Fort Lauderdale’s city manager has proposed shelling out $2.1 million in risk insurance funds to cover the cost of sidewalk repairs, following a new report indicating more than 100 miles of it in the city are unsafe.
That will only begin to cover the costs of fixing the walkways, though. The consultant’s study that opined a quarter of the city’s 425 miles of sidewalks are badly damaged (cracked, uneven or pocked), and the cost to fully repair those areas is going to be $16 million. But even paying that much won’t give the city the safe walkability label for which it’s striving. Even if the city doubled the number of sidewalks that currently exist, that wouldn’t be enough to place sidewalks on all the roads in the city that lack them. By some estimates, that cost could swell to $100 million.
But it’s a major concern when you consider two things:
- Florida has the highest rate of pedestrian accidents, fatalities and injuries in the nation.
- The city has spent $1.3 million in five years to settle trip-and-fall claims related to sidewalk falls, but it’s only spent about $750,000 in repairs during that time – with about $94,000 of that reimbursed by homeowners who live adjacent to those sidewalks.