In Los Angeles city officials want to spend $10 million dollars to do a three year survey of sidewalks to determine which need repair. Citizen Peter Griswold wants to save that money by creating Volunteers for Sidewalk Brigades to complete the sidewalk survey.

As reported in a Los Angeles Timesarticle Griswold sates “There are so many community and social organizations” that could do the survey “for nearly no costs,”. According to Griswold a 70 year old retiree, anyone with a little training can be taught how to use a portable GPS to record the exact location of a sidewalk needing repair.

The Los Angeles Department of Public Works has not ruled out utilizing some form of citizen participation but they have concerns about the lack of expertise on the part of volunteers and the challenge of evaluating information submitted by volunteers.

Los Angeles has 10,750 miles of sidewalks, with 42 percent of them estimated to be in need of repair. The city receives about 2,500 trip and fall claims every year and wheelchair users have sued the city over the conditions of sidewalks.

I am not sure how well a citizen sidewalk survey would work but why not at least give it a try? What a great way to engage concerned citizens, block clubs and other community organizations.

Do you think citizen volunteers could accomplish the task of a sidewalk survey instead of utilizing paid consultants?

www.reinventinggov.org