Yesterday the City Council approved a settlement costing nearly $5 million to an individual who was injured as a result of a tree-damaged sidewalk. The City’s policy concerning sidewalk maintenance is ineffective and has resulted in many sidewalks across San Diego remaining damaged and unsafe, which results in injuries to residents on a regular basis and the need to pay out high priced settlements for personal injury. Council Policy 200-12: Sidewalk Maintenance Policy, essentially forces property owners to pay for permanent repairs to damaged sidewalks in most instances. Last year, I worked closely with the City Attorney’s Office to determine how best to revise Council Policy 200-12 which would 1) shift the cost of maintaining sidewalks back to the City except in cases where it has been determined that an abutting property owner, or third party, damaged the sidewalk themselves, and 2) that if the City is made aware of an unsafe sidewalk condition, the City should replace that section of the sidewalk within 90 days.
Attached are my proposed revisions to Council Policy 200-12. I believe that they accomplish the goal of ensuring that the City has the main responsibility of maintaining sidewalks. As such, I would request that these revisions be docketed for discussion at the Rules Committee so that we can move forward in adopting the needed changes to address the currently flawed policy.
Thank you for your timely response to this matter.