The shoppers walking downtown might be better off looking at where their next step will be than admiring the window displays. The sidewalks of the first three blocks of Yosemite Avenue are a mosaic of cracked concrete, gravel, brick, peeling asphalt and even inlaid glass.
Around 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 21, a 15-year-old girl was walking on the south side of the 100 block of Yosemite Avenue. With what turned out to be a misstep the sidewalks suddenly collapsed beneath her and she plummeted into the basement of the Discount Warehouse store at 126 E. Yosemite. She was taken by ambulance to Madera Community Hospital with minor cuts and bruises.
When customers walk on Yosemite Avenue sidewalks from Gateway Drive to Lake Street they are on state property. Yosemite Avenue is part of State Route 145, and that highway's right of way includes the sidewalks.
Shortly after the teenager's accident Caltrans covered the abyss with wood and surrounded the section of sidewalk with barricades and caution tape. The agency also sent a letter to property owner RIchard Mah, Jr., in Bellevue, Wash., that read, "maintain the sidewalk in front of your property in such a condition that the sidewalk will not endanger persons..." They told Mah to "apply for an encroachment permit so that your proposed repair can be evaluated and approved prior to construction." ...