Who maintains the sidewalks in New York City? There are 12,750 miles of sidewalk in the City of New York, and the Department of Transportation (DOT) is technically responsible for all of them. However, in reality, DOT only repairs or replaces one percent of sidewalks each year and relies on property owners to take care of the rest.
The city conducts inspections to determine whether sidewalks are safe and notifies property owners of needed repairs. In some parts of the city, notably parts of Brooklyn and Queens, the city may conduct the repairs itself in order to have the problem fixed in a timely way. Otherwise, the property owner is responsible for repairing the sidewalk.
The laws regarding liability for pedestrian sidewalk accidents continue to change. In 1974, a new law removed liability from the city for accidents and injuries unless the city had received reasonable written notice of a defect. In 2003, the law was further changed to make property owners entirely responsible for sidewalks abutting their property, with two notable exceptions: property owners of single family homes and those with three or fewer units, and property owned by the City of New York. The law no longer requires that written notice be given, except for property owned by the city.