LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — A fortune in your tax dollars was set aside to fix city sidewalks for the disabled.
But investigative reporter David Goldstein discovered that some of that money may have been wasted because the sidewalks weren’t fixed correctly.
Here is a full script of Goldstein’s investigation.
The city is spending billions of taxpayer dollars to fix sidewalks and make them accessible for the disabled.
But in some cases, we found city crews didn’t do it according to codes. And it will have to be ripped up and done again.
But for someone like Zack, it isn’t easy to get the park.
He’s a quadriplegic after a swimming accident.
To get to the park, he has to steer his wheelchair as if it were a four-wheel drive.
Across a grassy hill and down to a dirt path.
“I put in a request to the city to address that issue, and they just didn’t.”
LA city work crews did respond to his request by installing this wheelchair-accessible curb ramp.
Watch as Zack goes down the ramp, but the city built it on just one side of the street. As he crosses Valleyheart Drive, there’s no ramp on the other side. No easy way to get into the park.
“What’s been done here is literally a half measure.”
And that’s just one of many mistakes we found with recent sidewalk repairs in LA that were supposed to help the disabled.
CBS2 news asked two certified disability experts to check out recent work done by city crews.
Take the intersection of Nordhoff Avenue and Tobias Street in Panorama City.
With hidden cameras, we watched city crews building a new curb ramp for wheelchairs in December.
We even saw the city worker check the slope to make sure it complies with federal guidelines.
But after they were done, we had Mark Anderson, a certified access specialist and an architect, do his own measurements.
“It will cost taxpayers more money.”
He says the work was done incorrectly. And didn’t comply with federal, state and city regulations.
“What we’re seeing here with our numbers is that they’re almost twice what’s allowed.”
We also found one of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s great streets to be less than great for the disabled.
Drone Force 2 gives us a birdseye view of Reseda Boulevard in Northridge, where the city spent more than $1.2 million to put in bike lanes and paint the sidewalks.
“Do you see anything that’s accessible for disabled?”
“Not on these two blocks faces, no.”
Paul Bishop, who is a certified access specialist, did find one recently installed curb ramp. But from high above, you see it’s on one side of the crosswalk but not the other.
“It doesn’t make sense.”
“The ramp only goes to the street and doesn’t help me get to the park.”
We showed the video of what we found to Stephen David Simon, the executive director of the LA Department on Disability.
“It’s disturbing to me to find out there could be a significant amount that are not in compliance.”
“And does this trouble you?”
It’s his department’s job to monitor the city’s compliance with ADA laws. But he admits they rarely inspect work that’s been done.
“The fact that nobody checks on them. Isn’t that a problem in itself?”
“It is. Yes, I’ll agree with that.”
And it’s a problem for people like Zack, who still has no easy way to get to the park.
“Anyone like me should be able to get to the park like anyone else.”
The Department on Disability admits that if errors were made the work will have to be redone, with taxpayers paying again. Twice for the same sidewalk.
Examples of What We Found:
South Wedding Park, Studio City
New curb ramp on one side of the street that leads into street but no adjacent curb ramps into the park.
Great Street Reseda Boulevard, Northridge
No visible accessible parking and too few ADA compliant accessible ramps on the south two blocks.
One visible recent ADA curb ramp on third block leads into cross walk, but not to an ADA compliant curb ramp across street.
Noncompliant gutter slope.
10646 Zelzah Avenue, Granada Hills
No ADA compliant curb ramp at adjacent corner.
Nordhoff Street and Tobias Avenue, Panorama City
Noncompliant slope at top of curb ramp.
Noncompliant gutter at bottom of ramp.
West Gage Avenue and South Hoover St., Los Angeles
Curb ramp leads to traffic island in street. No connecting curb ramp on corner.
Devonshire St. and White Oak Ave., Granada Hills
Recent asphalt work done by the City of Los Angeles, but non-compliant curb ramps left in place, which is out of compliance with ADA regulations.