Sidewalk Program

What To Do If The Sidewalk Has Been Damaged By Roots From A City Tree?

If you would like to report a sidewalk that has been uplifted by a City tree, select the following link to enter your information.


Did you know that property owners in the City of Detroit are responsible for cleaning and maintaining the sidewalk adjacent to their property?

There are over 4,200 miles of sidewalk in the City of Detroit and the property owners must do their part to make sure that our community's sidewalks remain safe. This includes keeping the sidewalks in good repair, free from hazardous conditions and maintained to prevent accumulation of stagnant water. Sidewalks damaged by roots of trees that are between the curb and sidewalk may be replaced by the City under the "Tree Guarantee Policy"; however, certain criteria must be met in order for free replacement to occur.

What To Do If You Need To Repair Your Sidewalk?

To repair a sidewalk or drive approach, you can hire a contractor or elect to do the work yourself. In either case, make sure the necessary permits are obtained.

Construction or replacement of sidewalks should adhere to Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements that pertain to public sidewalks and sidewalk curb ramps. In general, these requirements are as follows:

  • The sidewalk cross slope shall be 2%.
  • The minimum clear width of the sidewalk shall be six feet.
  • If the longitudinal slope of the sidewalk exceeds 1:20 it is considered a ramp and a level landing must be provided for every 30-inch change in elevation and in some cases handrails may be required.
  • Following is a link to a website that outlines ADA Accessibility Guidelines:

 

Curb repairs are not made as part of the Sidewalk Program, except as needed to close a drive approach where there is no paved driveway or install a sidewalk curb ramp. Curbs are repaired when the road is resurfaced and only those curbs which are significantly damaged.

 

If I Report A Sidewalk Issue When Will It Be Inspected?

 

Within sixty (60) days of reporting sidewalk uplifted by a City tree, a City of Detroit inspector will assess the damage to the sidewalk. The inspector will document the type and extent of damage in accordance with certain criteria. This criteria includes how high the sidewalk is lifted, the number and width of cracks in the sidewalk and the condition of the tree causing the damage.

 

If The City Elects To Repair Or Replace My Sidewalk, When Will This Work Be Done?

We cannot specify a time frame for repairs. The time frame for repairs is dependent upon the rating of the damage, available funding and other factors. Property owners who have time-sensitive needs for sidewalk repair may wish to fix the sidewalks themselves.

 

What Should I Expect If My Sidewalk Is Scheduled For Repair?

  1. A City Inspector will mark the sidewalk flags (squares) to be repaired or replaced. The markings indicate to the contractor the type and extent of repair.
  2. 3-5 days prior to construction, a door hanger will be placed on your door to notify you work will begin soon.
  3. Contractor will place barricades and barrels as needed within a day of starting removal of the sidewalk.
  4. A removal crew will remove the sections of concrete as needed.
  5. A second crew will re-grade the area and place the form boards for the new concrete. This may include trimming the tree roots as needed.
  6. A third crew will pour and finish the new concrete. Once this task is complete, it may take up to 7 days for the concrete to cure or get hard enough to drive across it. During this time, do not walk or drive across, mark or otherwise damage the sidewalk, as it may require to be replaced again and you could be held liable for the cost of the replacement.
  7. After the concrete has sufficient time to harden, a fourth crew will remove the form boards. This crew is not the final crew. There will be another crew to restore area.
  8. The fifth crew, is the restoration crew. The restoration crew is to remove debris, level the soil, fill in the gaps and apply clean soil and seed to the areas disturbed by the construction activities. Restoration should occur within 4 weeks after replacement of the sidewalks. Please note, the City does not install sod. We only apply seed and it is the resident's responsibility to water the seed.
  9. If you find that your property has been damaged by the contractor or you have an issue with the work performed, please report your concern through this link:

 

What if the curb is damaged and needs to be repaired?

Curb repairs are not made as part of the Sidewalk Program except as needed to close a drive approach where there is no paved driveway or install a sidewalk curb ramp. Curbs are repaired when the road is resurfaced and only those curbs which are significantly damaged.

 

What if my driveway approach is damaged?

Like the sidewalks, the property owner is responsible for maintaining the driveway approach. The City may repair it, if it is damaged by a City tree.

 

I bought the side lot to my property. There is no driveway, but the driveway approach is still there. Can I use this driveway approach to park my car or vehicles next to my house?

According to City Ordinances, parking on the lawn or other unpaved areas of a residential lot is not permitted. The City Ordinance also states that for single-family or two-family dwellings, only one driveway is allowed for each residential dwelling. Therefore, the City may remove a drive approach and replace it with curb when the City is replacing damaged sidewalks, if there is no paved driveway on the property. A paved driveway, as defined by the Ordinance, is one that is constructed of concrete, asphalt or solid pavers.

For commercial property, the Ordinance states that if an abandoned driveway exists in the public right of way in front of or adjacent to any commercial property, the driveway approach will be removed and replaced with curb. Abandoning a driveway includes removing the parking lot, removing the paved driveway or constructing a fence across the driveway approach.

If you need additional information about the zoning requirements for driveways, select this link to review the Zoning Ordinance.