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Walkable communities - the most beneficial travel mode?

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It doesn't count transit access in its scoring, but it does include movie theaters. Figure that one out.....


"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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Sorry, I actually do not think fairview park is horrible. I really I do not. I am glad it has some sidewalks at least. It is just hard to fathom it would rate nearly so high walkability wise. 

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No hard feelings peabody99 :-) I don't think it's that hard to fathom though.

 

Most older suburbs (street car) or those that we developed largely pre-WWII/interstate highway expansion are going to score well on walkabilty and why shouldn't they? Believe me, I absolutely love many Cleveland neighborhoods OC, Tremont and of course Shaker Square and hope to someday move my family back to the city proper. However, from an overall amenities standpoint, you have to admit that some city neighborhoods may not be as well rounded (yet) as some of the inner-ring burbs. By this I mean the whole package literally within a few blocks of your door -- groceries, schools, library (my kids have an insane number of books and DVDs shipped from all over the county to our branch), recreation, a bank, pharmacy, drycleaner and other neighborhood convenience businesses, bars, places to grab a coffee or a quick sandwhich.

 

The site admits that their methodology has gaps and transit is a big one as KJP pointed out. Of course generally neighborhoods that score well on this site would tend to be relatively dense and would therefore be well served by public transit assuming the area has a decent system, which we do in Cuyahoga County.

 

 

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It doesn't count transit access in its scoring, but it does include movie theaters. Figure that one out.....

 

yeah emphasis on movie theaters. i live above a subway and busstop and have dance and performance theaters & stuff like that all around, but just because i have to walk a few blocks to go to the movies.....!?

 

however, as long as you are well aware of the quirks i suppose it's still an ok tool for guess-timating walkability. it's a very good idea and if it was tweaked and kept current it certainly has potential to be much, much better.

 

 

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It doesn't count transit access in its scoring, but it does include movie theaters. Figure that one out.....

 

Because the purpose of the site is walk ability.  If your neighborhood is walkable, you shouldn't need transportation.  That's what I gather at least.

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So this latest study puts us at 14th best. Should we change the name of this topic to something more neutral?

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Old Brooklyn got a 62 out of 100 for a "somewhat walkable neighborhood"

 

I would probably agree with that assessment.  They did have me walking an extra mile to go to "Jeremiah's Food Mart"? instead of the Giant Eagle a half mile from my house that is technically in Brooklyn...

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I live on Shaker Square, you can't get any more walkable that SS.  I scored a 75, down two points from February.

 

 

Yes, you can....live downtown, 100 baby.

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I live on Shaker Square, you can't get any more walkable that SS.  I scored a 75, down two points from February.

 

 

Yes, you can....live downtown, 100 baby.

 

Let me rephrase that.  SS has to be one of the most walkable neighborhoods in Cleveland, yet our score doesn't reflect that.

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I live on Shaker Square, you can't get any more walkable that SS.  I scored a 75, down two points from February.

 

 

Yes, you can....live downtown, 100 baby.

 

Let me rephrase that.  SS has to be one of the most walkable neighborhoods in Cleveland, yet our score doesn't reflect that.

 

so for the 287th time on this thread we want to rehash the issues with walkscore?

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I live on Shaker Square, you can't get any more walkable that SS.  I scored a 75, down two points from February.

 

 

Yes, you can....live downtown, 100 baby.

 

Let me rephrase that.  SS has to be one of the most walkable neighborhoods in Cleveland, yet our score doesn't reflect that.

 

so for the 287th time on this thread we want to rehash the issues with walkscore?

 

Well I'm on topic! :-D :wink:

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How did I miss this walkscore thread the first time around  :? :? :? It seems like I spend half my life checking this website...

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Well, this website has been updated big time since last summer. Last summer I got a score of 62 for N. Court Street (Courtside Bar/Apartments). Now this summer, it's an 82. NOTHING has changed in the area, so obviously, the website has errors, but this is more accurate for Athens than it was last year.

