The city of St. Michael has many miles of public sidewalks and trails. Public sidewalks and trails may vary in age and in quality of condition. Not every mere inequality or irregularity in the surface of the way rises to the level of a defect. The city recognizes that some sidewalk and trail conditions can create unreasonable hazards for pedestrians and other sidewalk and trail users.
The city does not have unlimited employee or financial resources and cannot reasonably replace all sidewalks or trails needing replacement or repair within the same year the sidewalk or trail is identified as needing replacement and repair. Sidewalk and trail replacement and repair can be costly. Comprehensive sidewalk and trail surveys are expensive and require the use of limited city personnel and other resources. Under appropriate circumstances, some or all of the cost of sidewalk or trail replacement may be passed to the adjacent property owner.
Accordingly, the city and its Public Works Department must exercise both discretion and professional judgment in determining whether and when sidewalks and trails need to be replaced or repaired. The city expects that its agents, employees, and city officials will exercise discretion in identifying conditions requiring replacement and repair, in the scheduling of replacement and repair, and in establishing priorities for replacement and repair.
2. Sidewalk and trail inspection procedures and repair policy
The City of St. Michael sidewalks and trails shall be divided into four inspection districts split into quadrants by County Road (CR) 19 (running north-south) and TH 241/CR 35/CR 36 (running east-west). The City Engineering Department shall inspect one of the four sidewalks and trails districts each year beginning in 2005 with the NW quadrant and working clockwise along the quadrants so that every sidewalk or trail in St. Michael will be inspected at least once every four years.
The sidewalk or trail inspector shall mark and record on a list any deviation or difference in elevation greater than one-half inch, as determined at the time of inspection. Such list will then be given to the Public Works Supervisor who will determine the extent, prioritization, and schedule of the potential repair and replacement. This schedule is subject to modification based both on sidewalk conditions and the availability of resources for sidewalk replacement and repair. The sidewalk replacement and repair schedule will take into consideration and weigh the following factors:
- Sidewalk or trail location and amount of pedestrian traffic
- Proximity of sidewalk or trail identified as needing replacement or repair to other sidewalks or trails also needing replacement or repair
- The nature and severity of the condition needing replacement or repair
- The city's budget for replacement or repair of sidewalks or trails
- Whether or to what extent the cost of repair can be recovered from other sources (adjacent property owners, builders, contractors, or developers)
- Availability of employees, equipment, and other resources for sidewalk or trail replacement or repair.
- Public safety
- History of prior accidents or complaints
- Schedules of independent contractors and work necessary to prepare bids and bid specifications if work is to be performed by independent contractors
4. Sidewalk and trail maintenance policy
City employees and/or private contractors will be responsible for removing snow from sidewalks and trails that abut or are located within city-owned streets, buildings, or parking lots. Adjacent property owners, including other public entities, are responsible for removing snow and ice from sidewalks and trails that abut or are located within their property. The city may, as a public service and for reasons of public safety, remove snow and ice from sidewalks and trails. The Public Works Supervisor will identify sidewalks and trails from which the city will remove ice and snow and the prioritization for snow and ice removal subject to the Public Works Supervisors discretion. The city will remove ice and snow those sidewalks and trails first that are high pedestrian volume and higher traffic routes that connect major sections of the city. The second priority sidewalks and trails are those providing access to schools and commercial businesses. The third priority sidewalks and trails are along low volume residential streets and along park areas.
5. Review and modification of policy
The city council may modify or clarify this policy at any time. Where the city council has delegated responsibility or authority to any city employee or official for development or implementation of any portion of this policy, that employee or official shall have full
December 28, 2004 City of St. Michael Sidewalk Inspection Policy