Richmond sidewalk problems prompt concerns from city leaders

Sidewalks on Grace Street are blocked off, preventing customers from going to businesses on that street.

RICHMOND, Va. — After receiving complaints about the conditions of sidewalks, roadways and alleys, a Richmond City Council committee met Thursday night to express its support on moving forward to make improvements and repairs.

“I think this is a huge priority that we need to focus on,” said Councilman Andreas Addison, 1st District.

Sidewalks were a focus during the meeting. Councilwoman Kimberly Gray, 2nd District, described them as a safety concern. She said the city received one complaint of a person who fell and broke teeth after tripping on loose sidewalk bricks.

“This is a resolution that speaks to our priorities and the need to reassure the public that sidewalks and streets and alleys are a priority,” Gray said at a meeting of the Governmental Operations Standing Committee.

Gray submitted a resolution Nov. 13 in hopes of winning council support and funding to address the problems.

A committee staff analysis said the city is also at risk of not providing safe sidewalks for those with disabilities.

“The design of sidewalk environments is important to all pedestrians but is particularly important to those with disabilities who have limited travel choices and rely most on the pedestrian environment,” the staff analysis report said.

The report further explained that traditional design parameters are based on the “standard pedestrian” or a person with good vision, hearing, and mobility. The design parameters do not meet the needs of the disabled.

“The Bureau of Census data indicated that approximately 20 percent of all Americans have a disability and that percentage is increasing,” the report said.

The resolution was voted to be forwarded with a recommendation to approve an amendment of adding bridges to the measure.

By Jessica Wetzler/Capital News Service

Capital News Service is a flagship program of VCU’s Robertson School of Media and Culture. Students participating in the program provide state government coverage for Virginia’s community newspapers and other media outlets, under the supervision of Associate Professor Jeff South.