Sidewalks, Curbs, & Gutters
Improving the condition of the City’s existing sidewalk infrastructure is a priority for City Council and staff. As such, the City of Napa is making significant investments in repairing the existing sidewalk infrastructure throughout the City. For the fiscal year 22/23, the City has budgeted approximately $2.5 million for sidewalk repairs. Reports for the sidewalk repairs made in 2019 through 2020 and for 2021 are also available.
All sidewalk damage in the City’s right of way can be reported by using the City’s Service Center or by telephone. Reports received by phone will be entered into the Service Center system. Damage reports are then evaluated by City staff (see the Priority Location Program section below).
City crews place asphalt material at the broken/displaced sidewalk to reduce the abrupt edge that exists at most reported sites. This process is completed as a temporary measure to provide a quick improvement but is not intended to be a permanent repair.
The City addresses sidewalk repairs through the following avenues, which are explained in more detail in the drop-downs below:
1. Napa Neighborhood Streets and Sidewalks Program
2. Priority Location Program
3. Sidewalk Cost Share Program
4. Sidewalk Shaving Program
5. Capital Improvement Program Projects
The Napa Neighborhood Streets and Sidewalks Program resurfaces residential streets and repairs sidewalks and drainage systems. This program accomplishes work by grouping repairs in neighborhoods rather than various locations throughout the City. Working in a concentrated area allows for larger areas to be completed and improves worker efficiency by limiting the number of crew and equipment mobilizations.
In addition to sidewalks, the Neighborhood Sidewalk Program includes curb and gutter repairs and accessible curb ramp installation prior to street paving. Repairs to the curb and gutter improve stormwater drainage. Accessible ramps are required to be upgraded by law and serve our community members that experience reduced mobility.
The described work is primarily completed by City crews who are experienced in public infrastructure repair and maintenance and have extensive knowledge of the City infrastructure.
Our team has estimated sidewalk repair costs throughout the city will exceed $25 million, much more than the City’s annual budget for sidewalk repairs. To compound the problem, sidewalk damage is increasing over time due to age, growth of tree roots, poor soil conditions, and other impacts.
Because of the extent and cost of repairs needed, a ranking system is used to prioritize how available funds are spent. Sidewalk repairs reported that fall outside the area of that years’ Neighborhood Sidewalk Program are prioritized in the following ways:
1. Pedestrian Travel Area: considerations include major pedestrian travel areas and areas where large volumes of people travel or congregate. This includes commercial areas, churches, and routes to schools and parks.
2. Proximity to schools: sidewalk repair areas close to school are a priority
3. Height of Displacement: the height of the vertical displacement is considered and rated by severity.
4. Napa Neighborhood Streets and Sidewalk Program: the program provides a citywide schedule of sidewalk repairs in residential areas. Time until the evaluated location will be in the NNSSP area is considered
5. Tree Issues: with tree roots causing a substantial amount of the sidewalk damage, tree removal schedules by the Parks Department are also considered
Due to the very high number of locations with sidewalk damage, it could be years before the Napa Neighborhood Street and Sidewalk Program can address each location. To balance the high need for repairs with limited budget available, City Council enacted the Sidewalk Cost Share Program in 1990 to allow for more expedient repair of sidewalks throughout the City. This program allows property owners to replace street trees, sidewalk, curb, gutter, and driveway approaches within the City’s right of way and receive a partial reimbursement from the City. The program is funded yearly by the General Fund.
In 2020, City Council approved an update to the Sidewalk Cost Share Program to increase the City’s shared percentage on approved projects. Applicants are now eligible for reimbursement on costs up to 60% of the sidewalk replacement. On average, residents can expect reimbursement within 30 days after completion of the work.
Another way in which the City maximizes available funds to improve sidewalk safety is through the Sidewalk Shaving Program. The Public Works Department utilizes a specialty contractor to perform concrete shaving, an extremely cost-effective method to horizontally saw cut the sidewalk, removing abrupt edges of sidewalk surfaces. This method allows areas where the uplift/settling of the sidewalk displacement is less than 2-inches in height to be corrected without requiring total replacement of the sidewalk section. The shaved areas may require future repair if the source of the uplift/settling is not addressed, however, the work will provide years of benefit.
Larger vertical separations cannot be addressed through the sidewalk “shaving” method. In these cases, an asphalt patch, as described above, may be placed as a temporary way to improve sidewalk safety until a complete replacement can be performed.
While the budget available for this program does fluctuate based on overall sidewalk priorities, there is typically at least $60,000 budgeted annually for this program.
Sidewalk repairs are also accomplished through our street improvement projects within the City’s Capital Improvement Program (CIP) projects. The City adopts a 5-year CIP to plan and program resources necessary for the acquisition, design, and/or construction of significant City projects. The CIP projects repair or develop community infrastructure to meet community needs, provide facilities to support City operations, and support City Council priorities.
Street improvement projects included in the CIP primarily maintain and repair the busiest collectors and arterial streets within the City. Recent projects that included sidewalk repairs are improvements to Trower Avenue (multiple phases), Trancas Street, and Soscol Avenue.