Who is responsible for keeping New York sidewalks safe?

Most New Yorkers expect the city’s sidewalks to remain safe for pedestrians. However, New York City is a big place and the task of maintaining and repairing so many walkways is monumental. The city readily assumes its share of the responsibility and is always engaged in safety and maintenance activities on city-owned sidewalks and residential sidewalks.

It is estimated that the city’s Department of Transportation replaces approximately 2 million square feet of sidewalk annually. These repairs are most often conducted in residential areas and on city walkways. Despite these efforts, the total number of repairs addresses less than 1 percent of the region’s sidewalks. The question now is who is responsible for the rest of the sidewalks? The answer is property owners.

New York’s administrative code addresses the issue in section 19-152, which states that property owners hold the responsibility of “installing, repairing and maintaining sidewalks adjoining their properties.” While property owners are required to handle the maintenance of adjoining sidewalks, the DOT is not idle in this process. In fact, DOT workers are in charge of inspecting sidewalks and then notifying responsible property owners that repairs are needed.

Property owners are also responsible for keeping walkways clean and free of snow, ice or other materials that could cause sidewalk accidents and falls. The DOT can assist certain property owners by way of its Expedited Sidewalk Repair program. If qualified, property owners can let the city make the repairs and pay the DOT for its services.

If you have been injured in a sidewalk accident or fall and you do not know who is liable for your injuries, you will benefit from speaking with a Accident Attorney about your case.

Source: New York City Department of Transportation, “Sidewalk Maintenance and Repair,” accessed Oct. 11, 2016

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