About the Program
San Rafael has some of the oldest neighborhoods in the North Bay. To many, the charming and often tree-lined streets are what make San Rafael such a great place to live. However, tree roots and age have caused parts of our City’s 275 miles of sidewalks to fall into a state of disrepair; hampering the safe walkability of our City. The City shares this concern with the community, and has been working for several years to come up with a solution where the City and property owners can work together to ensure damaged sidewalks are repaired. We all want our streets to be safe passageways for cars and pedestrians alike.
As with many municipalities, San Rafael addresses sidewalk maintenance and repairs in accordance with California State Streets and Highways Code Section 5610, which states that sidewalk maintenance and repair is the responsibility of the adjacent property owner. San Rafael’s sidewalk maintenance policy is also addressed in our local municipal code as Chapter 11.60, which states that the adjacent property owner is responsible for maintaining the sidewalk in a nonhazardous condition. Chapter 11.60 also states that a property owner may also be liable for injuries caused as a result of failure to maintain the sidewalk.
In conjunction with the adoption of San Rafael Municipal Code Chapter 11.60, the City Council called for the development of a pilot Sidewalk Repair Program which attempts to share the financial burden associated with sidewalk maintenance between the City and property owners, and streamlines and consolidates sidewalk repairs throughout the City.
Under the new program, the City will split the cost of sidewalk replacement 50-50 (up to a maximum of $1,000 in City contribution), and cover 100% of the cost of curb and gutter replacement (up to a maximum of $4,000 City contribution). Additionally, tree work including removal will be done by the City based on review by a City Arborist. It is important to note that driveway aprons are not eligible for cost-share in the program.
The primary purpose of the program is to assist property owners with the following costs associated with sidewalk repairs:
- Concrete sidewalk repair and replacement
- Curb and gutter work required with sidewalk repair and replacement
- Tree work associated with sidewalk repair and replacement (root trimming, stump grinding, removal/ replacement)
- Encroachment permit fees and related inspections
Who is responsible for sidewalk repair and maintenance in San Rafael?
Per City of San Rafael Municipal Code Chapter 11.60, responsibility for maintenance and repair of public sidewalks rests with the adjacent property owner.
The City ordinance was adopted in October 2017, in accordance with California Streets and Highways Code Section 5610, which states in part that the adjacent property owner is responsible for sidewalk maintenance and repair.
In conjunction with the adoption of Municipal Code Chapter 11.60, the City Council called for the development of a pilot Sidewalk Repair Program which shares the financial burden associated with sidewalk maintenance between the City and the property owners.
Sidewalk Repair Program and Ordinance History
October 2, 2017 City Council Meeting
- Consideration of adoption of an ordinance clarifying (a) responsibility to maintain and repair sidewalks lies with adjacent property owner and (b) property owner may be held liable for failure to maintain.
- Detailed outline of a draft Sidewalk Repair Cost-Sharing Program including reimbursement amounts to property owners.