City faces upwards of $400 million in needed sidewalk, curb repairs

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It’s not hard to find buckling and cracked pavement along Albuquerque’s more than 4,000 miles of sidewalks, and the city is working to make property owners aware they are responsible for fixing the problems.

“[There are] lot of broken sidewalks. It’s really easy, I feel like, if you’re not paying attention, you can easily fall,” Maxwell Ronquillo of Albuquerque said.

“I used to have a longboard. It would fling me off my board when I would run into a rough patch,” Luke Morrison of Albuquerque added.

It’s city policy that a business or a homeowner has to foot the bill to fix these problems. 

It’s been more than a year since the city Inspector General’s report revealed Albuquerque has more than $400 million in repairs needed to make sidewalks, driveways and curbs ADA compliant.

“This is a work in progress and it will continue to be a work in progress,” Johnny Chandler with the Department of Municipal Development said. 

He added the city will continue to rely on tips to 311 about bad sidewalks or calls from the property owner asking for suggestions. 

“We do not physically go out and inspect sidewalks in the neighborhood, but if somebody gives us a call and says, ‘This sidewalk is bowed,’ or somebody’s curious about it, we’ll take a look at it for them and then give them a long time frame for them to fix it, as well,” Chandler explained. 

He said the city handed out 339 notices to property owners in 2016 and 479 notices in 2017.

DMD said moving forward, the city is asking for $400,000 in this next bond cycle to go toward making the city more ADA compliant, which includes fixing city-owned sidewalks.

“That’s obviously not going to fix all of them but that’s a nice step toward trying to fix them,” Chandler said.

People agree taking a more proactive approach is not just about making these walkways safer, but also about taking pride in the Duke City.

“Even for just like the businesses to respect their establishment and the area around their establishment,” Ronquillo said.

The city has also hired an ADA compliance coordinator who started work on Monday. His job is to help improve sidewalks and other rights of way to be more accessible to everyone.

The city adds that people who are given a notice to fix their sidewalk have 180 days before the city will fix it, then send them the bill.

Depending on the size of the sidewalk that needs repairs, the city said fixes generally cost in the range of $500 to $1,000.

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