 

First off, the places I've lived at OU:

 

Downtown Athens

85 N. Court Street (Courtside): 82

67 1/2 S. Court Street (Baron's): 86

24 E. Washington: 86

 

North Side of Athens

116 N. Congress: 80

96 Franklin Ave: 75

 

If 75 was my lowest score, I think I did pretty well for myself. Now for my dad's place in the suburban hell of Monclova:

 

Monclova Township (typical Anthony Wayne sprawl)

Coder/Monclova Road: 9!!! CAR-DEPENDENT as balls

 

Various Neighborhoods in Toledo (shockingly, some beat downtown Athens)

245 N. Summit Street (Riverfront Apartments, Downtown): 88

75 Washington Street (Bartley Lofts, Warehouse District): 89

1701 Admas Street (Mano's, Uptown): 85

308 Main Street (Frankie's, East Toledo): 80

5138 N. Summit (Point Place): 77

142 23rd Street (Park Lane Apartments, Old West End): 71

3106 Lagrange Street: (LaGrange Polish District): 68

2801 W. Bancroft St. (University Hall, UT): 58

 

Basically, UT is beat by most other neighborhoods in Toledo, and slaughtered by downtown. So in Toledo, the college neighborhoods are less walkable than other neighborhoods. Generally speaking, Downtown, Warehouse District, and Uptown neighborhoods are the most functionally urban. East Toledo is a close second. Then the Old West End, pre-WW2 North Side, and pre-WW2 South Side duke it out for thirds. I'm not sure how an annex area like Point Place did so well, but it looks like it was platted in the pre-WW2 era (perhaps some of it was built later or it was rebuilt). UT is generally below that, which makes sense considering it's on the fringe of Toledo, and not far from the sidwalkless suburban hell of Ottawa Hills (that's got to lower UT's score). Ottawa Hills is very anti-pedestrian.

 

And just for the hell of it:

 

Historic Uptown Maumee

309 Conant St. (Village Idiot): 83

 

Historic Downtown Perrysburg

104 Louisiana (Stella's): 65

 

So UT is actually beat by some older suburbs. 58 seems like a bad score for a college campus. When I lived a whole mile from College Green at OU, my score was still a 75. College Green area at OU has a score of 86, so OU maintains urban, walkable living for quite a good distance away from the core.

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From here: http://xingcolumbus.wordpress.com/2008/07/26/columbus-ranked-27th-most-walkable-city/

 

<b>Columbus Ranked 27th Most Walkable City</b>

July 26, 2008 by johnwirtz

 

<img src="http://xingcolumbus.files.wordpress.com/2008/07/columbuswalkscoremap.png?w=500&h=550">

 

If you’ve never been to WalkScore.com, it’s a pretty cool site that allows you to input an address and get a walkability score out of 100. The score is based on proximity to destinations such as stores, restaurants, schools, parks, etc… Distances are calculated as the crow flies, so actual walks will be longer, perhaps much longer if your origin is near a freeway or a body of water and the destination is on the other side. The walk score does not take into account the quality or safety of the walking environment, and does not include public transit as a destination.

 

The site recently came out with rankings for 2,508 neighborhoods in America’s 40 largest cities. The most walkable city was San Francisco, followed by NYC, Boston, Chicago, and Philly in the top 5. Jacksonville was last at #40, with Nashville, Charlotte, Indianapolis, and Oklahoma City rounding out the bottom five. Columbus was #27, right between Houston and Phoenix, ugh. The only other Ohio city ranked was Cleveland, at an impressive #14. Cincinnati doesn’t seem to have been evaluated, although I thought it had a population greater than Cleveland now. You can see the full list of cities here.

 

The walkability map for Columbus is shown below. Weinland Park and Victorian Village received the highest neighborhood scores, at 89 out of 100. Downtown, the Brewery District, and Italian Village scored 86. German Village, John McCain’s hang-out, was mis-labeled as “Southside” and received a score of 82. Harrison West and the University District were the last two of eight neighborhoods scoring above 70, or “Very Walkable.” Columbus didn’t have any locations score above 90, which is labeled a “Walker’s Paradise,” although not necessarily “Walker Evans’ Paradise.” Click on the map to go to the interactive version at the WalkScore website.

 

You can see how the most walkable places are along High Street, which makes another good argument for the streetcar to go there. There’s a little patch of green out at Easton, and another at Polaris. Polaris? I suppose once you’re inside the mall, it’s very walkable. But I already told you the caveats about the algorithm. It doesn’t consider quality of the walking environment, safety, accessibility, or street connectivity. It really seems to be more a measure of economic activity. But if you are visiting a city and want to see where the cool neighborhoods are, check out the walkability map, but do a reality check with satellite images or Google Streetview to make sure it’s not sprawl.

 

By the way, my neighborhood, where I take transit to work every day, walk and bike to most destinations within a few miles, and live easily as a one-car family only scored a 68. So don’t feel too bad if you’re not labeled as “Very Walkable.”

