Learn all about our new Sidewalk Accessibility Guide

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New sidewalk in West Seattle. Photo credit: Madison Linkenmeyer

We are delighted to announce the launch of our new Sidewalk Accessibility Guide! This website is a one-stop-shop for increasing landowner awareness and knowledge of sidewalk responsibilities. We have also designed this site to ensure that this information is accessible, including for blind and visually impaired people who use screen readers.

Sidewalks are one of our most valuable shared assets, both in total dollar value (estimated at $9.4 billion!) and as a way to make Seattle safer and easier to navigate for everyone who walk and roll. Because the City shares responsibility for sidewalk maintenance with individual and commercial owners, it’s important that we all do our part to keep our 2,300 miles of sidewalk in good condition. This way, we can allow everyone to move around our city safely and smoothly.

There’s a lot of information in this guide, so we thought it would be helpful to provide an overview of what you can find in each section.

PLease rating: You can click on the links below to go directly to an overview of this section of the guide. Then you can click on the title of each section to access the guide itself on the web.



Owner, lessorand business responsibilities

These sections are for homeowners, renters, and business owners who are wondering what their sidewalk maintenance responsibilities are around their property.

Plants, trees, sandwich boards, signage, garbage and recycling bins, and utility poles can make it difficult for people to move on our sidewalks. As a result, Seattle municipal code requires property owners to keep sidewalks next to their property safe and in good repair to allow an unobstructed path for all sidewalk users.

You can find useful information on plant and vegetation maintenance (except trees – please see the Tree Care section for that!), snow and ice removal, drain maintenance, guidelines sidewalk cafes and more at the links below.

Go to Owner Responsibilities

Go to tenant responsibilities

Go to Corporate Responsibilities

Street trees and a street cafe on NW Market St in Ballard.
Street trees and a street cafe on NW Market St in Ballard. Photo: SDOT

Searching for sidewalk problems

This part of the guide hosts two web maps: the sidewalk search map and the maintenance activity map.

  • The sidewalk search map contains information about sidewalk sightings, including street trees, lateral sewers, water pipes, and land ownership. You can also view the conditions of different sidewalks, where the sidewalk is missing, sidewalk ramp locations, and more.
  • The map of maintenance activities displays information about the various sidewalk maintenance works in the city. This includes open and completed work orders for repairs, temporary asphalt wedges, bevelling, etc. Asphalt “wedges” help make sidewalk cracks and heaves safer for pedestrians before long-term repairs can be made. If the curb is not raised about 1.75 inches, we can also bevel or grind the difference to create a flat surface.

Tree care

Keeping sidewalks clear also means pruning trees when necessary. However, before pruning the roots and branches of trees over 2 inches wide, or performing any major pruning that affects more than 15% of the foliage area, owners must obtain a permit and contact an arborist. SDOT to assess the impact of pruning. tree health and help ensure public safety. This section of the Sidewalk Accessibility Guide further explains homeowner responsibilities regarding tree maintenance.

Tall trees on E Lake Washington Blvd.
Tall trees on E Lake Washington Blvd. Photo: SDOT

How the City prioritizes the maintenance and installation of sidewalks

Check out this section of the guide if you want to know how we decide which sidewalks to maintain and install first.

  • Maintenance: The order of maintenance is decided after scoring the sidewalks in four different categories: risk, reduced mobility, cost and use. The overall goal is to provide the best value to the community given a limited repair budget.
  • New sidewalks: Most new sidewalks in Seattle are built by private developers. When we build new sidewalks, we do so according to the priorities established in our Pedestrian Master Plan (PMP).

To be involved

This section details ways to get involved in sidewalk maintenance in Seattle. You can learn how to join a council, clean up vegetation in your neighborhood, or let us know when you fixed your sidewalk.

Sidewalk history and asset condition

Look here for more information on the 2017 sidewalk assessment that led us to our current approach to citywide sidewalk maintenance.

Equity

Consistent with our core values ​​and goals, this section discusses how we apply an equity lens to our sidewalk programs. This includes partnering with historically underserved communities, directing resources to these communities, and supporting authentic engagement in the future.

Accessibility

This section provides more information on how landowners can ensure people using wheeled mobility devices can navigate sidewalks, including during construction activities. The page contains links to several videos that we have created in partnership with Rooted in Rights, a disability rights group. The videos explain common accessibility challenges people with disabilities face when getting around the city (see also “Sidewalk Challenge Videos”).

Build a sidewalk ramp at E Valley St and 24th Ave E.
Build a sidewalk ramp at E Valley St and 24th Ave E. Photo: SDOT

Find a code or rule

Seattle sidewalk design, construction, and maintenance activities are guided by Seattle Municipal Codes, Superintendent’s Rules, and other policy documents. This section of the Sidewalk Accessibility Guide contains a list of related codes and regulations.

Sidewalk Resources and Program Web Links

This section includes a list and links to all of the programs and resources included in the Sidewalk Accessibility Guide.

Need help ?

The final section of the guide offers several ways to contact us for services and to improve sidewalk access, including how to apply under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

A sidewalk along Valley St in South Lake Union.
A sidewalk along Valley St in South Lake Union. Photo: SDOT

Thanks

Thank you for engaging with our new Sidewalk Accessibility Guide! We hope this helps make it easier to find anything you might need or want to know about sidewalks in Seattle, especially when it comes to sidewalk safety and accessibility for everyone. We appreciate your time and attention!

Do you have questions or a repair request? Contact us at [email protected] Where:

Call SDOT at (206) 684-ROAD (7623)

– Email [email protected]

Fill out a web form

Use the cityFind it, fix it app

Mobility: We believe transportation choices are key to accessing opportunities.  Our goal is to build, operate and maintain an accessible transportation system that reliably connects people, places and goods.
Safety: We believe everyone should be able to move around the city safely.  Our goal is to create safe transportation environments and eliminate serious and fatal accidents in Seattle.
Mobility and safety are two key values ​​and objectives of SDOT. Graphics: SDOT
Help us imagine the future of transportation in Seattle - visit our online Seattle Transportation Plan hub today!
Help us imagine the future of transportation in Seattle – visit our online Seattle Transportation Plan hub today! Chart: SDOT
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