Denver Includes Sidewalk Repair to Concrete Maintenance Program

Published on August 03, 2022

Photo of sidewalk repair on Vine Street between 29th and 30th Avenues in Denver.

Denver Includes Sidewalk Repair as part of Annual Concrete Maintenance Program

DENVER – Denver’s Department of Transportation and Infrastructure (DOTI) is taking a new approach to repairing hazardous sidewalks in the city, tying them to other concrete repairs planned on an annual basis to maximize efficiency and use of general fund dollars.

This initiative replaces the Neighborhood Sidewalk Repair Program (NSRP) that DOTI launched in 2018 and paused in 2020 amid the economic hardships created by the pandemic.  DOTI is utilizing funding previously appropriated to the NSRP to make sidewalk repairs this year. In subsequent years, should the Denver Deserves Sidewalks ballot initiative not pass, DOTI will fund sidewalk repairs using a portion of the funding it is receiving from increases in parking meter and parking citation rates and by seeking an annual general fund appropriation as it does for other infrastructure maintenance.  Available funding will establish the scale of each year’s work program. This new approach will capitalize on efficiency by using contractors that are already out doing concrete work for the department.

Locations considered for sidewalk repairs will be established annually in conjunction with where concrete repairs are happening in advance of street paving and with priority given to equity areas and the criteria that furthers our community’s mobility goals, such as improving segments along the high injury network and that connect to transit, schools and other destinations. The number of block-faces the initiative will address each year will be tied to annual funding levels, contractor pricing, and the extent of repairs required in the established work area.

Sidewalks addressed in the annual maintenance program will be those that are damaged or uneven as described in DOTI’s Hazardous Sidewalk Rule and Regulation. While the focus of the program is to reduce trip hazards, the team will consider bringing a sidewalk into ADA compliance if it is damaged to the extent that it needs to be fully replaced, and there is clear right of way available to make the upgrade.

DOTI has added a total of $1.2M to existing contracts with concrete companies to make sidewalks repairs in 2022. With the $1.2M, DOTI anticipates fixing 24 block faces and hopes to add more dollars and do more blocks if the length of the construction season allows.

If the Denver Deserves Sidewalks initiative does not pass, the goal will be to continue with this approach and ramp up to an annual appropriation for sidewalk repair in the $6-$10M range to fund an annual work program of a size that local concrete contractors can deliver on. The initiative will be residentially focused and includes repairing sidewalks adjacent to businesses embedded in residential areas which will reduce the financial onus on adjacent individual property owners. DOTI may defer repairs or notice commercial or multi-unit property owners for repairs if the extent of repairs is so great that it would significantly impact and reduce the annual available budget.

The first sidewalks being addressed with this approach are within the boundaries of 26th Avenue to 35th Avenue and Downing Street to York Street, where other concrete work is occurring in advance of street paving next year.

The success of this new sidewalk repair initiative will be rooted in realizing the efficiencies that come with utilizing a contractor that’s already mobilized and onsite doing other concrete work.  Note that property owners maintain responsibility for adjacent sidewalks per city ordinance and could be noticed for repairs if a sidewalk complaint about their sidewalk is received.  Residents that are noticed to fix their sidewalks because of complaint should do so in a timely manner or can check to see if their sidewalk is on the city’s current work plan.  Homeowners with flagstone sidewalks who would like to maintain their sidewalks as flagstone should address hazardous walking conditions. Damaged and hazardous flagstone addressed as part of this initiative will be replaced with concrete to improve mobility.