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Waste Some Money On Sidewalks

September 14, 2013

To The Reader’s Forum: I have a bit of a beef. I see this city waste a ton of money on some pretty lame stuff: painting benches bike racks and the like. Here’s my beef....

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Sep-17-13 7:00 AM

So now painting benches and adding bike racks are a waste of money? You may be correct about some sidewalks, but lets diminish the need for bike racks as well as clean, freshly painted benches, and the likes.

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Sep-16-13 8:49 PM

And in most communities it is the property owner that is responsible to clear the sidewalk of snow. In such cases local codes will specify just how soon after a snowfall the sidewalk must be cleared and to what standards it must be removed (ie . cleared to the pavement surface, generally passable to pedestrians, etc.) Such codes are usually enforced only about the time that a pedestrian gets run over while walking in the highway because the sidewalks are impassable because they weren't cleared all winter by the property owner. THEN THE LAWSUITS FLY!!!! In some communities the government will undertake snow clearing responsibilities by running little plows along the sidewalks, all funded by a tax of course.

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Sep-16-13 8:35 PM

That's correct RationalThinker. In most municipalities it's the property owner's responsibly, as is indicated in the City of Jamestown code. Although the sidewalk is on city property (road right of way) and in fact belongs to the city, it's the property owner who is responsible for it's maintenance. As strange as many people find that situation, the practice actually goes back to the days when property owners were responsible for the maintenance of the road abutting their rural property! That situation changed with the introduction of motor vehicles and increased usage of roads to the point that it really wasn't practical; thus the introduction of the public "highway dept.". My great grandfather used to contract with local farmers too busy to fix the roads along their lands themselves. That was back in the late 1800's.

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Sep-16-13 12:17 PM

Wait a moment here.. KCW007 stated that "Such owner or occupant, and each of them, shall be liable for any injury or damage by reason of omission. failure, or neglect to make, maintain or repair such sidewalk". So does that mean that the homeowner is responsible for the maintenance and repair of the sidewalk in front of their home?? Surely I'm reading that wrong.

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Sep-14-13 4:08 PM

Ms. Evans would probably want to send a certified letter of complaint (aka: NOTICE OF DEFECT) c/o the Office of the City Clerk. As a general rule, upon receipt of such notice it is the duty of a village/town/city clerk to then distribute such notices to the appropriate governmental office within the municipality.

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Sep-14-13 1:22 PM

This subject is somewhat covered on the 30APR12' Union Times article: "Getting there, Faulty Sidewalks can drive wheelchair users into the streets". Apparently section 130 of the NYS V&T law "defines a pedestrian as a person afoot or in a wheelchair". Obviously a "pedestrian" has the right to make use of a public sidewalk. The article goes on to explain that pedestrians are required to make use of available sidewalks, as opposed to "walking" in the road, provided that the sidewalk can be safely used. However in cases where the sidewalk cannot be safely used, pedestrians may use the adjoining roadway, if they can safely do so. I would assume that a person using a motorized wheelchair (opposed to a "push it yourself" model) or "mobility scooter" would have to have a doctor's prescription showing a medical need for such a conveyance in order to use it on a public right of way, but the regulations seem unclear.

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Sep-14-13 12:07 PM

Aren't bikes and motorized anything required to go on the street anyways?

To be fair, many sidewalks DO need work, but it is not cheap. Painting a bench and a bike rack? That's probably $100. A mile of sidewalk is likely $10k. These sidewalks on some streets have been around for a hundred years. Unfortunately, our forefathers were not interested in investing in longevity like Europeans were.

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Sep-14-13 11:09 AM

The people saying nasty things about people in wheelchairs should remember that some day that may be them in those wheelchairs going down the sidewalks and roads/streets. Most of these folks once drove vehicles and walked also, but can't now for whatever reason (between their doctors and them)which is not for us to judge.

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Sep-14-13 9:42 AM

The situation is one of the sidewalk surface being unsafe due to broken/cracked concrete, etc.? If so a letter outlining the situation should be sent, via "certified return" mail, to the appropriate city office. (Send one to the mayor too, just for good measure) Section 252-14-F of the city code (Removal of Snow and ice, marking of obstruction), reads: "Such owner or occupant, and each of them, shall be liable for any injury or damage by reason of omission. failure, or neglect to make, maintain or repair such sidewalk". Upon lawful notice, and subsequent validation of a dangerous situation, the city must notify the property owner of such and demand that the situation be righted within a "reasonable" timeframe. Should the property owner fail to do so the city will usually make the repair itself and place the costs upon the tax bill of the property owner. If you don't see results within 60 days send another letter, making note of the previous letter(s).

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Sep-14-13 8:40 AM

Our children are taught not to ride there bikes on the sidewalks. They have taught them for years to go with traffic on the streets. I guess that's so they don't have to watch that intoxicated driver hit them. I always thought those scooters were for the elderly and handicapped to enhance there quality of life at home. With our governments wisdom we enable the morbidly obese and lifer lazy arses to obtain these little gems at the taxpayer cost. How many fatsos do you see crusing the wallmart. People age they way thay lived.

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Sep-14-13 7:04 AM

I have a beef too. I pay registration & insurance to operate a vehicle on the street and lately there are wheelchairs and scooters in the street everywhere. This is very dangerous. Twice in the past week I've encountered a motorized scooter chair in the regular traffic lane of Fairmount Ave. this is a busy street and it is hard to get around someone who is driving 20+ mph under the speed limit! Someone is going to get hurt or killed and I bet the driver of the automobile, who belongs on the road, will be blamed.

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Sep-14-13 6:06 AM

I haven't seen many 'street legal' wheelchairs.You will need some chains installed this winter-maybe running lights and a snow plow? CARTS buses are wheel chair accessable at very reasonable prices.Please,don't drive your powered scooters in the streets where our kids have to walk on the way to school.Now-'Where's the Beef?'

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