This isn’t something new. When councilor Staggers was still alive we had many discussions about doing a local ballot initiative to force the city to trim the trees in the parking strip and maintain city owned sidewalks abutting private property;

They will get to decide whether to shift the responsibility of maintaining sidewalks from individual property owners to the city. The proposal on next week’s ballot would also impose a tax on property owners, to help maintain the city’s current sidewalks and add them in the many parts of town where they’re missing.

The initiative we discussed was similar. If passed, it would be up to the city council and public works to decide on an additional front assessment fee based on the square footage of your sidewalk and boulevard.

The ballot measure would charge property owners based on how much of their land runs along a street, and what type of street it faces. The measure would include discounts for owners in poorer neighborhoods. Proponents say that a typical family living in a single-family house would pay about $9 a month for the improvements. Of course, people with corner lots, or businesses located downtown, could pay more.

Sioux Falls is littered with bad public sidewalks. I think a better approach is to just have the city fix it and we reimburse the costs through our front assessment.

Marshall surveyed 16 cities last year to see how much information they had about their streets and sidewalks. All of the cities kept meticulous records on where potholes appeared, and they reported being able to fill those within days. But most had no comprehensive information about the conditions of their sidewalks. Washington was the only city that provided an average response time for fixing sidewalks, and it was 270 days, Marshall said.

Kind of sounds familiar. While our pedestrian and biking infrastructure crumbles the city is busy filling potholes that have to be refilled multiple times (instead of just building better roads).

“It’s not sidewalks as the target. It’s improving walkability,” Kraft said. “It’s increasing active transportation. Sidewalks and connected sidewalk networks are a means for getting there.”


I also think new retail businesses in Sioux Falls should be required to put a small bike rack in front of their business. If businesses are required to have so many parking spaces they should also be required to provide bicycle parking.

7 Thoughts on “Denver voters to decide if city pays for sidewalk maintenance

  1. Mike Lee Zitterich on November 4, 2022 at 2:52 pm said:

    Good topic, and maybe it is something we have to look more into, but this is one of those areas where ‘state’ law defines at what point a public easement starts and where it begins. According to State law, and I cant off the top of my head cite the ‘statute’ but it does say, that “sidewalks” unless for where they are in commercial districts such as along Minnesota Avenue or along 41st Street where they touch the street, all residential districts are considered a private concern. This is what allows the city to place the costs on the “private property holder” or in better terms, the “Landowner”. The manner of which city ordinances are written, the landowners/developers who come to the city to zone their land, build on their land, are responsible for building the sidewalk as they build the private housing development. As a business, we are permitted to do business in the city, and based on that license, agree to take care of the sidewalks, whereas the public taxes take care of anything between the “Sidewalks” aka public easements. This is also why you can be ‘trespassed’ on side walks in residential areas where a homeowner calls the police, but in “commercial distrsicts” you can stand and take pictures in front of businesses.

    Homeowners, let alone the Landowners/property holder are responsible for the sidewalk “unless’ strictly stipulated differently in the “Housing Developmental Contract” with the City.

  2. Observer on November 4, 2022 at 9:26 pm said:

    Put the bike rack on the sidewalk behind the “Parking for Carry Out Only” parking places.
    Besides, what is the definiton for “Parking for Carry Out Only”?
    1. I call ahead and arrive to pickup my order when it’s ready.
    2. Park, go in, order a steak sandwich to go but in the meantime have a beer while they make it?

  3. Mike, according to PTH we have home rule, we can do whatever we want to.

  4. Les Stench 4 Governor on November 5, 2022 at 9:35 am said:

    I think we should all be responsible for shoveling the street in front of our homes. We could call it freedom. Liberty. Self-reliance. Building character. The American way.

  5. rufusx on November 6, 2022 at 1:32 pm said:

    Even Denver (let alone SF) is a bit slow on the trigger on this one. Lennox, SD has had a front fee for street (including sidewalk maintenance) for a couple years now. It was enacted about 15 years after I first proposed it, of course.

  6. D@ily Spin on November 7, 2022 at 10:57 am said:

    It’s a mistake for the city to fix sidewalks. The only art they know is pink fluorescent on concrete. What would keep code enforcement and legal busy? How could a mayor harass you when he doesn’t like your criticism at public comment? Just be careful when city porn fans are in your neighborhood. Keep the kids in the house. Walk them to/from the school bus.

  7. back in the day, my grandpa and the neighbors would all get their scoop shovels and clear the township roads. then the socialists took over and bought a road grader and plowed the roads. the government takes your sidewalks today, and your guns and freedom tommorrow.

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