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Yeah, Cincinnati is out of the Top 100 largest cities so it didn't register (you're thinking metro, in which Cincinnati is the largest in Ohio).


"You don't just walk into a bar and mix it up by calling a girl fat" - buildingcincinnati speaking about new forumers

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In most of those suburbs, sure, there are plenty of commercial offices and retail stores in close proximity to residential areas but that does NOT mean people actually walk to them. There is a Kroger with a Starbucks, dry cleaning service, bank, etc inside, .3 miles from my mom's house but who the hell actually walks there? Just because it is "close" does not mean the culture is such that people feel inclined to walk, especially when many of these areas lack sidewalks.

 

Overall, Columbus is a pretty walkable city but I don't understand how you can make something so complex, calculable; without looking more deeply.

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From planetizen:

 

"Houston's street design rules also make life more difficult for pedestrians. The city code requires most major streets to have a 100 foot right-of-way and residential streets must have a 50-60 foot right-of-way. Thus, Houston's streets can be up to 100 feet wide. By contrast, most modern streets are 32-36 feet wide, and pre-World War II streets are usually 28-30 feet wide..."

 

http://www.planetizen.com/node/109

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It's sort of ironic that my parent's house in Hudson got an 80 while I got a 60-something in Lakewood. Of course, I would mostly agree as they can walk to shopping, restaurants, the grocery store and library within 10 minutes. Their 'hood is much more walkable than mine. That crazy new urbanism!

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I'm assuming the Houston comment wasn't so much about high-walkability as the fact they've been tops on most lists lately talking about cheapest housing, best "value", best place for singles whose favorite day is Thursday, etc.

 

My apartment in the north campus area of Ohio State earned me an 82.  On Sep 1st, when I move like 5 blocks south, my score sprints ahead to an 83!

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Walkscore places way too much emphasis on the retail options nearby.  It hasn't yet been able to factor in the actual reality of how walkable a place is in terms of sidewalk connectivity, traffic calming measures, etc.

 

Other cities:

Atlanta, GA - 100/100

Houston, TX - 98/100

Phoenix, AZ - 97/100

Charlotte, NC - 85/100

 

Ohio Cities:

Cleveland - 97/100

Columbus - 95/100

Cincinnati - 89/100

Dayton - 62/100

Toledo - 48/100

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I don't know where you are getting those numbers, but walkscore.com lists:

 

Cleveland- 60

atlanta- 52

Houston- 51

Phoenix- 50

Columbus- 50

Charolette- 39

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^Sorry...that's what comes up when you type them into the map search.  So this is generally for the center city area that the map defaults to.  With that said, my point still stands for Walkscore placing too much emphasis on retail offerings and not being able to account for those intangibles that make all the difference in the world.

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something to chew on that i saw this afternoon, the walk score folks chime in on walkability scores and real estate listings:

 

 

You're Very Walkable, New York. So What?

 

'Walkability' may become the new 'location, location, location' in urban real estate

 

by Leigh Kamping-Carder  |  September 18, 2008

 

pedestriansjoelogon.jpg

 

Walk Score is a Web site that tells you what you already know: In your New York City neighborhood, you can walk places, a lot more places than in a lot of other neighborhoods.

 

With the help of Google's local data, Walk Score rates properties between 1 and 100, based on the number of amenities located within a one-mile radius of its address. The aim is to measure what was once subjective, to quantify the "walkability"--the ease of living a car-free lifestyle--of neighborhoods across the United States.

 

Walk Score garnered media attention last July, when it ranked the walkability of the 40 largest cities in the United States and compiled a list of the country's 2,508 most walkable neighborhoods. Tribeca, Soho and Little Italy made the list; New York City as a whole came in second to San Francisco.

 

"We're not real estate people or land-use planning people," said Mike Mathieu, the founder and chairman of Front Seat, the software company that built Walk Score, "so we looked at it more from the concept of, in a real estate market, we're trying to bring transparency around walkability."

 

BUT WHAT DOES IT mean to decide that one city is three points less walkable than another? If Staten Island had a few more bodegas, would we best Frisco? And should we even care?

 

Recent studies have shown that walkability is profitable. In 1999, Charles C. Tu and Mark J. Eppli of George Washington University analyzed certain mixed-use, planned communities across the United States, concluding that consumers were willing to pay 12 percent more for walkable real estate.

 

According to Christopher Leinberger, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution and a member of Walk Score's advisory board, square footage in walkable urban neighborhoods goes for between 40 and 200 percent more than in comparable drivable suburban areas.

