A budget request making its way through the approval process is asking for $5 million to fix Oahu’s sidewalks.
That’s as much as five times the amount usually spent.
City officials say it’s all about public safety. “The money would actually go to repair sidewalks that are deemed unsafe or perhaps hazardous for pedestrians,” said Ross Sasamura, director of the Dept. of Facility Maintenance.
Nuuanu resident Lucy Stacy walks around Kapiolani Park every other day. “I’ve stumbled, but I haven’t gone all the way down,” she said.
Avoiding bumps and uneven sidewalks can seem like dodging landmines, but she says brightly colored markings on the pavement help.
“It’s not as dangerous. You can see them before you get to them,” she said.
But Stacy remains on her toes. “I pay attention. I watch where I’m walking and I have good shoes,” she said.
Crews completed more than 67,000 square feet of sidewalk repairs during the 2013 fiscal year. The $5 million of taxpayer money would help them tackle many more areas, including needed repairs on Punchbowl and South King streets.
The money will be used to fix sidewalks that have been damaged by vehicles, and those that have been uplifted by tree roots.
Stacy says the amount is appalling. “I can find somebody to do it for less. I swear, that’s ridiculous… That’s another waste of taxpayers’ money,” she said.
“I think there are a lot of people that may have issues with that, but on the other hand, it’s an issue the city council has raised to the level where they feel it needs attention,” Sasamura said.
Final approval for this budget request is scheduled for June.