Sidewalk and Parkway
Strip Maintenance - Owner Responsibilities
The sidewalk, parkway strip, and curb & gutter are typically made of
concrete and located next to the street on the front and/or side portion
of your property. The curb and gutter are located at the edge of the
street pavement. The sidewalk is either separated from the curb by a
parkway, or is located adjacent to the curb. Parkways are sometimes
planted or filled in with brick or other materials.
The City receives many requests from
citizens to make repairs to sidewalks and realized there was a need to
provide more information to the public on this subject.
Who is responsible for maintenance?
The property owner is responsible for
properly maintaining this area (see San Luis Obispo Municipal Code
Section 12.16.020 and Streets and Highway Code Division 7, Part 3,
Chapter 22). This responsibility includes maintenance of damaged or
displaced concrete and abatement of weeds or debris While the City may
be liable for injuries to pedestrians that are determined to have
resulted from a dangerous condition of a public sidewalk, property
owners should be aware that they may also be found liable if it
is determined that they somehow caused the dangerous condition.
When should property owners consider doing sidewalk replacement?
Replacement of the sidewalk, curb and gutter
should be considered when one or more of the following exists:
there is a vertical difference in height between sections of the
sidewalk or concrete parkway strip of 3/4” or more.
If the concrete has broken apart.
§ In any instance where the
owner has reason to know that the condition presents a danger to
users, or the owner has observed someone trip because of damage to
In addition to damaged
sections, curb and gutter replacement is typically required when
sidewalks and driveways are replaced unless the sidewalk is separated
from the curb by a parkway. Patching should be completed when
horizontal openings greater than 1/2" exist.
What are the options available for
completing the work?
Construction of curbs, gutters, and
side-walks in City streets may be performed by a properly licensed and
insured contractor. A permit is required for concrete repair. Permits
are valid for 45 days; call (805)781-7200.
Are there inspections and standards
for concrete repair work?
Yes, all work and materials must be in
conformance with the City of San Luis Obispo Engineering Standards for
Public Works Construction.
Before placing any concrete you must have
the forms, base, tree root removal, and saw cuts inspected. After
approval, a City-approved concrete mix must be used. Finish must be a
light broom finish with score marks to match the existing sidewalk.
After the work is completed, you must call for a final inspection. A
permit is required for all concrete work in the public right-of-way. Engineering Standards for construction are available on the City’s web
site on the Public Works page.
For information on obtaining a permit
Is the property owner responsible for
repairs if the concrete damage is caused by a tree?
The City encourages street trees in front
of residences. The property owner is responsible for the maintenance of
the street tree but the City will repair the sidewalk when the concrete
has been damaged by a street tree. Concrete damaged by other trees is
the responsibility of the property owner. Maintenance, trimming and
replacement of street trees and shrubs is governed by Chapter 12.24.110,
12.24.120 and 12.24.150 of the Municipal Code.
What measures should be taken to
minimize concrete displacement by tree roots?
Certain species of trees may raise
concrete if preventative maintenance is not performed. To reduce the
chance of future concrete displacement, trees can be root-pruned and a
root barrier installed. Care must be taken when root pruning to avoid
damaging underground utilities. This work must be completed by a
licensed tree care specialist. Also, deep-watering the tree, that is,
applying a slow trickle of water over a 24-hour period, encourages
deeper root growth which reduces the chance of sidewalk damage.
If a problem is reported to the City,
how long does it take for them to repair it?
When a report is made to the City, it is
entered into a work order program. Generally within a week the site is
reviewed. If a temporary “fix” such as grinding or ramping the area can
be made, that is usually completed by the following week. Severe damage
that can not be temporarily fixed is placed at the top of the list to be
reconstructed as soon as possible when caused by a street tree.
Areas of less severe damage are completed
as the next priority, working around the City in a systematic fashion in
advance of the paving program. That can mean the sidewalk will not be
replaced for several years. Damage other than that caused by street
trees needs to be followed up by the property owner.
Related to sidewalk repair is
clearance and visibility. When is maintenance required?
Visibility – When parkway
strip shrubbery interferes with the ability of a driver to see
approaching traffic, either from a driveway or an intersection,
trimming of shrubs must be completed. Shrubs must be trimmed to a
maximum height of 36”, and preferably lower, for a minimum distance of
30’ from an intersection. (Municipal Code 10.60 and 17.16.020)
Walkway and Gutter
Clearance – Trimming of ground cover or shrubs is required when the
plants extend onto or over the sidewalk or gutter.
Parkway Strip Condition –
All tree stumps, large rocks, trash and holes must be removed. The
parkway strip must be level with no tripping hazards. Holes must be
filled and leveled with dirt or other material.
When is a permit required for
landscape maintenance work?
If the sidewalk or the street must be
closed for the work, a permit is required from Public Works. If a tree
is to be removed, a removal permit must be obtained. Applications for
tree removal are available on the City’s web site on the Public Works
page. Additional permit information can be obtained from the Department
of Public Works. Permits are valid for 45 days; call (805)781-7200.