, the American with Disabilities Act DOES apply to government, public and private sidewalk right of ways and has ample explanations as to how to enact upgrades to comply. The only study that needs to be done could easily be provided through the citizenry: where are the sidewalks that need fixing? Then, fix them already.

  35. ryan

    Mike, your points are well thought out and clear. Let me be clear. I don’t want to pay a single cent more in my taxes because property owners have failed to meet their obligations.

  36. M Allen

    Loooking back at the original story, this wasn’t just about sidewalks needing repair. We all know they need to be both repaired and probably added to around the city. As for the ones that need to be repaired – we have ordinances for how that is handled. It just needs to be handled. But the real story is that after making it an issue during the election, certain council members seem to be concerned now about how constituents may be forced to pay for it under the existing ordinances. I don’t think the city should change who is financially responsible. It’s all a great idea to fix sidewalks, but when the issue of paying for it comes up, certain people want to look to changing the ordinances regarding who is responsible.

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