San Diego has enough miles of sidewalk to stretch from Ocean Beach to New York City then back again. You might not know it, but it’s your responsibility to take care of them.

Homeowners and business owners must repair and maintain the sidewalks outside their properties, according to state law.

The city, however, doesn’t give you much incentive to take care of your sidewalk. The city will fix sidewalks at intersections and those damaged by trees. It offers to split the cost of sidewalk repairs with homeowners. And if someone stumbles over the sidewalk outside your house, generally it’s the city’s legal problem, not yours.

“The end result is that we have crumbling sidewalks that are trip hazards and liabilities for the city and yet we apparently have no actual responsibility for replacing them, although we do one-offs here and there, for some reason.” City Council President Todd Gloria said. “It’s a very strange circumstance.”

I’m starting my look at San Diegans’ interaction with their city government with sidewalks. People deal with sidewalks every day, but the city’s policies for taking care of them don’t make much sense. I’ll be looking at legal, financial, disabled access and lots of other issues related to sidewalks in a series of stories.

Let’s begin with some questions. What do you want to know about how the city handles sidewalks? Where do they need to be installed? What are some of the gnarliest? For that last one, be sure to include pictures.

You can email me at

Update: By submitting your photo to us, you’re allowing VOSD to use this image in any or all of its publications.

Liam Dillon is a news reporter for Voice of San Diego. He covers how regular people interact with local government. What should he write about next?

Please contact him directly at or 619.550.5663.

Disclosure: Voice of San Diego members and supporters may be mentioned or have a stake in the stories we cover. For a complete list of our contributors, click here.

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Liam Dillon was formerly a senior reporter and assistant editor for Voice of San Diego. He led VOSD’s investigations and wrote about how regular people...

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