On December 17, the City Council adopted legislation (Council Bill 116112) that will further Mayor Nickels’ efforts to improve pedestrian safety and make good on a long-standing promise in areas of the City that were annexed into the city since the 1950s by lowering the threshold for sidewalk requirement in certain areas. Approximately 600 miles of city streets remain without sidewalks.
The recently approved legislation establishes new thresholds for requiring the construction of sidewalks when new development is proposed. In mid-January when the new requirements go into effect, sidewalks will be required when new development is proposed in an urban center or urban village, along any arterial street and in any pedestrian designated zones as follows:
- platting of nine or fewer lots in single family, Lowrise/Duplex/Triplex and Lowrise 1 zones
- construction of a single family home or any new multifamily development
- all new nonresidential development in commercial and industrial zones
Exceptions may be made for locations in environmentally critical areas or where other site constraints may make sidewalks infeasible. The legislation also allows for environmentally friendly sidewalk construction such as the use of permeable paving. DPD will continue to work on sidewalk provisions in 2008 to broaden requirements for the construction of sidewalks and to investigate such options as a payment-in-lieu system that would allow an applicant to pay into a fund rather than constructing the sidewalk themselves.