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Maintenance Questions

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What's the City's policy on sidewalk repair? Is there a new policy being proposed?

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 a list of the approved temporary concrete repair specifications for details.

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.

Why did I receive a notice to repair the sidewalk? I did not authorize or call for an inspection from the City.

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, curbs and gutters up to 75 feet in both directions from the site of the reported defective sidewalk.

Why wasn't I notified that inspectors were going to be out inspecting the sidewalks?

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 sidewalks, curbs and gutters.

Isn't it the City's responsibility to maintain the sidewalk? Isn't it public property?

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.

The sidewalk was in this condition when we purchased the home. Why are we just now getting the notice?

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.

Why do I have to pay to repair the sidewalk when the damage was caused by a City tree?

State law and the City ordinance requires property owners to take responsibility for sidewalk repairs, regardless of whether or not the tree causing damage is City-owned.

Why is my sidewalk considered a hazard when it has only a few cracks?

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.

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.

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.

Street Maintenance

How do I get a pothole fixed?

Dial 311 or use the 311 mobile app. Please be prepared to give size and location details. Generally, repairs are completed within two to three days depending on the severity of the damage.

How do I get cracked asphalt on my street fixed?

Dial 311 or use the 311 mobile app. Please provide a detailed location and the problem. A district supervisor with inspect and arrange for necessary repairs.

When is my street schedules to be resurfaced?

Both from an industry standpoint and from an internal planning standpoint, our goal is to resurface every street in the City every ten to twelve years. In general we have kept up with this goal with a few exceptions. For more information, please see our Street Resurfacing Program.

What are all the ugly squiggly lines on my street for?

Water is the number one enemy of a street and combating or reducing the opportunity for water to penetrate our streets is an important mission. When streets begin to crack, it is important to seal those cracks with a material that halts the ability for water to penetrate the street. Usually crack sealing is done one to three years prior to a more significant level of maintenance or resurfacing job. Although some residents oppose crack sealing for aesthetic reasons, the importance and value of crack sealing streets is enormous.

A crew was on my street last year paving. Why are you resurfacing it again this year?

Streets that are scheduled to be resurfaced generally need significant prep work provided first. In some cases the amount of prep work is extensive and residents on occasion don't realize that it is only prep work. The final product however may be a slurry seal or cape seal applied one year following the prep work.

Can we have speed humps installed when you resurface my street since you're already out here?

The City's Speed Lump (Hump) Program is completely separate from our Resurfacing Program. All requests for speed humps are investigated and prioritized by our Transportation Division and speed humps are only included during our resurfacing projects if they existed already along a segment of roadway. See Transportation Questions for frequently asked questions regarding speed humps.

Why is my street getting resurfaced when it doesn't look that bad?

There are various levels of resurfacing needs. The industry standard is to slurry seal a street approximately seven years after it is constructed. The purpose is to seal the street against water and further extend the life of the asphalt. Clearly, the budget we use does not allow for us to routinely seal streets within seven years of construction, but on occasion we do find the funding for this level of preventive maintenance although the street may look fine to the residents.

Traffic Signs and Markings

How do I report a street sign that is knocked down or bent?

Please report street sign problems by dialing 311 or by using the 311 mobile app. Please give the exact location of the sign.

Who do I contact if the painted marks on the street or curb are no longer visible or are in poor condition?

Contact customer service by dialing 311. We will need to know what the paint marks are and the location.

Who do I contact if I think we need a stop sign on our street?

All new signs and markings must be investigated and approved by the City's Transportation Division. Contact your area's Traffic Investigator or call (916) 808-8300 to let them know you would like a new sign or marking.

People speed on my street and I want something done.

All requests concerning errant driver behavior need to be addressed through the Transportation Division. Give them a call at (916) 808-8300 or contact us by email.

Streetscapes (Median landscaping)

How do I report defective water sprinklers in the landscaped median?

Please call our customer service number by dialing 311 or by using the 311 mobile app. Please be prepared with details on the exact location. Please note that these sprinkler systems are on timers that turn off automatically after a few minutes, and usually stop before serious flooding occurs.

Where do I report problems with landscaping in medians or on public landscaped areas?

Please call our customer service number by dialing 311 or by using the 311 mobile app. Please be prepared with details on the exact location and the problem. If the landscaping problem is in a park area, please contact Park Maintenance at (916) 808-6305.

Construction Coordination

What is Right-of-Way Management?

Right-of-Way Management minimizes construction impacts to vehicles, pedestrians, businesses and residents through careful review and scheduling of construction activities.

Is all construction within the right-of-way scheduled?

No, not all. Emergency repairs to various infrastructure within the right-of-way are performed as needed.

How far in advance are specific construction activities scheduled?

It varies. Some projects begin scheduling activities a year or two in advance. Most projects begin their review a few months before actual construction begins. However, many projects appear just a few weeks before construction must begin.