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Sidewalk Installation

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Public Works Department

Administrative Policy - Sidewalk Installation

Policy: Establish minimum guidelines for the development of sidewalks as a part of the pedestrian element of the transportation system within the City. The installation of sidewalks shall be evaluated on all new development projects and on projects meeting certain criteria outlined below.


In January 2013 the City of Belmont adopted a Complete Streets Policy (Policy) to establish guidelines that the City of Belmont can use to create safe places for residents to walk and bike, and to increase physical activity and access to transit, thereby making neighborhoods more connected and making the city a better place to live. The Policy covers development and redevelopment in the public domain and street improvements within Belmont.

Sidewalks are a necessary component of a walkable community. Walkable communities tend to have stronger, healthier and cohesive neighborhoods with less traffic congestion and a stronger sense of civic identity. This Policy calls for the incorporation of a complete streets approach into the review of all projects and all phases of project development.

The Public Works engineering permit and development review process is guided by the following administrative guidelines:

  1. Compliance with provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
  2. Reducing pedestrian gaps on arterial and collector streets by providing continuous sidewalks on at least one side of the street.
  3. Providing continuous sidewalk on at least one side of local streets that provide access to schools, parks, employment locations and transit stops.
  4. Consideration to construct sidewalks on both sides of streets which have high traffic counts, and one side of streets with lower traffic counts.
  5. Streets where sidewalks are requested by more than 50% of the property owners.


Belmont City Code Sections:

  • 7-13 (a) (b)
  • 22-62
  • City of Belmont Complete Streets Policy (Resolution 2013-004 adopted January 2013)


Sidewalk installation is required under the following circumstances:

  • A project involves construction of a new building; or
  • A project increases the square footage of an existing building, by 25% or more; or
  • Major improvements are being performed on the frontage of the property (i.e. grading, construction of walls or driveways, etc.); or
  • Sidewalks have been constructed, or their construction has been guaranteed on more than 50% of the frontage in any one block (BCC 22-62(b)(l)): or
  • When a petition signed by the owners of more than sixty (60) percent of the fronting footage of the has been filed(BCC 22-62 (b)(2)): or
  • Whenever the City Council orders installation of sidewalks (BCC 22-62 (b)(3))

Requirements of the Sidewalk Installation policy can be met by:

  1. Installation of a sidewalk, or
  2. Entering into a deferred improvement agreement (DIA).

A waiver to sidewalk installation may be granted by the City Engineer by entering into a DIA if an applicant provides documentation (i.e. drawing, technical memorandum) outlining how the project meets any of the conditions below:

  1. Sidewalk installation would adversely impact the property or neighboring properties (i.e. drainage, extensive grading, etc.) without modification to the frontages of those neighboring properties; or
  2. Projects where the cost of constructing sidewalks or walkways would be unreasonably disproportionate to the cost of the associated construction or overall project costs. However a partial waiver may be granted in lieu of a full waiver to reduce the cost of required sidewalks such that the costs will not be unreasonably disproportionate; or
  3. Changes to the street or neighboring properties are planned that would impact the installation of the sidewalk. In this case, the deferred agreement would require installation of the sidewalk after the planned change to the street or neighboring properties have taken place; or
  4. Installation of a sidewalk would result in a driveway grade greater than allowed by the latest planning requirements (18% as of May 2016); or
  5. Installation of a sidewalk would conflict with other City requirements.

Design Parameters

All public sidewalks shall be contained within the public right-of-way, or within a recorded easement, approved (in writing and prior to construction) by the City Engineer or designated representative, and such easement shall deed rights to the City for the location of the sidewalk and for the public pedestrian use of the sidewalk. All sidewalks, sidewalk amenities, and landscaping in the external right-of-way shall be maintained by the adjoining property owner unless otherwise specifically provided for by the City (BCC 22-81).

The general preference is to construct straight concrete sidewalks, a minimum of five feet wide, and a starting distance of one foot from the property line. Variations on construction may be allowed depending on the amount of right-of-way available and should be designed where practical to allow driveway parking space, preserve landscaping and to work around mature trees.


A complete exception of the requirement for sidewalks should be rare and allowed only where there are unusual factors. The exception must be approved by the City Engineer and the decision shall be documented with supporting data that states the basis for the decision. Unusual factors include:

  1. Situations where there are right of way constraints making the installation of sidewalks on both sides of the street impractical,
  2. Areas with severe topography or other natural constraints that will constrain proper implementation of a fronting sidewalk and street improvements,
  3. Situations where an applicant can show other factors or circumstances amounting to reasonably justifiable good cause to support such exception.

Approved by: Afshin Oskoui P.E., Director of Public Works                 Date: 7/01/2017