Great Streets – Now what about the sidewalks?

Last month, I shared my appreciation for the new streets we have in the Camden Community.  The cost of the work is spread among all of the homeowners and allows us all to benefit from having that work done at one time.

Now to tackle the issue of our sidewalks.  Sidewalks are vital for many in our neighborhoods: walking to the bus stop, school, store, or family/friend’s house.  And our postal carriers, delivery drivers, and service providers like plumbers, electricians, etc. rely on clear and safe sidewalks to do their jobs.

Residents place higher or lower priorities on the sidewalks in our neighborhoods, depending on their lives and interests.

*Some residents park in the back of their home (off the alley) and go directly from car to back door, and leave in reverse the next day.  Sidewalks are not even on their list of priorities.

*Some residents monitor their sidewalks, especially after a storm with high winds. They sweep their sidewalks as necessary.

*Some residents view their sidewalks as an extension of their lawn and/or gardens.  They sweep up grass clippings with each mowing, and occasionally hose down the concrete.

*Some families use their sidewalk as a canvas for chalk drawings and messages to the community, entertaining the artists and those walking by.

So, who is responsible for keeping our sidewalks in good shape?  Does the City come through and replace sidewalks like the streets?  According to the City’s website, “The cost of the construction and repair of the public sidewalks in the City of Minneapolis is the responsibility of the adjacent property owner.” If a property owner is notified by the City of a sidewalk needing repair and the property owner doesn’t respond in a timely manner, the City will engage a contractor to go out and get the sidewalk fixed. Either way, there are options on how the home-owner can pay the City of Minneapolis for the contractor’s work.

Generally, sidewalk repairs are done in sections; prolonged neglect can require an entire sidewalk to be removed and new concrete poured.

Neglect can take many forms: 

  • Poor drainage of water can create a pool that stays on the concrete for days, and repeated pooling over time can cause the concrete to break down and chip away. 
  • Trees growing close to the sidewalk can send roots out in all directions.  Tree roots can push up from under a section of concrete, causing a raised edge that can trip a walker or hamper the progress of a wheelchair or scooter.   
  • Allowing weeds to grow unchallenged between sidewalk sections can create a gap for water to seep into.  This water can freeze when the temperatures drop, and the resulting ice will expand the gap.

Please check your sidewalks. Sweep up sticks that can make a walk problematic. Look to see if tree roots are running underneath the sidewalk. And if you have a raised section of concreate, check to find out what it would cost to repair before the work is forced upon you.