Sidewalks and Accessibility

The initiative sidewalks and accessibility is related to the MAP Initiative 4 (creating attractive and desirable places). This is because, improving the quality of infrastructure contributes for creating attractive and desirable places. Sidewalks and accessibility are two of the issues in improving infrastructure quality. They also help in improvising the connectivity. It relates specifically to Action 2: Develop and Implement a Sidewalk and Recreational Paths Plan as it explains prioritizing the sidewalk areas to improve the safety of the pedestrians and the vehicular traffic. This applies to TPA because of the inadequate sidewalks in the neighborhood.

How

This initiative was created during the first neighborhood meeting in the TPA at the Ross Center. The residents wanted to improve the sidewalk conditions and add them where ever they are missing.

sidewalk

Figure 1: A sketch visualizing the presence and absence of a sidewalk   Source: Sravani Mikkilineni

Why

This initiative is important for TPA because, the quality of the infrastructure impacts the safety of the pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists. Also, improving the sidewalk and accessibility makes the neighborhood more attractive, accessible and desirable. By creating a well-connected, high-quality and accessible infrastructure, the residents’ safety and quality of life can be greatly improved. Also, for the elderly, disabled, and children accessible sidewalks are imperative to their mobility.

Photo: Simran

Figure 2: Photo of the condition where there is no sidewalk in the neighborhood               Photo: Simran

What

An inventory of the existing sidewalk conditions has been completed and a priority map is made to show where the sidewalks are to be improved or missing. This priority map can be brought to the notice of the Muncie’s Department of public works to show the need of them. In the City of Muncie’s Department of Public Work’s website (city of muncie. com), there is a link named “submit issues” which links to a page called “report a concern” where specific issue can be reported. When “sidewalk repair” is clicked, a small information sheet is shown where your name and address is to be filled. In the same page, the issue can be listed along with the street name and the request. Upon sending the request a tracking number is received to follow-up on the request at your convenience.

Who

The neighborhood association could appoint a person be responsible for submitting the forms and tracking the requests.

Another option would be that each and every person should be responsible for their own area. With the help of the priority maps, initially one person living in each of the high priority areas could be responsible for the submission of the form, tracking the requests and getting the work done.

Where

The priority map was made based on the present conditions of the sidewalks. If the condition of the sidewalk is poor, it is considered under high priority. If the condition of the sidewalk is fair, it is considered under medium priority, and if the condition is good it is considered under low priority. The areas where the sidewalks are missing, are also highlighted so that decisions to create new sidewalks can be considered in relation to minimum road regulation.

sidewalks

Figure 3: A map based on the conditions of the sidewalk.       Source: Sravani Mikkilineni

Case studies

Woodside Boulevard complete streets

Residents of the Woodside Boulevard Neighborhood located in Hailey, Idaho, had felt that their street was not safe due to lack of sidewalks which left pedestrians exposed to fast-moving traffic and had sought the city’s help. However, it wasn’t until a neighborhood pet was hit by oncoming traffic while being walked that they were able to open up a dialog for street and sidewalk improvement with the city. The city of Hailey did a cost analysis of the “Complete Streets” approach: adding sidewalks and bike lanes and lowering speed limits. While upfront costs were high, the city saw the long-term benefits. This program was initiated by residents but was carried out by the city of Hailey. Funds came from TIGER II grant from the USDOT, $800,000 in city capital improvement funds, and $110,000 from in-kind labor. Since then the city has worked with community members on the complete streets approach to design and has received additional grants from the US Environmental Protection Agency Community Climate Challenge program.

Source: Federal Highway administration, 2012.”FHWA’S Livable Communities Case Study Series”. Fhwa.Dot.Gov.

woodside boulevard.png

Figure 4: Wood side Boulevard under construction       Source: fhwa.dot.gov

Neighborhood action on streets

Neighbors in Portland recognized that there was a significant need for improved sidewalks, lighting, and street conditions after a speeding car killed a man in the neighborhood. After speaking with city officials, citizens realized that the city was not going to move quickly enough and perhaps wasn’t going to meet their needs at all. Neighborhood residents took matters into their own hands and worked to raise neighborhood awareness about the current conditions, and raised funds and began making improvements on their own. They painted brightly colored crosswalks and commissioned street art to increase the visual impact at intersections. The neighborhood worked together to solve the problems themselves. Their motivation and willingness to do the work themselves eventually got the city’s attention and led to the city contributing as well.

Source: Young, Chris. 2012. “How To Improve Pedestrian Safety In Your Neighborhood”.Neighborhood Notes.

Contact information

Department of Public Works
5760 West Kilgore Avenue
Muncie, IN 47304
Phone: (765) 747-4847
Contact: Mr. Duke Campbell, Superintendent
Email:  cityeng@cityofmuncie.com
http://www.cityofmuncie.com/department-public-works-muncie.htm