Bring Back The Sidewalk

The Bring Back the Sidewalk initiative relates to the MAP Initiative 4, “Creating Attractive and Desirable Places,” because it focuses on the importance of sidewalk quality and condition. It relates specifically to Action 2, “Develop and Implement a Sidewalk and Recreational Paths Plan.” After prioritizing sidewalk areas, these area can be compared to the Delaware-Muncie Metropolitan Plan Commission Transportation Plan so that the neighborhood may see the role RNC plays in the bigger picture.

Why this is important

Whether it is from neighborhood residents or daily commuters, there is a general agreement regarding the conditions of the sidewalks. In certain areas, trees and harsh weather conditions have lifted the concrete. Not only that, but the sidewalk network itself is inconsistent and sometimes nonexistent, making pedestrian travel difficult, especially for the disabled.


Figure 1: Harsh weather conditions and frequent traffic can cause sidewalks to crumble, crack, and upheave over time. These cracks allow weeds to grow throughout, aggravating the problem as depicted above. Image: Brandon Burgoa

Residents and students who attended the RNCNA meeting voted this initiative at a high priority, making it one of the first projects that the neighborhood should address.

What this will involve

Repairing and maintaining the existing sidewalk network remains a top priority, but in some more extreme cases, reconstruction may be necessary. The other main goal behind this initiative is to designate and repair sidewalks that are not accessible or equipped with curb ramps. Assuring ADA compliance throughout the entire neighborhood’s sidewalk network is necessary to the safety and attractiveness of the neighborhood.

ADA Requirements:

  • Sidewalks and curb ramps should have a 2 percent maximum grade along its width for drainage purposes.
  • The minimum width of sidewalks and curb ramps should be 48 inches.
  • The slope of the ramp should a maximum be one inch per foot.
  • Curb ramps must have 4-foot by 4-foot level landing clear space for easier mobility and safety.

The biggest resource the neighborhood may leverage for sidewalk repair and construction is the Muncie Department of Public Works, whose contact information is below. The second best lies within the community itself: the residents.  Keeping an eye out for sidewalks that need attention, or areas that may be problematic and reporting them to RNCNA can be an enormous asset to the community. This initiative involves a comprehensive approach of identifying areas of improvement, designating priorities, and seeking out funding for the project.

Contact information for Funding/Assistance sources

Department of Public Works
5790 W. Kilgore Ave.
Muncie, IN 47304
Contact: Duke Campbell, Superintendent
Phone: (765) 747-4847

Suitability analysis

By prioritizing sidewalks in an overview map, the neighborhood can identify which sidewalks they find most important to repair. The map also depicts where there are sidewalk curb ramps, another aspect of a strong sidewalk network.

PLAN302 Sidewalk Condition

A priority map of the sidewalk conditions throughout Riverside-Normal City. Image: Brandon Burgoa

The Sidewalk Condition priority map makes it easy to distinguish which sidewalks need repair throughout the neighborhood. Sidewalks highlighted in red have a high priority, meaning they should be one of the first sections addressed when renovating sidewalks. These high priority sidewalks are dangerous and can pose a threat to the safety of pedestrians. Medium priority sidewalks are not as urgent or dangerous as high priority sidewalks and are highlighted in yellow. The sidewalks highlighted in green are of low priority are generally seen as in good condition.

This maps also shows the location of curb ramps at intersections throughout the neighborhood. This is a very important aspect of maintaining a safe and accessible sidewalk network.

Summary of relevant case studies

Case Study One: Bloomington Sidewalk Master Plan

Bloomington, Illinois, adopted a Sidewalk Master Plan in 2014 that explains the steps and processes required for sidewalk improvement. Education and awareness are important factors of these initiatives; this includes explaining sidewalk repair methods, how to identify problems, and how renovation will be able to move forward. Bloomington’s focus on their descriptive methods regarding sidewalk condition is very thorough and promises consistency. Figure 2 below shows Bloomington’s efforts in prioritizing their repairs and renovations of curb ramps. By having a similar system, RNC can identify and highlight areas of improvement as they relate to importance and traffic/use.



Figure 2: This is how Bloomington, Illinois has prioritized the need for widespread sidewalk repair. Using a method that is similar but more specifically tailored toward RNC could be very useful to the neighborhood. Source

Case Study Two: Oklahoma City Sidewalk Master Plan

By using map data collected by the city, Oklahoma City has created a process for collecting, ranking, and prioritizing sidewalks. This is very similar to what the students of Ball State have done: collecting and mapping data then prioritizing areas of improvement. From rankings and prioritization they focused on cost estimates, including funding methods and resources, and a budget as well. Keeping a well-organized archive of progress and data allows for easier examination and complete understanding from stakeholders and residents. Figure 3, depicted below, shows how Oklahoma City has decided to rank and prioritize their sidewalk repair initiatives. By using a version of these tables that have been tailored specifically for the neighborhood, RNC will be able to proactively label and repair its sidewalk infrastructure.



Figure 3: Unlike Bloomington, Illinois Oklahoma City has assigned values to certain characteristics of their sidewalks to rank and compare different sections. Source

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