Ann Arbor: “Sidewalks” Can Include Cross-Lot Paths

Cross-lot walkways in Ann Arbor will now be treated as “sidewalks” from the perspective of the city’s sidewalk repair millage. Even though the millage funds can now be used to repair the walkways, owners of property adjacent to cross-lot walkways will not bear responsibility for snow removal in the winter.

Cross-lot walkways include those that connect streets to parks or school property, or connect two parallel streets.

For typical sidewalks along the side of streets, Ann Arbor’s ordinance requires the adjoining property owner to take responsibility for snow removal. That’s unchanged by the ordinance revision on cross-lot walkways.

The council’s final approval of the ordinance change came at its Oct. 21 meeting.

At its July 1, 2013 meeting, the council was set to give final approval of a different version of the ordinance revision, which would have still placed the responsibility of sidewalk shoveling in the winter on the adjacent property owners. But the council took a different approach after hearing objections from the owners of adjoining property.

A companion resolution also on the Oct. 21 agenda completed the necessary council action to allow the definitional change to have an actual impact: The definition makes a walkway a “sidewalk” if the council formally accepts the walkway for public use. So a companion resolution accepted 34 cross-lot walkways for public use.

Cross lot path described by John Ohanian as one for which he would become responsible if the city adopted the change in the definition of sidewalk.

This cross-lot path was described by John Ohanian at the city council’s July 1, 2013 meeting as one that he’d become responsible for shoveling if the city adopted the change in the definition of sidewalk. Under changes made on Oct. 21, he will not be responsible for shoveling that path.


This is the path – looking east from Frederick and Middleton into Greenbrier Park – that abuts Ohanian’s property.

This brief was filed from the city council’s chambers on the second floor of city hall, located at 301 E. Huron. A more detailed report will follow: [link]