Ann Arbor Sidewalk Definition Change Gets Initial OK

A “sidewalk” could mean something different in Ann Arbor if the city council eventually gives final approval to change that definition. Initial approval of the change came at the council’s June 3, 2013 meeting.

The new definition of “sidewalk” would expand the existing definition to include non-motorized paths that are [emphasis added] “designed particularly for pedestrian, bicycle, or other nonmotorized travel and that is constructed (1) in the public right of way or (2) within or upon an easement or strip of land taken or accepted by the city or dedicated to and accepted by the city for public use by pedestrians, bicycles, or other nonmotorized travel, …”

When the ordinance change comes to the council for a second and final approval, an additional resolution will be voted on, which would accept certain sidewalks for public use.

Impacts from this change include funding for repair and maintenance of such facilities and responsibility for snow clearance. The changed definition will allow the city to use sidewalk millage money to repair and maintain the facilities. However, it will also place responsibility on the abutting property owner for snow clearance during the winter.

City staff have identified 33 cross-lot sidewalks that would be affected by the ordinance change. A notice is supposed to be sent to all property owners abutting those sidewalks, informing them that a formal resolution accepting those sidewalks for public use is pending. According to the staff memo accompanying the council’s agenda item, a question and answer session is scheduled for June 27 from 5-7 p.m.

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]