spotlight / Maintenance Matters
Though sidewalks are generally smooth and level after installation, it is easy
to overlook small and potentially harmful changes over a period of time. But
who is responsible for keeping sidewalks safe? Is it the city? The utility company? Should someone be injured as a result of hazardous sidewalk conditions, there is a good possibility you could be held responsible.
What are Sidewalk Accessories? //
Aside from the sidewalk itself, sidewalk accessories—including manholes,
basement access doors, building spotlights, utility valve box covers (such as
gas and water), metal plant edging and grates, even sign posts—are all likely
installed level and flush with the surrounding sidewalk surface as part of
the original construction. Unfortunately, some sidewalk accessories (such as
flush-mounted building spotlights) can be hazardous to pedestrians, causing
them to slip and harm themselves if the surface is wet or slicked with snow.
Other accessories like metal covers may be worn smooth, creating a slippery
surface comparable to glass. Damage, settlement or even faulty construction
to accessories may also cause additional risk. The conditions of basic sidewalk accessories are also subject to time, the elements and overall wear.
Keeping it Even //
An uneven surface—with a vertical difference in elevation of more than 0.25
inches at its edge—can also cause a potential problem, serving as an impediment to accessibility for the people with physical disabilities and the elderly.
A difference in elevation of 0.5 inches or more is known to be a tripping
hazard even for people without disabilities.
To avoid this situation, consider becoming familiar with municipal requirements for the installation of any sidewalk ordinances and the prop-
JULIUS PEREIRA III
COMCAST.NET) IS THE
OWNER OF PEREIRA
CHADDS FORD, PA.
erty maintenance code adopted by
the municipality that governs the
general sidewalk condition. This
is typically some version of the
International Property Maintenance
Code (IPMC), published by the International Code Council.
The IMPC contains the following provision:
302.3 Sidewalks and driveways.
“All sidewalks, walkways, stairs,
driveways, parking spaces and sim-
ilar areas shall be kept in a proper
state of repair and maintained free
from hazardous conditions.”
The IMPC does not define what
constitutes a hazardous condition,
but when it comes to a pedestrian
sidewalk, it should be assumed it
includes any impediments to acces-
sibility for all pedestrians.
SAFETY //Don’t Get Tripped Up On Hazardous Conditions