 

"This is a complete reversal of the market situation 20 years ago," wrote Mr. Leinberger in an e-mail, "when you went to the central city for the best value (lowest price per square foot). This reflects the structural, as opposed to cyclical, shift we are seeing in market demand," as young professionals and empty-nesters move out of the suburbs and into the cities.

 

Since launching in 2007, Walk Score has hosted four million address searches. In a recent survey, the software company found that two-thirds of the Web site's visitors were there to make real estate decisions.

 

Mr. Mathieu is convinced that New Yorkers specifically will take advantage of the Web site's offerings: checking the walk score of a potential property is like a virtual drive by.

 

"I think Walk Score is least useful for someplace that's way out in the boondocks where there's nothing around," he wrote in an e-mail. "You already know that if you live there, so it doesn't help so much. On the other hand, if you look at the walkability map for New York ... you'll see that while Manhattan is pretty much uniformly Walker's Paradise, other borough's [sic] and neighborhoods vary quite a bit, so I think it's still very relevant."

 

THIS FALL, WALK SCORE will expand to bring the service to property listings sites nationwide. Several brokers--such as Fox Residential Group, Gumley Haft Kleier and a handful who link to the site via Craigslist--already use the Real Estate Tile, a mini-version of Walk Score that can be embedded on other Web pages.

 

"The idea is that when you're browsing," Mr. Mathieu said, "you can say, 'This house is $450,000 and it's got three bedrooms, two-and-a-half baths, 2,800-square-feet, and it has a Walk Score of 94.' Or, the next level is to be able to do that search and use it as a filter."

 

But, at least at Gumley Haft Kleier, that's not happening yet.

 

Robert Morgenstern, an executive vice president at the brokerage, noted that Walk Score has helped his brokers and their clients familiarize themselves with local retail (ironically, without having to walk). "It hasn't gotten to the point where people are saying, ‘This is an important piece of data for me,'" he said, especially in Manhattan, where retail is dense.

 

"I think it's been an overall plus for our Web site," Mr. Morgenstern said. "But I can't say there's a quantifiable, that there's been deals done because of Walk Score. It's often hard to know what made somebody buy an apartment."

 

At present, Walk Score has a number of blind spots, most notably the absence of transit data. (Mr. Mathieu says the company is talking to Google about including it. Google did not respond to emails or phone calls.) And there continue to be glitches with the information used to tally amenities. In Park Slope, for example, the Brooklyn Artists Gym, an artist's studio, is listed as a fitness center.

 

Mr. Mathieu is confident that the walk scores are accurate, given that a variety of factors are taken into account when determining an address' score.

 

"We've had almost five million people [use the site] and they kind of all nod their heads and say, 'Yeah, that's about right. The house I grew up in was more walkable than the one I'm in now.'"

 

http://www.observer.com/2008/real-estate/youre-very-walkable-new-york-so-what

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Walkscore places way too much emphasis on the retail options nearby.  It hasn't yet been able to factor in the actual reality of how walkable a place is in terms of sidewalk connectivity, traffic calming measures, etc.

 

Their biggest problem is lack of research. Look above at my post about Athens. These numbers can change every year when in fact nothing changes in the city.

 

Also, Toledo would not be 48, considering the least walkable parts of the city still scored above 50, and most the city scored above 75, with the core hoods above 90. None of those Ohio "city scores" you posted look accurate.

 

I don't know where you are getting those numbers, but walkscore.com lists:

 

Cleveland- 60

atlanta- 52

Houston- 51

Phoenix- 50

Columbus- 50

Charolette- 39

 

OK, explained.

 

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I live in what passes for a suburban edge city here in Dayton.  I get a little over 70.  So I know this is a silly metric as they miss some features of walkability...or things that makes walkability tough...like multilane highways and big parking lots. 

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Well, if anyone has the GIS expertise, and the right data layers, I would think that the problems we keep pointing out could be solved.

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^ exactly. but that would take work.

 

"Mr. Mathieu is confident that the walk scores are accurate, given that a variety of factors are taken into account when determining an address' score."

 

yeah sure, because it accurately reflects the cheapest, easiest data he could grab...ie., like where is the bloody all important movie theater near you...not the most useful data for true walkability.

 

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Cheapest, easiest, and available for all locations.  My point is that other data, such as sidewalk coverage, crosswalks, and traffic volumes, etc, that would help us determine the quality of the actual act of walking in a certain area is not available for vast portions of the U.S.  It's nice to say they should consider this data, but it isn't compiled in such a way to allow it, and the coverage is far from complete.

