Sidewalks provide many benefits to a community and its residents. They enable walking, which is healthy and enjoyable. The provide safety by separating pedestrians from motorists, enhancing neighborhood security and creating safe routes to school for children. They also promote a sense of community by giving neighbors an opportunity to meet each otehr and connecting neighborhoods to stores, services and parks.
At the same time, Michigan law and the city charter place the burden of liability on homeowners if someone is injured on a sidewalk in front of their home or place of business. Specifically, city ordinances
All sidewalks shall be maintained in good repair by the owner of land adjacent to or abutting the sidewalk.
The owner shall be liable to fully indemnify the city.
The owner shall be liable to any injured person.
The City of Lowell conducts an annual sidewalk inspection and replacement program designed to give homeowners early notification of the need to repair sidewalks. An annual inspection is conducted using criteria such as:
Elevation Differences between two sidewalk squares.
Holes and Cracks
Residual Material such as grass or weeds growing across a sidewalk
Sidewalks are then placed into Red, Yellow and Green categories based on the inspection criteria.
Red means High Danger and the sidewalk requires Immediate Replacement
Yellow means Low Danger and the sidewalk should be Considered for Replacement
Green means Safe or Satisfactory and No Replacement is required or recommended
The Deficiency Criteria for Sidewalks and Driveways
provides more specific information.
Annual Sidewalk Inventories
Sidewalk Inventory 2013.pdf