Norfolk to repair more than 300 sidewalk trip and fall hazards

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Posted at 4:33 PM, Jun 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-18 18:52:48-04

NORFOLK, Va.— Gail Davis takes many unplanned trips in her Kensington neighborhood.

“I just pray, ‘Please don’t let me fall. I’m too old to be falling. I don’t want to fall,’” said Gail.

Her trips happen when she’s walking on the sidewalk, and it’s uneven from one pavement to another.

“It happens mostly because I’m busy looking at landscapes and houses and things like that, so I’m not paying attention. It catches me off guard all the time,” she said.

Norfolk Department of Public Works is working to repair hundreds of hazards near Old Dominion University and Kensington starting in the next couple of weeks.

“We received quite a few requests to upgrade the sidewalks, make sure they’re safe again, especially for families that have strollers or toddlers that are taking walks within the neighborhood,” said Norfolk Department of Transit Director Amy Inman.

A private company identified 315 sidewalk trip and fall hazards in the two neighborhoods where there is a gap in the sidewalk from 3/4 inch to 2 ½ inches.

Inman says the company will, “bring in a machine and they basically just grind it down… and it’ll be just a smooth surface so there won’t be the elevation difference.”

Sierra Bishop says she walks her 9-month-old son in a stroller every evening and now goes into the street to avoid where the pavement is uneven.

“It’s just horrible. He cries every time. He hates bumpy rides," she said.

The city said more than 60 trip hazards were identified just on 35th Street alone.

Tangela Wagner-Edmond said she broke a carton of eggs when she tripped on the sidewalk in front of her 35th Street home and has seen worse happen to others.

Wagner-Edmond she says emailed the city two years ago to fix her sidewalk that’s been a hazard for her and her neighbors.

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“This particular sidewalk right here, a guy had fell one day because his wheel got caught up. I don’t know if he was turning his wheel or what he was trying to do, but he fell in this very spot and we came out to help him,” Wagner-Edmond explained.

Neighbors look froward to the repairs bringing relief in the coming weeks.

“I will definitely be watching from my porch on my swing, as a matter fact,” said Wagner-Edmond.