City looks to fix dangerous sidewalks faster

The City of Albuquerque hands out hundreds of sidewalk violations every year, and now it wants to crack down on those property owners who are creating a dangerous situation.

“They’re really not that great. It sucks when you have to walk everywhere downtown,” Regina Torrez of Albuquerque said. “Your shoes get torn up and it’s just not enjoyable.”

In 2018, the city took in more than 1,100 sidewalk issue requests through 311 and found 480 violations. Currently, there’s a lengthy process to get property owners to fix them.

The Department of Municipal Development said it can take a maximum of 180 days and up to four notices before the city will step in, if necessary, using its contractor to fix the sidewalk, then sending the landowner the bill. “Out of 460 violations in 2018, we had to inspect each one of those pretty much four times,” Johnny Chandler, DMD spokesperson, said.

The city council on Wednesday will vote on a resolution to speed up the sidewalk fixes by only giving property owners two notices, giving property owners 90 to 120 days from the first notice for the repair.

“By shortening this process, we’re hoping to save between 30 and 50 days for when the sidewalk is actually repaired,” Chandler said. 

The city said it’s also part of Albuquerque’s response to the city inspector general’s year-old report revealing Albuquerque has more than $400 million in repairs needed to make sidewalks, driveways, and curbs ADA compliant. ​​​​​”The city is technically ADA compliant, but we’re always looking to improve,” Chandler explained.

Some people said the resolution is a good move to show more pride in Albuquerque’s image. “You go to other cities and it doesn’t look like this,” Torrez said.

DMD said it will also help property owners find a contractor.

If a property owner does not comply, the city says it will fix the sidewalk and can bill the property owner in the form of a lien. 

If approved by city council, the new process could go into effect by late 2020.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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