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Why L.A.'s $1.4 Billion Sidewalk Repair Case Is Such a Big Deal

Los Angeles isn't the only jurisdiction that's been forced to confront its sidewalk problems by disability-rights advocates, and it won't be the last.
A cracked and damaged sidewalk in the Beverly Glen neighborhood of Los Angeles.
A cracked and damaged sidewalk in the Beverly Glen neighborhood of Los Angeles. SeeClickFix

In the city where “everybody drives,” sidewalks and other accommodations for people who aren’t in cars have often seemed an afterthought. But with a landmark settlement to fix its badly broken sidewalks announced last week, Los Angeles is moving toward a future in which its infrastructure for non-drivers will get some long-needed attention.

The settlement comes in response to a class-action lawsuit filed under the Americans with Disabilities Act, which alleged the city did not maintain its sidewalks “in a condition that is useable by class members who rely on wheelchairs, scooters, and other assistive devices to get around.” The agreement (still pending a judge’s approval) means L.A. could commit a stunning $1.4 billion over the next 30 years to repairing and upgrading sidewalks, installing curb cuts, and ensuring access to crosswalks.