Bad sidewalks plague west side neighborhood

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Ever since Rhianna Weilert moved to the west side three years ago without a car, her daily walk forces her onto the street. 

“It's nerve-wracking and it makes me not want to come to this area because I know I’m going to have to walk on the street,” Weilert said.

Underneath all the grass, flowers and weeds at the vacant lot at 17th and Jefferson is a sidewalk, and according to the neighborhood association, no one has cleared it for at least five years.

They're working to change that to make the area pedestrian-friendly.

“There's been just a lot of confusion with who is responsibility is the sidewalk - is it the property owner, is it the city?” Weilert asked.

The Kansas City Department of Public Works said sidewalk maintenance is the property owner's responsibility.

If complaints are made, they'll get in touch with the owner to have them address the problem in a timely manner.

If not, the city will step in to do the repairs and pass the bill onto the property owner.

But the city says west side residents will have to wait at least two years before the sidewalks in question are fixed.

“Well ultimately the wait is what it is. The wait is due to the number of projects, we have the number of sidewalks that are in disrepair,” KCMO public works spokesman Sean Demory said.

However, for the time being, people who live in the west side will still be forced to walk in traffic.

“It doesn't always get noticed because a lot of people have cars and they drive, but I think increasing walkability will have so many other positive effects that you don't notice at first,” Weilert said.

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