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Sidewalks of Sambodia | Easement Rider

 

Source: Folha de S.Paulo. I translate a passage.

Ivonilde de Jesus Silva fell into a hole in the sidewalk on Pedroso de Moraes Avenue, in the Western Zone neighborhood of  Pinheiros, and sustained light injuries. Full o holes and poorly maintained, the sidewalk belongs to the property owner, but a São Paulo court has ordered the city government to pay Ivonilde R$4,000.

This is an astonishing aspect of the urban Zeitgeist here in Sambodia: the privatization of public easements — passeios — found in just about any other city in the world.

The decision was handed down in June by a state appeals court. The city had been ordered to pay by a lower court in 2009. It can still appeal.

Cases of this type are common in São Paulo: this newspaper identified at least 10 between 2010 and the present, filed with the state appeals court.

According to the city, maintaining the sidewalk is the responsibility of the  property owner. This argument has not, however, convinced the courts, which attribute responsibility to the city.

Under a law that went into effect this year,. property owners must pay a fine of R$ 300 per square meter and repair the easement in compliance with municipal standards.

It seems only fair that the city should reimburse some of our property taxes if it continues to argue that easements — which must obey certain standards of accessibility and aestethics — are private property.

The current rules are implemented by Mayoral Decree 45,904/2005 (PDF). The city issued a guide to sidewalk repair in April of this year. The guidelines are illustrated above. Dial 156 for a city hotline on sidewalk maintenance.

Where is my digital camera?

Somewhere along the way I snapped a series of photos on the city’s urban afforestation program. It depicts a series of straggling, moribund saplings surrounded with a small fence and a sign citing the city’s enviromental secretariate. There is a certain Potemkin Village effect on display.