DENVER (CBS4) – Some members of Denver’s City Council say, at the rate the city is operating, it could take more than 150 years to fix all the sidewalks in the city that need to be addressed. District 10 Councilman Chris Hinds told CBS4’s Dillon Thomas the promise to fix all of the broken, slanted and busted sidewalks in town is taking drastically longer than expected.
Hinds, who uses a wheel chair to navigate the city’s sidewalks, said the issue of bad sidewalks has been a problem for decades. However, he said most didn’t realize how significant the issue was going to be to address.
“We’ve got a lot of busted and broken sidewalks,” Hinds said. “I’ve known the sidewalks have been an issue the whole time I have lived in Denver. We have a big problem in the city of Denver with our sidewalks.”
Hinds applauded the lone city inspector, saying the employee has taken on the task handed down by council in 2018 to survey all of the sidewalks in Denver’s 78 neighborhoods. The city was only able to fix half of the sidewalk issues in one of the 78 neighborhoods throughout all of 2019.
“If we are doing half a neighborhood a year, and we have 78 neighborhoods, you take 78 times two, and that is 156 years. That is too long,” Hinds said. “It’s an impact on our freedom to get around our own neighborhoods.”
Hinds hoped, one day, the city could move to fix sidewalks as rapidly as potholes. Denver currently tries to fill every pothole within 72 hours of being reported.
“Our sidewalks, some of them haven’t been fixed in at least 72 years,” Hinds said.
With the budget solidified for 2020, Hinds feared expediting the repairs process wouldn’t be addressed until at least 2021’s budget proposal.
“People want to be able to get from A to B safely. I think it is reasonable to expect to feel safe while doing it,” Hinds said.
Hinds said 10% of the city of Denver still does not have proper sidewalks. Of the existing sidewalks, 30% are only four feet wide, not allowing wheel chair access at the same time as a pedestrian nearby. Hinds said the fixes to the sidewalks, alongside the 40% of insufficient sidewalks, should cause the public to speak out.
He said a large show of support for addressing the sidewalk issues in Denver could convince leadership to further prioritize pedestrians.