Sidewalk issues plaguing your Houston neighborhood could be up to you to fix, city official says

Chaz Miller Image
Friday, May 19, 2023
Cottage Grove residents concerned over lack of useable sidewalks
Have sidewalk issues in your neighborhood and want to do something about it? A local official says that you could do it yourself.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- You should get a permit and start digging if your Houston neighborhood requires a sidewalk.

The city's laws on sidewalks put a lot of responsibility on property owners, although there are some exceptions for schools and disabled individuals.

The Cottage Grove neighborhood, located off of I-10 and TC Jester in northwest Houston, is about to get a new sidewalk along a stretch of Kansas Street. Still, many sidewalk issues remain in that area.

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Those problems include a lack of sidewalks, sidewalks that all-of-a-sudden stop, and streets with sidewalks on one side but not the other.

"You've got a lot of young families out here with strollers and active people trying to run," Cottage Grove Resident Chris Rhodes said. "To get anywhere, you have to weave in and out of traffic."

Catherine Powers lives in the same neighborhood and said she recently broke her kneecap trying to navigate the neighborhood's sidewalks.

"My injury occurred about three weeks ago," Powers said. "I was on a scooter, and I was going from the sidewalk into the street."

What could Powers or other residents do if they wanted to build additional sidewalks?

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"You could build it yourself," City of Houston Chief Transportation Planner David Fields said.

There's also a $12-per-square-foot fee to the city that would allow them to do the work for you eventually.

"You could put money into a fund that the city will then take to build sidewalks from corner to corner," Fields said. "When we have the funds, we'll start doing whole blocks at a time."

There's a similar self-service policy when it comes to fixing jagged or broken sidewalks outside of homes.

"The adjacent property owner is responsible for the sidewalk adjacent to their property," Fields explained.

You can contact the city's planning department for more information on sidewalk permitting and building in the City of Houston.

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