Sidewalks Rules & Regulations of New York City
The following information pertains to the sidewalk rules and regulations specifically of the 5 boroughs of New York City. If you have been injuried in a sidewalk accident a result of a New Yok sidewalk regulation violation, fill out this simple form for a free case evaluation today.
- Sidewalk Maintenance
- Sidewalk Use
- Sidewalk Cafes
- Sidewalk Obstruction
- Street Obstruction
- Snow and Ice Removal
The sidewalk in front of any building or lot must be maintained by the property owner. Any defects must be promptly repaired. If the repair covers more than 25 square feet of the sidewalk, the owner or contractor must obtain a Sidewalk Replacement Permit from the Department of Transportation.
All businesses intending to use a portion of the sidewalk for daily operation, or who wish to attach to or place upon the sidewalk any items such as canopies, bike racks, benches, planters, or who wish to use a basement vault, must obtain a renewable permit or a revocable consent from the Department of Transportation. The placement of any item on the sidewalk must not interfere with the use of the sidewalk by pedestrians. A minimum of 8 feet or half the sidewalk, whichever is greater, must be kept clear between the item and any obstacle on the curbside, such as hydrants and traffic control devices. No business may prevent parking or paint the curb, sidewalk, or roadway to advertise the business.
A restaurant operating a sidewalk cafe on public property, e.g., outside the property line, is currently required to obtain a license from the Department of Consumer Affairs and a revocable consent from the Department of Transportation. (This process is under revision.) A sidewalk cafe is defined as that portion of a restaurant which is located on a public sidewalk, either enclosed or unenclosed. An enclosed sidewalk cafe is one which is constructed predominantly of lightweight materials such as glass, slow-burning plastic or lightweight metal. An unenclosed sidewalk cafe is a space on the sidewalk that contains easily removable tables and chairs.
If construction will be required, permits to perform the work must be obtained from the Department of Buildings. In addition, the application may need to be reviewed by the Art Commission or the Landmarks Preservation Commission. The application is also forwarded to the appropriate Community Board for review. You can obtain information about your local Community Board from the Mayor's Community Assistance Unit. Anyone wishing to initiate the licensing process should contact the Department of Consumer Affairs, preferably six months prior to the sidewalk cafe season. SIDEWALK SWEEPING Businesses must, within one hour after opening, sweep clean their sidewalks and 18 inches from the curb into the street. All sweepings must be picked up and disposed of in a suitable refuse container. Sidewalks and gutters must be kept clean at all times. For information on enforcement of sweeping requirements see the section entitled "Avoiding Violations."
Businesses are responsible for keeping the adjacent section of sidewalk free from all obstructions such as refuse, refuse containers, and A-frame signs to allow the free flow of pedestrian traffic.
It is illegal for anyone to place or leave any box, barrel, or other moveable property (regardless of ownership) upon any public street or public place. This law applies to construction or demolition containers, which may only be placed on the street with a permit from the Department of Transportation. In addition, restaurants may not place obstructions such as stanchions or cones in the street to prevent parking or to provide ingress/egress for customers.
Snow and Ice Removal
Snow and/or ice must be removed from the sidewalk within four hours after the snow has stopped falling, or by 11 AM if snow has stopped falling after 9 PM the previous evening. If the snow or ice becomes so frozen that it cannot be removed, the sidewalk may be strewn with ashes, sand, sawdust or similar suitable material within the same time limits. The sidewalk must be thoroughly cleared as soon as weather permits.