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Residents in Homewood, Sheraden to get city help with sidewalk replacement under new pilot

Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey signs legislation at a table outdoors under a tree.
Julia Zenkevich
90.5 WESA
Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey signs legislation that will enable the Sidewalks Replacement Pilot Project, as Pittsburgh Public Schools Superintendent Wayne Walters looks on.

Some Pittsburghers will soon be able to fix their broken sidewalks at a discounted rate in lieu of getting a citation.

During a ceremony at Pittsburgh Langley PreK-8 Friday, Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey signed legislation that will enable the Sidewalks Replacement Pilot Project. The program, which was approved by Pittsburgh City Council last month, will allow city Department of Public Works crews to repair and replace damaged sidewalks for residents for less than it would cost to hire a private contractor to do the work.

Landowners are responsible for sidewalk maintenance on their properties, according to city law. In the past, that’s complicated the city’s attempts to do sidewalk repairs, officials have said.

The year-long pilot will target residents on two heavily used routes to Langley and Faison schools in Sheraden and Homewood South, respectively.

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“By replacing their sidewalks, residents can help the city create safer rocking walking routes for everybody who comes to and from these schools,” said Gainey spokesperson Maria Montaño.

Residents on the west side of North Braddock Avenue in Homewood South from Kelly Street to Felicia Way are eligible for the program, as are residents on the west side of Zephyr Avenue from Sherwood Avenue to Minton Street in Sheraden.

Routes eligible under the pilot were determined by city officials, including those from the Department of Mobility and Infrastructure and Pittsburgh Public Schools, as part of the Safe Routes to School program.

Homeowners must opt into the pilot.

The exact cost of the replacement will be determined using a sliding scale based on the homeowner’s income.

Gainey said assisting residents in repairing privately-owned sidewalks is high on his administration’s list of priorities.

“There was no question coming in [to office] we had a lot of sidewalks that needed to be fixed, that are owned by the city or owned by some of our residents,” he said. “We wanted to make sure that we provided an opportunity at a discount to be able to ensure that they can get the sidewalks fixed, particularly the ones walking to school.”

Gainey said city officials will be working with residents along the identified routes to help them understand how they can take advantage of the program.

Pittsburgh Public Schools Superintendent Wayne Walters said he encourages residents to use the program, adding that it will make the commute to school safer for students.

“Ensuring student safety is multifaceted and includes addressing safety concerns related to student travel to and from school. Our bus patrol program aims to change negative driving behaviors that put the safety of students at risk as they enter and exit the school bus. And the City of Pittsburgh's sidewalk pilot project will ensure the paths students walk to and from school are safe,” Walters said.

Julia Zenkevich reports on Allegheny County government for 90.5 WESA. She first joined the station as a production assistant on The Confluence, and more recently served as a fill-in producer for The Confluence and Morning Edition. She’s a life-long Pittsburgher, and attended the University of Pittsburgh. She can be reached at