Montrose residents cite death, injuries in petition for better sidewalks


by Drew Karedes / KHOU 11 News

Posted on July 3, 2014 at 11:17 PM

HOUSTON -- Residents in the Montrose community say it’s dangerous to walk around their community and they’re demanding action from the city.

A petition organized by Montrose Sidewalks Coalition already has 514 signatures, and it’s growing.

The petition cites the death of an elderly man and other residents being injured on broken sidewalks in recent years.

Organizers say the sidewalks in disrepair are endless in the neighborhood.

Leigh Spencer couldn’t agree more.

“It was like, bam! I hit my head, and I’m on the ground,” recalled Montrose resident Leigh Spencer. “My head instantly swelled up, and I’m thinking oh my god, I’m really injured.”

Spencer tripped on an exposed pipe near her home on Indiana Street about three weeks ago.

Her forehead and the upper left side of her face remain black and blue and swollen.

“Things need to be maintained and fixed, and they’ve been ignored in this neighborhood,” said Spencer, who has signed the growing petition.

Those signing the petition acknowledge that it is not necessarily the city’s responsibility to fix sidewalks on residential streets.

However, residents believe the city is not cracking down on the homeowners who have not tended to busted sidewalks.

Organizer Ashley Streetman says a Freedom of Information Act request proved that.

Streetman claims the city has not sent out notices, asking for homeowners to repair sidewalks, in the last decade.

“I’ve complained before. Do they have a record of it? No, because nobody bothered to write it down,” said Montrose resident James Wood.

James Wood believes this petition is long overdue.

The 72-year-old was knocked out cold during a recent fall on an uneven sidewalk.

“I didn’t know I was out cold until people were slapping me in the face to wake me up,” explained Wood. “They need to fix the sidewalks!”

A spokesman for the city of Houston says it’s typically the homeowner’s responsibility to fix and repair sidewalks .

He said the exception is if the city has to do work to repair a road, sewer or water line.

There is a proposal before city council that would give residents the chance to partner with the city to get their sidewalks fixed.

According to the city spokesman, the city would fix the sidewalk and then bill the homeowner through a payment plan.