Q: What is up with sidewalks in our neighborhood and what is the plan to update them?  

A:  There is some confusion about sidewalks in Denver.  Here in Hilltop, we have sidewalks to nowhere, Hollywood or California sidewalks, streets with no sidewalks what-so-ever.  In 2018, Denver launched two programs to address this patchwork of sidewalks and they should not be confused: The Neighborhood Sidewalk Repair Program (NSRP) and the Sidewalk Gap Program.

Here is “skinny” on sidewalks and the NSRP in Denver:

  1. Why – There are many miles of decaying sidewalks in the City of Denver. Whether they are cracked, falling apart, falling up (is that a term?) because of tree roots – it’s just a myriad of issues. These issues create a hazard. Tripping, falling, issues for less able bodied. They can be downright dangerous.

  2. Who – We have always been responsible for our own sidewalks, the ones directly adjacent to your property. We are supposed to shovel them and make sure they are in good condition. When someone tears down and builds a new home in our neighborhood, you’ll see just one section of new sidewalk and sometimes, it’s the only sidewalk on the block. It’s simply a matter of code. Varying widths usually has to do with older homes vs new home – codes change.

  3. What regions will have their sidewalks inspected and repaired first?  Regions were prioritized based on several criteria including:

  • lowest rates of automobile ownership
  • highest rates of youth, seniors, and people with disabilities
  • more damaged sidewalks in proximity to schools and transit
  • damaged sidewalks along arterial streets, closest to transit, as compared to collector or residential streets.
  • Region map is here https://www.denvergov.org/content/dam/denvergov/Portals/pedestrianprogram/documents/NSRP-region-maps.pdf    Hilltop is located in Region 6 and because they are trying to get through one region per year, our neighborhood is scheduled for attention several years down the road.  Or is that sidewalk…?  We will keep you posted.

FAQs —

What is the city’s stance on trees impacting sidewalks?  The city views trees as valuable assets. The goal of the sidewalk repair program is to find creative solutions to address sidewalk safety when the roots of healthy trees are lifting sidewalks. Options may include going around a tree root or over it or trimming a root, if no damage would occur to the tree as a result.

Will missing sidewalks be addressed?  This directly affects us in Hilltop because of so many missing sidewalks.  The answer is yes, in many other parts of Denver (see below), but not Hilltop at this time or even in the near future.

As of 2018, Denver has 355 miles of missing sidewalks. Beginning in 2018, Denver’s Sidewalk Gap Program began to further fill these sidewalk gaps and create a complete sidewalk network, enabling pedestrians to safely access their destinations. The program will help the city deliver on pedestrian-related goals that our community helped develop as part of Denver Moves: Pedestrian & Trails:

  • Accessibility
  • Connectivity
  • Access to Destinations
  • Equity
  • Health
  • Safety

The gap program is funded primarily by GO Bond dollars approved by voters in November 2017. The bond included $47.7 million to build sidewalks where they are currently missing, with $17 million specifically earmarked to close gaps in the Globeville, Elyria and Swansea neighborhoods.  Other sources of funding to address missing sidewalks include $2.5 million in 2017 and $1.5 million in 2018 to address sidewalk gaps along city-owned property.

Thanks to the City of Denver for information contained in this section.  Here is more information on the city of Denver sidewalk program.