Written by The Chicago Defender
LINCOLN SQUARE — According to DNAinfo.com, applications for the Shared Cost Sidewalk Program, the popular program which splits the cost of a new sidewalk between homeowners and the Chicago Department of Transportation, officially opened Jan. 1. Applications are accepted via 311 and online.
The catch: Funds are limited, meaning once capacity has been reached, no further requests are granted. In other words, the early bird snags the concrete.
CDOT did not immediately respond to a DNAinfo.com query regarding the program's budget and number of requests fulfilled annually.
According to CDOT, homeowners typically wind up spending $500 to $1,000 for the repair, at a charge of $3 per square foot. Senior citizens and the disabled receive a 50 percent discount.
In addition to the main walk, the Shared Cost Sidewalk Program encompasses the courtesy walk — the slab that cuts through the parkway between the sidewalk and curb.
Repairs also can be requested for the strip of concrete called the catwalk, which is found adjacent to the curb.
Though rare, CDOT may deny a request if it determines the location already meets city standards and does not merit repair.
For a city that bills itself as pedestrian friendly, cracked and broken sidewalks are a risky business.
According to a 2011 investigation by CBS Ch.-2, of more than 12,000 requests for sidewalk repairs made in 2010, fewer than 1,000 were actually fixed. During the preceding three years, broken sidewalks cost the city $3.5 million in payouts to individuals who suffered injuries caused by cracked pavement.