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Day 1: Virginia-Highland Sidewalk Improvement Project

Which of these sidewalks do you think is the most hazardous?

The Virginia-Highland Sidewalk Improvement Project is a collaborative effort to identify sidewalks in the neighborhood in most dire need of repair for safety reasons.

Neighborhood resident and local watchdog David Eckoff walked the streets of Virginia-Highland to identify hazardous sidewalks, and Patch is giving you the opportunity to be a part of the project.

The goal of the project is to identify sidewalks that are a safety hazard in the neighborhood, and every day this week, you’ll find an interactive map and photo gallery of 10 sidewalks in the neighborhood that we feel are unsafe.

Make sure to click through the gallery and the map up top to get a good look at the sidewalks.

Funding for sidewalk repair is a contentious topic around the city. A Patch report later in this series will outline who is responsible for sidewalk repairs and how Virginia-Highland residents can get involved.

So, how do you participate?

Great question!

Make sure to vote in the daily poll — located at the bottom of this page — for the sidewalk that you think is in most dire need of repair.

Voting will close at the end of the week — Sunday, Feb. 5 at midnight to be exact. Patch will ask readers to vote next week on the top ten you select (so make sure to cast your vote every day!).

You can also upload your own photos of sidewalks you think need to be repaired!

Simply click the upload photos button just under the photo gallery in this article (make sure to login!). Be sure to include the street name and block number in the caption. (E-mail Jaclyn.hirsch@patch.com with technical difficulties).

Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Leave them in the comments section below!

Super Thomas Daniel January 30, 2012 at 02:25 PM
Isn't that the home owners responsibility to tend to their portion of the sidewalk?
Michael Moore January 30, 2012 at 03:44 PM
Well, I've personally been waiting since 1972 for homeowners to fix their portions. I've fixed mine, but the system ain't working, as anyone who dares walk our streets can attest.
Joan January 30, 2012 at 04:04 PM
North Highland #1 looks like an unfinished public works project and should be completed by city. As much as the hex pavers look quaint/historic, they are not practical application for modern sidewalks...
TERRY January 30, 2012 at 05:30 PM
The sidewalk (both sides) on St. Charles Avenue, particularly between Bonaventure Ave and Ponce Place is also in dire need of repair. I've almost twisted my ankle there numerous times. And Joan, I agree the hexagon pavers don't really work as sidewalks.
David Eckoff January 30, 2012 at 05:36 PM
Super Thomas Daniel: You are correct! City of Atlanta ordinances say that sidewalks are the responsibility of the owner of the property adjacent to the sidewalk. A lot of people do not know this, though, and they incorrectly assume it is the city's responsibility. Part of the Sidewalk Improvement Project will include education of homeowners. And 1:1 communication with home owners whose sidewalks are among the worst of the worst in terms of potential safety issues. Having said that, sidewalks are a shared resource that we all hopefully can enjoy as we're out walking in the neighborhood. So we'll have some other ideas for getting them fixed, that we'll run by you for your input, in coming weeks. Welcome all ideas here!
David Eckoff January 30, 2012 at 05:39 PM
Big thanks to Jaclyn Hirsch and Patch for running this series of articles on the project! Working together within the community, we CAN get the 50 most dangerous sidewalks repaired in 2012. Or at the very lest, a large number of them, which will be a great outcome. If you'd like to help with the project, please let us know!
L Bradburn January 30, 2012 at 06:35 PM
Thanks for starting this great project! You can report dangerous sidewalks directly to the City using the PEDS.org hazard reporting tool, http://peds.org/get_involved/report-hazards/. Please join PEDS in encouraging the City to add a sidewalk maintenance line item to the budget, http://peds.org/issues/fund_sidewalk_maintenance/.
David Eckoff January 30, 2012 at 08:56 PM
Hello, Larissa! What will happen after we report dangerous sidewalks to the city? Will the city make repairs at the city's expense? (If so, that's awesome, and we will pursue that aggressively!)
Christopher J January 30, 2012 at 11:53 PM
Actually I think the hex pavers look quite nice - the smooth concrete slabs look like suburbia. If the pavers are maintained then they are safe and practical. I hate to sell out to a plain ordinary slab of concrete. VaHi needs to maintain its character as a charming in-town neighborhood.
Lynn January 31, 2012 at 11:50 AM
Each day we vote on 10 sections of sidewalk. Does that mean the winner each day is a finalist and will be addressed? If so, I must point out that since Highland Ave. is one of our major thoroughfares, I think ALL of those sections should be priority above those on side streets. Maybe I'm misunderstanding the process. Thanks for leading the way on this--whatever ends up being fixed will be a great improvement for the neighborhood!
Mary R Stouffer January 31, 2012 at 01:57 PM
Thanks for taking this on - the sidewalks along N. Highland should be prioritized as it is easiest to be knocked off kilter and fall into the path of a car - most traveled...
Jaclyn Hirsch (Editor) January 31, 2012 at 04:07 PM
Hi everyone! Thanks for your questions and comments. Funding for sidewalk repair is a contentious topic around the city. A Patch report later in this series will outline who is responsible for sidewalk repairs and how Virginia-Highland residents can get involved. The voting is simply a way to highlight what residents think are the most hazardous sidewalks and has no connection to repairs.
Kalika January 31, 2012 at 06:32 PM
Joan, I agree. The hex pavers are at best quaint and at worst completely useless. Even when the pavers are supposedly functional, they're not completely flat, which, as anyone with bad vision can tell you, is a hazard. Whenever I walk down from Saint Charles onto Ponce, I breathe a sigh of relief as soon as I reach the walkable, "normal" sidewalk. That just goes to show you how horrid these pavers are--anything that makes you breathe a sigh of relief as you enter Ponce is just not right.
Jaclyn Hirsch (Editor) January 31, 2012 at 08:34 PM
Don't forget to check out Day 2 of the project: http://patch.com/A-q2Zj
Margie February 01, 2012 at 03:32 PM
I don't think approaching a homeowner and telling them the sidewalk in front of their home has "won" the worst sidewalk award and they need to pay to have it fixed is any way to improve our neighborhood. Doccumenting the problem is a good first step, but I would suggest taking your pictures to our city and county representatives. Fixing our sidewalks would certainly be a better use of tax revenue than some of the useless projects currently on the books.
L Bradburn February 01, 2012 at 03:35 PM
As you know, the repair of sidewalks in the City of Atlanta is the adjacent property owners responsibility. PEDS has been working with the City DPW to make sure any hazardous sidewalk is inspected and a determination of responsibility is made. IF the City is responsible, yes they will make the repairs (although with current budget constraints it is taking in the 6-9 month range!). The City generally will make repairs if the sidewalk has been destroyed by tree roots in the right of way. PEDS would like to see the City incorporate a line item in the budget for sidewalk maintenance, so that it is not the property owners responsibility!
Margie February 01, 2012 at 03:37 PM
No, that won't work any better than if we all had to fix the road in front of our house. It is a bad system to put this responsibility on the homeowner. We should focus our efforts on changing the system.

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