Sidewalk Programs

In the City of Houston, homeowners with a sidewalk abutting their property are responsible for maintaining that sidewalk.  The Department of Public Works and Engineering (PWE) offers programs to assist homeowners with existing sidewalks:

Privately Funded Sidewalk Program – PWE prepares the cost estimate and provides it to the homeowner for approval.  If the homeowner approves, PWE authorizes the contractor and oversees construction.

Residential Sidewalk Panel Replacement Program – This is a homeowner “do-it-yourself” program with a requirement to notify the City.

Safe Sidewalk Program - PWE constructs sidewalks as an independent public improvement through the Safe Sidewalk Program which has three options:

  • Pedestrian Accessible Review (PAR) Program: sidewalks and curb cuts/ramps are provided to improve accessibility for people with disabilities.
  • Safe School Sidewalk Program (SSP): Provides sidewalks on streets leading to schools within a four block area.
  • Major Thoroughfare Program: Provides sidewalks along streets categorized by the Planning Department as Major Thoroughfares.

 

Privately Funded Sidewalk Program

Property owners seeking to repair, remove or install sidewalks have a relatively fast and easy alternative through the Privately Funded Sidewalk Program provided by the City of Houston’s Department of Public Works and Engineering (PWE).

This program provides set fees, contractors and oversight of construction for property owners. The construction/repair is managed, not performed, by PWE. The property owner is responsible for the costs, and has the right to review and approve all costs prior to the commencement of work. There is no obligation to use this program as it is only a tool provided by PWE to assist homeowners.

How the Program Works:
  • Property owner completes and submits APPLICATION.
  • PWE assesses work site for constructability and prepares a Cost Estimate.
  • The Cost Estimate is provided to the property owner for review and approval.
  • Property owner submits payment upon approval of the Cost Estimate.
  • PWE issues a work order to the contractor.
  • PWE oversees contractor until completion.
  • PWE, property owner and contractor will conduct a final inspection upon completion.
  • Contractor provides a one year warranty.
  • Work is limited to City right-of-way.
Helpful Program Information

 

Safe Sidewalk Program

Sidewalks and ramps within the public right-of-way help ensure the safety and welfare of the citizens of Houston. The Department of Public Works and Engineering (PWE) constructs sidewalks as an independent public improvement through the Safe Sidewalk Program.

This three part program provides sidewalks and ramps along streets leading up to schools, along major thoroughfares and where needed to improve mobility and access for citizens with disabilities.

The structure of the Safe Sidewalk Program is as follows:

Pedestrian Accessible Review (PAR) Program: This section of the Safe Sidewalk Program is administered by the Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD), and provides improved sidewalk accessibility (Maximum of 1,500 lineal feet) for disabled citizens when there are no safe paths of travel to:

  • Grocery Store/Pharmacy
  • Financial Institution
  • Place of Employment
  • Medical Facility
  • Bus Stop/METRO Lift
  • Educational Facility
  • Place of Worship
  • Any facility/structure deemed
    necessary to provide quality of life

Safe School Sidewalk Program: Provides installation of sidewalks leading to schools. Passage must currently be used as a route to school, within four blocks of the school and have adequate existing right-of-way. There is a three to four year waiting period.

Major Thoroughfare Program: Provides installation of sidewalks along major thoroughfares that lack safe passage for pedestrians to reach areas around shopping centers, bus stops and other frequently traveled routes. Each request must not exceed five blocks, and roadways scheduled for future construction within the next five years will not be considered. There is a three to five year waiting period.

Requests will be approved in the order received. Pedestrian Accessible Review requests receive priority over Safe School Sidewalk and Major Thoroughfare requests. Constructability issues (large ditches, slopes, large tree roots, right-of-way issues, utilities, etc.) may prevent request approval.

Helpful Program Information

 

Residential Sidewalk Panel Replacement Program

Residential home owners may repair/replace portions of an existing sidewalk without a permit or bond if the area of repair/replacement:

  • Is within the homeowner’s own property lines
  • Does not include any portion of the driveway, and
  • Is reconstructed in-kind and in accordance with City standards.

It is the responsibility of the permit user to contact Houston Parks & Recreation Department’s Urban Forestry if the sidewalk panel to be repaired/replaced is near existing tree roots.

The work may be completed by the homeowner or a contractor.

A notice of replacement must be filed with the Office of the City Engineer at least two (2) business days prior to work. A notice of completion must be filed no later than five (5) business days after completion. The sidewalk will not be inspected by City staff.

Residential Sidewalk Panel Replacement Forms

This program does not apply to sidewalk panels associated with new construction, remodeling or rebuilding of a residential property. This program excludes commercial properties.

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