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I really had no idea where to post this, but sidewalks = transit? Read on... and some of the batsh!t crazy comments from Lexington snobs.

 

Proposal would put sidewalks along Tates Creek Road

In 2001, Similar plan for tates Creek Road ran into dead end

By Michelle Ku, Herald-Leader, November 17, 2008

 

Lexington wants to build sidewalks along both sides Tates Creek Road, but residents of the corridor are saying not in my front yard.

 

Sidewalks would destroy the pristine corridor that looks like it's in the country, not the city, said Steve Kesten, who lives between Robin Road and Lansdowne Drive. "I do not see any need for this and neither do any of my neighbors."

 

 

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My commentary:

 

And if these aren't the snobbiest group of individuals...

 

Sidewalks are needed. Over the years, these property owners have invaded upon the state right-of-way by installing planters, trees and other items that will need to be removed before the right-of-way is reclaimed -- for sidewalks and other sundries.

 

Storm water runoff? Give me a break. Some of these users have massive driveways with non-porous surfaces that contribute much more so to runoff than a 4' sidewalk.

 

Seeping into your basement? That seems to be a problem with your residence and its faulty construction and design. Litter? If no one uses the sidewalk (as they claim), then there will be no litter accumulating along the sidewalk.

 

Tates Creek Road inside New Circle a "country" route? It's in the middle of a city of 270,000. Not 30,000.

 

Aerial of the "country road": http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&ll=38.007339,-84.497545&spn=0.009502,0.030899&t=k&z=16

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If the street isn't in a walkable neighborhood or the residents in the neighborhood don't have a need to walk, then I can understand.  Is this a suburban mature nabe?

 

About half of my parents neighbors don't have sidewalks, so I understand both sides.  As a kid, I don't recall anyone having a sidewalk, until you got to a street that crossed Shaker at a train stop.  I had to walk in the street to the either corner then there was a sidewalk to Shaker Blvd.  Most of the homes near the Shaker Lakes only recently had sidewalks installed, in spots - in the last 15 years.

 

Any images of this area?

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If the street isn't in a walkable neighborhood or the residents in the neighborhood don't have a need to walk, then I can understand. Is this a suburban mature nabe?

 

There is one in the article, and the map link shows the region. All of the connecting streets have sidewalks, and the sidewalks end about one mile to the north when the highway widens out from three lanes (two with center turn) to four divided. There are some well worn dirt paths.

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The problem is that sidewalks are so damn costly to install. It's like a thousand dollars per foot of frontage. It's hard to convince taxpayers - though they can pay for it over like a ten year term on the improved street. It's supposed to add some value. With the high number of foreclosures right now and people selling their house, I bet it's creating a lot of confusion over who's paying for what. Lots of lawyers involved.

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The problem is that sidewalks are so damn costly to install. It's like a thousand dollars per foot of frontage. It's hard to convince taxpayers - though they can pay for it over like a ten year term on the improved street. It's supposed to add some value. With the high number of foreclosures right now and people selling their house, I bet it's creating a lot of confusion over who's paying for what. Lots of lawyers involved.

 

HUH?  :wtf:

 

Most people just want an Uninterrupted lawn and don't want to deal with any future maintanece.

 

In some areas it's lead to path on people property (closer to l

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Great story from Minnesota Public Radio this morning, the city of Albert Lea is embarking on a healthy makeover at a community level.  The community leaders are examining diet, behavior and walkability and focusing on measures to increase the health of the community.  They are working with Dan Burden to address walkability and are measuring the impact of small changes on the longevity of people's lives. Cool stuff!

 

 

http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2009/01/15/longevity_albert_lea/

 

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... sidewalks are so damn costly to install. It's like a thousand dollars per foot of frontage ...

 

I can't imagine it costing that much; there must be some cozy deals with all the wrong contractors. Where entire streets or blocks are involved, an experienced crew of three or four guys with a skid loader, dump truck, and prefab steel forms can put in a lot of quality sidewalk in a few days. I've seen some fast work even where they had to tear out old deteriorated or non-code sidewalks.

 

Two years ago I had 25 feet of 80-year-old retaining wall replaced by a reputable, licensed contractor. He removed the old wall and dug out the old footer, and poured a new footer 2 1/2 feet below grade and a new 8-inch-thick wall, with rebar, 2 feet above grade for under $2K. It's a nice-looking job, carefully finished, and he hauled away all the rubble. I was there for the pouring, and I know he didn't cut any corners.

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