RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - As Scott's Addition continues to boom, business owners say the sidewalks are suffering.
A Parking and Traffic study issued by the City of Richmond’s Dept. of Planning and Development Review identified more than 30 missing sidewalks in the neighborhood with another 30-plus deemed “inadequate.”
“What it comes down to is Scott’s Addition has grown so quickly that the city’s infrastructure and dollars haven’t kept up,” said Trevor Dickerson, the Scott’s Addition Boulevard Association President.
City Councilwoman Kim Gray, who represents Scott’s Addition, agrees that it does deal with funding, but adds there’s another issue.
"I think it's a lack of prioritization and urgency on the part of the city," Gray said.
Cracked and buckling sidewalks are a common sight in Scott’s Addition, and business owner Jimmy Koontz is all too familiar with the problem and has proof.
“We had, I think, 13 recorded falls in two years," said Koontz, owner of Koontz Paint & Bodyworks on N. Sheppard Street.
Koontz’s most recent case was June 20, when a pregnant woman tripped on the sidewalk in front of his business.
"It was horrific," he said. “The sidewalks have buckled overtime, moisture must have gotten underneath them. Some of them were raised as much as two to three inches.”
“It’s concerning,” Gray said. “The second thing is the liability the city may or may not carry because Koontz has been, for several years, asking for the piece of sidewalk to be repaired.” After multiple calls, emails and videos sent to city officials like Gray, Koontz’s sidewalk is finally getting repaired.
"It's a lot of relief, the fact they're here and they're actually doing something, makes a big difference," Koontz said.
However, the problem doesn’t end there. A city parking study shows more than 30 missing sidewalks in the neighborhood, with another 30-plus sidewalks deemed “inadequate.” Some of those sidewalks abruptly ending, turning into grass.
“There are lots of families walking, people in wheelchairs, walkers and canes,” Gray said. “It presents dangerous situations for those individuals, more so than others.”
As building projects continue to pop up in Scott's Addition, community members like Dickerson are focused on making sure the area is safe, especially if you're traveling on foot.
"It's one of our highest priorities, to get a complete sidewalk grid of the neighborhood," Dickerson said.
“We pay a lot of money here in taxes in the city for our business license and stuff,” Koontz said. “For us to get that response and nothing… it’s not representation.”
Gray added there is a long list of sidewalks in need of repair across the city. As the warm weather comes to an end, Gray said city crews are working against time to get projects completed.
Dickerson added the study also recommended some changes to the traffic circulation.
“It recommended changing most of the east, west streets that are now one-way, to two-way streets," he said. “Then adding some traffic calming measures to make people slow down a little bit.”
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