Your Sidewalk: Let's Make It Perfectly Clear!
Clear Sidewalk Means Accessibility For Everyone
Did you know that cars...garbage cans...branches...even
basketball hoops can be dangerous obstacles? It is
important to remember to keep your sidewalk clear
to ensure accessibility for all citizens.
Please remember that trees, shrubs, and bushes are
all potential hazards if their branches extend into
or across your sidewalk. The City of Sacramento code
(12.56.050) calls for a minimum eight-foot vertical clearance to ensure accessibility. Please keep branches
Keep It Safe!
Cracks, spacing, and grade displacements in your
sidewalk also can impede public access and cause
serious accidents for passers-by. City of Sacramento
code (12.32.010 and 12.32.020) requires property
owners to maintain their sidewalks in such a way
that they do not create a safety hazard, endanger
persons or property, or interfere with public convenience.
The City has specific criteria for determining whether
or not a sidewalk requires repair, including the
grading and spacing of the sidewalk.
Please dial 311 between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 3:30
p.m. Monday through Friday with any questions or
to schedule an inspector to inspect your sidewalk
to determine if repair is necessary.
Here are answers to frequently asked questions about sidewalk repairs.
Q: What is the City's policy on sidewalk repair? Is there a new policy being proposed?
A: Since 1978, the City has required that property owners remove and replace any portion of defective sidewalk adjacent to their property. In 2010, the City Council approved a change in the City ordinance to allow a less expensive method of repairing a defective section or sections under certain circumstances as a one-time fix. A temporary repair by grinding is typically 30 percent less expensive than removing and replacing concrete.
The City Council as of July 1, 2010, is allowing grinding as an option in special cases where the concrete slab is more than 3.5 inches thick and the vertical displacement is less than 1.25 inches deep. Another important proposed criterion is to allow a temporary repair if all the defective sidewalk sections qualify for the temporary repair method. In other words, the City would not approve a combination of both temporary repair and sidewalk replacement because the two are aesthetically incompatible. The City is proposing ten criteria that must be met before a temporary repair option is approved by a City inspector. See list of the approved temporary concrete repair specifications.
With the proposed ordinance change, the determination of whether a defective sidewalk qualifies for a temporary repair method is at the sole discretion of the City's Street Services inspector.
Q: Why did I receive a notice to repair the sidewalk? I did not authorize or call for an inspection from the City.
A: Sidewalk inspections are performed when a citizen reports a defective sidewalk. The report may have been associated with the sidewalk in front of your house or in front of a nearby property. Once reported, the City inspects all sidewalks, curb and gutter up to 75 feet in both directions from the site of the reported defective sidewalk.
Q: Why wasn't I notified that inspectors were going to be out inspecting the sidewalks?
A: Our inspectors don't canvass neighborhoods looking for defective sidewalks. As in the response above, please understand that the City sends inspectors to locations all over the City where a complaint has been lodged. Additionally, the inspectors will also inspect up to 75 feet in both directions for defective sidewalk, curb and gutter.
Q: Isn't it the City's responsibility to maintain the sidewalk? Isn't it public property?
A: The sidewalk is in the City's right-of-way. However, California Streets and Highways Code sections 5610 through 5618 allow cities throughout California to require property owners to maintain the sidewalks in front of their property. City Code section 12.32 sets forth the City's procedures under these sections. Curb and gutter maintenance is the City's responsibility. While Sacramento is not the only city to require sidewalk repairs to be the property owner's responsibility, the City is somewhat unique in that it is a “City of Trees” and has been a Tree City USA since 1977. Although an invaluable and beautiful asset for property owners, sidewalks do tend to fall victim to burgeoning tree roots that displace sidewalks.
As the homeowner may bear civil liability for a person suffering personal injury or property damage caused by a defective sidewalk; it is in the homeowners' best interest to maintain the sidewalk and reduce the risk of a lawsuit.
Q: The sidewalk was in this condition when we purchased the home. Why are we just now getting the notice?
A: Whether you are a new homeowner or you have owned the home for several years, if you receive a notice it means the hazardous sidewalk was recently reported to us. Complaints require us to respond promptly to prevent the defect from creating a safety hazard, endangering persons or property or interfering with public convenience.
Q: Why do I have to pay to repair the sidewalk when the damage was caused by a City tree?
A: State law and the City ordinance requires property owners to take responsibility for sidewalk repairs, regardless of whether or not the tree's roots causing damage is City-owned.
Q: Why is my sidewalk considered a hazard when it has only a few cracks?
A: A few cracks may not appear to be significant on the surface, but these defects cause water to pool and/or seep beneath the existing concrete and cause further damage. The surface may also become uneven and can cause spalling (when concrete sheds tiny particles of corrosion products.) or become a trip hazard.
Q: What is the cost of sidewalk repair and how do I pay for it?
The City will send you an itemized list of labor, materials and costs based on the square footage of the segment in need of repair. From there, you have three options: have the City do the work, which includes a five year warranty for removal and replacement; hire a licensed contractor; or make the repairs yourself and have the work re-inspected by the City. Please note you or your contractor will need to follow the City's specifications.
if you or your contractor repair or replace the sidewalk. If you have the City do the work, you may qualify to make interest free installments on the amount if you qualify for an installment option through the Revenue division. Revenue makes the determination on a case-by-case basis. Please phone Revenue at 808-5527.
Unfortunately, if you do not take action in one of the above three ways, the City will be forced to repair and replace the sidewalk and the cost may be filed as a lien on your property.
Did you not find the answer you need? Please call 311.