Safe Routes Scoop

The Ins and Outs of
Sidewalks in New Jersey

been changes for commercial properties, there has been no basic change in common law granting immunity to abutting residential property owners. As a result, the owner or occupant of a residential property is not responsible for sidewalk defects caused by the elements or by wear and tear. However, residential property owners can be held liable if the poor sidewalk conditions can be traced to negligent maintenance/dangerous conditions or construction on the property owner’s part. Similarly, residential property owners are not liable for damages if they fail to clear ice or snow from the sidewalks in front of their property, even if the municipality has a snow removal ordinance. However, the homeowner may be held liable if their snow or ice removal efforts were found to have aggravated the hazardous conditions.


More Information on Sidewalks

While we have presented an introduction to sidewalk issues, there is still a lot to be learned about how sidewalks are funded, constructed, and maintained in New Jersey. To help complete the picture, the Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center (VTC) has interviewed planners and engineers from across the state to provide you with one source for common sidewalk questions. The VTC report Constructing, Maintaining, and Financing Sidewalks in New Jersey consists of a comprehensive overview of sidewalk regulations and contextual explanations behind existing sidewalk rules. It is meant to provide guidance for sidewalk projects, as well as

recommendations to policymakers to clarify procedures and accountability for sidewalk construction and maintenance. If you are interested in undertaking a sidewalk project, or simply would like to know more information about sidewalks in New Jersey, Constructing, Maintaining, and Financing Sidewalks in New Jersey offers a valuable resource. It can be downloaded from the clearinghouse on the NJ Bicycle and pedestrian resource center website at
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