City settles complaint over sidewalk fall

The City Council has approved a $35,000 settlement for a woman who alleged she fell due to an uneven sidewalk at 4713 Lyndale Ave. S.

The woman said she broke a shoulder bone and tore tissue in her knee due to a fall in March 2015, according to a city staff report.

Mike Kennedy, director of Public Works Transportation Maintenance and Repair, said sidewalk maintenance is typically 100 percent the responsibility of adjacent property owners. But the city can become liable if a claimant can demonstrate the city knew about a problem and didn’t take action to correct it, he said.

If staff learn about a sidewalk that needs to be fixed, workers can heave up a sidewalk panel and pour asphalt as a temporary repair.

“It’s a matter of balancing priorities,” Kennedy said. “We do take potential trips and falls seriously. We act on them in a reasonable amount of time. … It’s still the property owner’s responsibility to fix the sidewalk.”

He said sidewalks are inspected in a 12-15 year cycle, and if there is a problem, the city sends a notice to the property owner. Owners can fix the sidewalk themselves, or pay the city to fix it.

Kennedy said there is a temporary patch on the Lyndale Avenue sidewalk.

The claimant could not be reached for comment.