Residents fed up with bad sidewalks

October 10, 2009 5:04:09 PM PDT
Neighbors call them dangerous and an eyesore -- sidewalks that are full of cracks, and some say it's putting students at a nearby elementary school at risk. The crumbling sidewalks are along Crosstimbers between North Main and Airline in north Houston. Residents say the sidewalks are so bad in some spots that it looks like an earthquake hit.

Many are frustrated, insisting they've complained to the city before, only nothing ever seems to get done. As we discovered Saturday, there's a reason why and location may have everything to do with it.

For students attending Kennedy Elementary on Houston's north side, the walk to and from school along Crosstimbers is more than just tricky.

"Sometimes we have to go through people's yards over there," said resident Nataly Leija.

Some parents say depending on the weather, it can be downright dangerous.

"When it's all rainy and muddy, the kids have to walk on the street because of how they are slanted, all goes to one side, so it's pretty distracting on the walk," said resident Shonda Johnson.

They are sidewalks that are slanted, cracked and in some cases, crumbling. What's more, it's not an isolated problem and concerned residents worry about the impact it's having on people with disabilities.

"They are riding the bike lane, which doesn't make sense to ride a bike lane on a scooter with your back to the traffic," said resident John Branch. "It makes you prone for an accident."

As an active member of the Independence Heights neighborhood, Branch feels complaints to the city to get these sidewalks replaced have fallen on deaf ears. He says it's been a good 14 years since money has been spent on community development in this area.

"Everybody makes promises but no action is being taken," he said.

The city says there may be a reason for that and it has everything to do with location.

A spokesman with the city's public works department told us, "The city's Safe Sidewalk Program covers sidewalks leading to and surrounding schools. Requests must be within three blocks of an approved school. Homeowners and business owners are responsible for maintaining the sidewalks in front of their property."

Some of the problem areas are in front of private property. The city admits it's not an easy fix, nor is it cheap. And it's a predicament that leaves concerned parents with very few options.

"I've gotta watch for their safety and my safety, too," said resident Ylonda Johnson.

If you have damaged sidewalks in your area and they are on city property, about three blocks from schools, you may be able to get them repaired. You can call Houston's Safe Sidewalk Program at 713-837-0623.

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