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Bronx Residents Outraged Over DOT Sidewalk Demands

NEW YORK (CBS 2) -- Progress is finally coming to a small street in the Riverdale section of the Bronx – if you consider sidewalks progress.

The city is demanding that homeowners on a little-used, dead-end street make expensive improvements, CBS 2's John Slattery reports.

Tucked away in Riverdale is a little-traveled portion of Arlington Avenue, where the Department of Transportation is now demanding full sidewalks.

"I think it's ridiculous," resident John Carleton said.

Carleton, who has lived there since he was four years old, recently got a letter from the Department of Transportation stating that his sidewalk was defective. A violation notice said it was missing.

"There never was a sidewalk here, this house was built in 1928 or 1930," Carleton said.

There is a short stretch of sidewalk in front of two homes, but none in front of six others, on a block that extends from 227th Street to a narrow walkway that goes down a hill to Kappock Street.

Homeowners believe it was one uneven, asphalt path – and complaints about it – that brought attention to the lack of sidewalks on the street.

"People called in about the steps, and they said the steps were dangerous, and they were not being repaired," homeowner Sylvia Fox said. "So, I guess while they were here, they came along and said, 'Gee, there's no sidewalk here.'"

Fox said what the city estimates at costing $5,000 could cost three or four times that.

Can the city force that cost onto homeowners? The DOT cites administrative code that states "New York City law requires property owners to, at their own cost, install, construct, reconstruct, repave and repair the sidewalk adjacent to their properties."

Some residents, like Galic Schloss, say they simply can't afford it.

"I'm living right now on disability," Schloss said.

While it's a hardship for some, their only hope is to request a re-inspection from the DOT.

The Department of Transportation said if a property owner fails to maintain his sidewalk, the city may hire a private construction firm to make the repairs, then bill the owner for the cost.

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