The problem A Hampden sidewalk was repaired, but a walkway was not replaced.
The back story When Baltimore contractors are hired to do work for the city, they should complete the job.
But when a contractor fails to replace a walk, forcing a man with two knee replacements to go out of his way to get to and from his house, that seems especially wrong.
Linda Bradford Barron's 78-year-old father lives in the 3500 block of Roland Ave., just south of 36th Street — otherwise known as the Avenue — in Hampden.
The Vermont resident was visiting after her father's surgery and was appalled that the walk that once led from the sidewalk in front of her parents' house to the curb was not replaced after it was torn up as part of recent repairs in the spring.
Her mother said she had called city officials multiple times.
"We've been in this house 45 years, and we have always had a sidewalk down there," Betty Bradford said.
She had kept several 311 confirmation numbers, and two from June were listed as closed. On June 10, she was told the work was on a contractors' list, and on June 14 she was told that a reconstruction order had been issued. But nothing changed.
"They said that that was out of their hands — it was sent to a contractor and somebody would be out to fix it," Bradford said.
Watchdog contacted the city's Department of Transportation. Spokeswoman Adrienne Barnes said there was a record of only one call from that location, and that the replacement of the walk had been scheduled for this week before Watchdog called.
"It was delayed but never forgotten," Barnes said.
In Baltimore, residents must maintain the sidewalks near their property, said Satinder Kang, the Department of Transportation's chief of footways and sidewalks. According to an explanation on the department's website, they are supposed to keep them free from snow and ice as well as repair cracks and other damage. However, the city would be responsible for damage caused by tree roots or a public utility.
The Transportation Department inspects sidewalks when there is a complaint, and the inspector looks at the whole block and determines who is responsible, Kang said. If it's the owner, a citation is issued to alert the owner to the problem; if it's the city, the inspector requests a repair.
After the job is assigned to a contractor, inspectors watch the work and follow up, but they thought the wide area near the Bradfords' curb to be a big tree box, Kang said. "That's why they never put it back."
"Basically, you can consider this a misunderstanding," he said.
Bradford is relieved to get a response.
"I just appreciate it so much that somebody is finally doing something," she said.
Who can fix this Bimal Devkota, chief of engineering and construction, Baltimore Department of Transportation, 410-396-6944. City residents should call 311 to report problems.
Is there something in your neighborhood that's not getting fixed? Tell us where the problem is and how long it's been there by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 410-332-6735.