Sidewalk in disrepair causing pain for elderly Southeast DC residents

A Southeast D.C. woman is badly hurt and said a dangerous stretch of sidewalk is to blame.

Frances Jones said she will spend the next ten weeks with her arm wrapped in bandages. The retired resident said a raised sidewalk on the 400 block of M Street in Southeast has become hazardous to her health.

“We got to this spot right here in the sidewalk and he was trying to push me up kind of rapidly and my chair went like it was going over into the fence,” said Jones. “This is the second wrap I've gotten on my arm because the first time they thought it was just badly bruised and cracked, but when I went back yesterday, they told me that the end of one my bones was actually broken off and I need to see an orthopedic surgeon to get that corrected.”

She said the injury happened six weeks ago, but the stretch of sidewalk has been ignored since she moved to the neighborhood.

“Almost five years ever since I've been here,” Jones said. “Another lady on my floor got injured, but I don't know if she called anybody.  Several people say they have called downtown for repairs and they just ignored us.”

We went looking for answers. Jones' call was returned, though she said she made three calls to the District Department of Transportation and 311 with no response.

DDOT said sidewalk safety is its top priority, but initially had no explanation why the problem area remained.

“This is the hurdle that they have to deal with every day on a daily basis,” said Michaelisa Jones. “There's a lot of traffic here.”

“All of us are seniors in here and the majority of us have walkers, wheelchairs, can't hardly move around and this is what we have to deal with every day,” said Frances. “If this sidewalk hadn't been so messed up, I don't think the accident would have happened.”

DDOT spokesperson Michelle Evans contacted us saying, “This sidewalk was repaired in the past but because this tree is healthy, the roots broke through the concrete. DDOT will continue maintaining the health of this tree. We will also dispatch a crew tonight to ensure that the sidewalk is made safe for all the residents who use it.”

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