Denver's Sidewalk Programs
Here is an overview of the current programs and funding sources dedicated to improving sidewalk connectivity and accessibility in our city, the environment for walking, and the condition of our sidewalk network.
Sidewalk Gap Program
The Sidewalk Gap Program is funded primarily by Elevate Denver Bond dollars approved by voters in November 2017. The bond included $47.7 million to fill existing gaps in the sidewalk network, with $17 million specifically earmarked for the Globeville, Elyria and Swansea neighborhoods.
The Sidewalk Gap Program is addressing missing sidewalks with a focus on providing access to transit, schools, libraries, parks and city facilities.
Learn more about the Sidewalk Gap Program
Sidewalk Construction, Reconstruction and Repairs (fee-based program)
Historically, the construction, repair and maintenance of sidewalks was the responsibility of adjacent property owners in Denver. In November 2022, a citizen-led ballot initiative approved by voters shifted the responsibility of sidewalk repair and maintenance to the city and established a fee to fund the work. The city is to bill property owners the fee and use the revenue for sidewalk construction, reconstruction and repair purposes, including financing, administrative, and other costs related to the program.
Here’s a link to the full ordinance language.
Status: With Denver’s Department of Transportation and Infrastructure (DOTI) leading, next steps for implementation of the new fee-based sidewalk repair and maintenance program include:
- Establishment of a citizen task force that includes diverse community perspectives to analyze timeline and revenue assumptions included in the ordinance and potentially make recommendations for changes to the ordinance to meet goals and objectives.
- Development of a financial governance and oversight framework, including creation of an enterprise fund that can receive monies generated by the sidewalk fee.
The city will educate the public on next steps, including implementation of the new sidewalk fee, as they occur.
NEW: DOTI is establishing a task force to analyze and discuss the timelines and revenue assumptions included in the Ordinance 307 to potentially recommend changes or adjustments to meet stated goals. Please submit your name, address, and a statement about why you are interested in participating to DOTISidewalks@denvergov.org by the end of day Friday, April 7, 2023.
What were some of the stated purposes of the sidewalk ballot initiative?
Among other ideas, the ordinance outlined these stated purposes:
- To promote the general public health, safety and welfare by assuring that sidewalks are accessible and safely maintained for all sidewalk users
- To provide for the establishment of a sidewalk master plan and maintenance program for effectively identifying sidewalks in need of construction, reconstruction and repair and developing a comprehensive program for sidewalk construction, reconstruction and repair
- To establish a reasonable sidewalk service charge for construction, reconstruction and repair of sidewalks computed on a basis of the use made of, and the need for, and the service provided by, sidewalks in the city
How is the fee for sidewalk repair and maintenance determined?
The ordinance specifies that the city compute the sidewalk service charge by:
- First, determining the linear footage of the property frontage for the lot or parcel of real property
- Second, identifying the street type on which the lot or parcel is located
- Third, multiplying the sidewalk service charge per linear foot for the assigned street type
Property owners can use this map to determine the “street type” on which their property is located. Note that this map may be updated periodically and/or as the new sidewalk program develops.
How does the city determine the linear footage?
The ordinance says the city shall determine the linear footage for a lot or property by any of the following methods:
- On-site measurements of the linear footage of the property frontage for the lot or parcel of real property made by the city or on its behalf
- Computation of the linear footage of the property frontage for the lot or parcel of real property using the dimensions of the property frontage for the lot or parcel of real property which are set forth and contained in the records of the office of the assessor of the city; or
- Estimation, calculation and computation of the property frontage using aerial photography, photogrammetry, or equivalent technology
What are the proposed sidewalk fee rates?
The ordinance establishes fees per linear foot of sidewalk, based on street type.
The ordinance discounts the annual fee per linear foot of property frontage by 20% for real property located in neighborhoods identified through the city’s Neighborhood Equity & Stabilization (NEST) program. The ordinance includes a caveat that if it becomes unfeasible to use the city’s NEST program to identify neighborhoods in which the annual fee per linear foot of property frontage should be discounted, the manager of transportation and infrastructure may direct that these neighborhoods be identified through alternate means.
Please note these rates that were included in the ordinance are being analyzed for their ability to meet the implementation time frames stated in the ordinance.
The ordinance also states that starting in the fifth (5th) year after the year in which the sidewalk service charge is first collected, and every fifth (5) year thereafter, the current rates of charge (per linear foot of property frontage) can be adjusted.
How often will the sidewalk service charge be collected?
The ordinance states the sidewalk service charge shall be payable in advance, twice annually or at some other billing frequency that the manager of transportation and infrastructure shall determine is necessary and appropriate.
What happens if a resident fails to pay the sidewalk service charge?
The ordinance states it shall be a violation of Denver Revised Municipal Code for any person to fail or refuse to make payment due the city, or in any manner to evade the collection and payment to such fees and charges, or any part or parts thereof, imposed by this division or for any person to fail or refuse to pay such fees or charges or evade the payment thereof, or to aid or abet another in any attempt to evade the payments of the fees and charges imposed by this division.
Can a resident dispute the amount of the sidewalk fee?
The ordinance states that any person who disputes the amount of any charge or rate of charge made against that person’s property may request a revision or modification to such charge or rate of charge from the agency or division of the department of transportation and infrastructure assessing such charge. Such request shall be made in writing not later than one (1) year after having been billed for any such charge. Said agency or division shall issue a written determination granting or denying such request, in whole or in part, which determination may be appealed pursuant to the remaining provisions of this section.
What should the required sidewalk master plan accomplish?
The ordinance states, among other things, that the sidewalk master plan shall set forth the location, width and state of repair of all sidewalks within the city, as well as the location of all lots and parcels of real property in the city where there are currently no sidewalks. It will also address the implementation of the initial capital investment plan as well as a long-term strategy for a continuing program of maintenance, repair, and/or reconstruction of city sidewalks as needed and over time.
What about my flagstone sidewalk?
The ordinance states that the sidewalk master plan shall require sidewalks to be constructed, reconstructed and repaired to the minimum standard sidewalk widths identified in the city’s Complete Streets Guidelines for the type of street on which the sidewalk is located, unless the manager of transportation and infrastructure determines doing so is not reasonable or feasible.
The ordinance also states that the sidewalk master plan shall consider and direct the implementation of strategies to preserve flagstone sidewalks where the existing materials are substantially intact and it is possible to do so while still satisfying sidewalk master plan priorities and meeting sidewalk construction and condition standards.
Snow on Sidewalks
Denver requires that property owners clear snow and ice from their sidewalks, including adjacent ADA ramps, so that EVERYONE has safe access throughout the city! Senior citizens, people with disabilities, parents with strollers, and mail carriers — just to name a few — struggle to negotiate hazardous walkways. We need to do our part to make our community safe and accessible for all.
Timing: After snow has stopped falling, businesses need to begin clearing their sidewalks immediately. Residences need to clear their sidewalks by the next day.
Inspectors leave a time-stamped notice at properties with un-shoveled sidewalks. After receiving a notice, businesses have four hours and residences have 24 hours before the inspector’s re-check and a potential $150 fine.
Report A Problem: If it has been more than 24 hours after a snow event and sidewalks near you are still not shoveled, please contact Denver 311 to provide the address of the unshoveled sidewalk.
Tips: For how to properly shovel snow, please visit Denver Health's Snow Removal Injury Prevention
Denver's Snow Angel Program