Sidewalks are a partnership between property owners and the City. Since its founding, Sumner’s goal has been to achieve a completed sidewalk system. Since then, many property owners have paid to install and/or repair their sidewalks over the years per City code. However, the City continues to find ways where we can help alleviate the burden of fixing/installing sidewalks as much as possible.
A Sidewalk is:
“… any thoroughfare, the primary function of which is to serve pedestrian traffic. The term includes any and all improvements included in the space between the street pavement edge and the property line, known as the sidewalk area, including sidewalks, gutters and curbs along all driveways across sidewalks”.SMC 12.20.010
Latest News about Sidewalks
Safety of Bikes, Pedestrians, & Drivers
Wood & Main Intersection
Sidewalk Improvement Project
Sidewalks & Accessibility
Your sidewalk must comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards to keep our system accessible to individuals whether they are blind, rely on a mobility scooter, use a wheelchair, etc. We realize many older sidewalks were put in place before these standards. We continue to use grants, our own sidewalk program and other options to help you fix issues with the actual sidewalk but there are other ongoing maintenance issues that you should always be aware of as well:
- Do not park vehicles across sidewalks, blocking access.
- Do not block sidewalks with signs, merchandise, artwork, furniture, etc.
- Keep adjacent trees and shrubbery pruned back from the sidewalk. While you’re at it, be sure to keep water meters and fire hydrants also clearly visible and not blocked by bushes.
- Keep sidewalk clear of snow and any other slipping hazards including but not limited to leaves, petals, fruit.
- Pet owners, NEVER leave pet waste on yours or someone else’s sidewalk.
Sidewalk Responsibilities Per SMC 12.20,12.32, 12.42
City of Sumner
- Clear sidewalks of debris
- Monitor sidewalks and report damages
- Complete sidewalk repairs that are not City responsibility
- Maintain street tree and trim limbs smaller than 1” diameter
- Fully maintain private property trees that affect the sidewalk system
- Clearing sidewalks of:
- Snow, Ice, Dirt, Leaves, Waste, etc.
- Maintain vegetation within the planting strip
- No parking on sidewalks
- Park only in designated areas
- Complete Sidewalk Repairs related to:
- Street Tree Damage
- Failed Utilities
- Trim street tree limbs larger than 1” diameter
The general rule is that sidewalk repair and maintenance is the responsibility of the abutting property owner. For more on what constitutes repair and maintenance, and what the notice and enforcement requirements entail, please see Sumner Municipal Code 12.20.
Sidewalks and Snow
Again, it is the property owner’s responsibility for ongoing maintenance of sidewalks, not the City’s. When it snows, the City will clear sidewalks adjacent to our property only (parks, City Hall, etc.). It is the property owner’s responsibility to clear sidewalks in front of homes and businesses.
Sidewalks and Street Trees
When we plant a street tree, we add a root barrier to keep roots from growing under sidewalks. Unfortunately, we didn’t always do this practice with our older street trees. If you think a City street tree has damaged your sidewalk, please let us know Although it may be our responsibility to fix the damage, it’s also your responsibility to let us know about it.
More about street trees and maintenance
City Sidewalk Programs
Street Trees Sidewalk Repair Program
The Street Trees Sidewalk Repair Program is a program used to repair damaged sidewalk locations throughout the city in which the damage has been caused by street trees. This typically means that the roots of the street tree have grown too large for the area that they are within and/or are now growing out, instead of down, and are now growing up within the sidewalk area. The city has upgraded their standard plan for street tree plantings to now include a root barrier to be installed when the tree is planted in order to prevent this damage from happening. However, this was not always the case, in which there are many sidewalk locations throughout the city that are damaged due to the tree roots. In the summer of 2021, there was an assessment completed of the street tree caused sidewalk damages. From that, we as a city are working to repair these locations over time. The repairs will be prioritized for areas that have not had recent sidewalk repairs, are within the lowest Equity Index, and areas that were rated the worst.
Helping Homeowners Sidewalk Program
The Helping Homeowners Sidewalk Program, previously known as the “Volunteer Sidewalk Program”, is a program that has been created to assist homeowners with the repair of the sidewalks adjacent to their property. This program is for sidewalk repairs that would normally be the property owner’s responsibility to fix. This program is a cost share program with the city, where the homeowner is responsible for paying 50% of the cost and the city will pay the remaining 50%. In addition, the city will coordinate the repairs throughout the city, and work with a contractor to make these repairs. To qualify for these repairs, the homeowner will need to have a damaged sidewalk that has been reported to the city, in which the city will then offer applications to those homeowners. If the property owner is selected to be a part of the program, the repairs will then be made as one large project with different locations throughout the city.
ADA Improvement Program
The ADA Improvement Program is a program that is used to make immediate ADA repairs throughout the city. These repairs are for things such as ADA curb ramps, sidewalks, and driveway approaches that are prohibiting a resident from accessing their homes, cars, mailboxes, etc. These repairs are for more emergent uses, and is completed on a case by case basis. These are repairs that are fully funded by the city.