Streets, Curbs, and Sidewalks

Improving the quality and appearance of the streets, curbs, and sidewalks within Industry is a high priority for neighborhood residents. This initiative is important for the safety of residents as well as for people passing through. The quality of infrastructure impacts the safety of pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists. It also affects visitors’ impressions of the neighborhood. Making improvements to the sidewalks, curbs and streets makes the neighborhood more attractive, safe and desirable. This initiative directly relates to the MAP Initiative 4: Creating Attractive and Desirable Places, Action 2: Develop and Implement a Sidewalk and Recreational Paths Plan, which shows that this initiative is not only important to the goals of the neighborhood but is also in line with the goals of Muncie.

Why this is important

Residents identified streets, curbs, and sidewalks as an area of need during the first neighborhood association meeting and in their responses to the neighborhood survey. Safe and structurally sound streets, curbs and sidewalks are important to resident safety and welfare, and to the image of the neighborhood. By creating well-connected, high quality, ADA-accessible infrastructure resident safety and quality of life is greatly improved. This initiative is especially important to neighborhood residents and neighbors passing through from surrounding areas whose primary modes of transportation are walking and bicycling. For others who are elderly, disabled, or young children, having access to ADA-accessible streets and sidewalks are imperative to their mobility. Because of these safety issues, the streets, curbs and sidewalks initiative is considered a high priority.

What this will involve

An inventory of the existing street, sidewalk, and curb conditions have been completed and two priority maps, one for streets and one for sidewalks and curbs, have been created to show where improvements are needed. These maps are a tool to help identify areas of need/priority. They can also be used to show the City of Muncie that these things are a priority. Residents of Industry and/or members of the neighborhood associations can contact the City of Muncie’s Department of Public Works, Community Development, Delaware County GIS, and the Delaware County Metropolitan Planning Agency to discuss these areas of concern and to inquire about how to begin the process for making necessary improvements. Transportation improvements are funded by the Indiana Department of Transportation and are on yearly funding cycles. As a result, projects are often planned 1 to 5 years out. Residents should be aware that this may be a lengthy and ongoing process and that patience is key. Maintaining dedication to improving neighborhood infrastructure is important to seeing an outcome and will be well worth the wait.

Contact information for funding/assistance sources

Department of Community Development
300 N. High St. City Hall
Muncie, IN 47305-1639
Phone: (765) 747-4825
Fax:   (765) 747-4898
Contact: Ms. Terry Whitt Bailey, Director
Email: tbailey@cityofmuncie.com

Suitability analysis

The Sidewalk Priority Map shows the condition of existing sidewalks within the Industry neighborhood and breaks the condition of the sidewalks into three categories: good, fair and poor condition. The results of this map are displayed on the Sidewalk and Curbs Priority Map. Sidewalk conditions that are good are indicated by green, meaning the sidewalks are in place and free of major cracks, potholes and debris. These sidewalks would allow a person to travel across them in a wheelchair or stroller. Yellow sidewalk conditions indicate that the sidewalks exist but may be broken, showing age or overgrown by grass and weeds. These sidewalks may need attention but are not a high priority for replacement. Red indicates sidewalks are sidewalks that have significant breaks, cracks, tree root growth or serious structural concerns. Red sidewalks are a high priority and are considered unsafe for pedestrian traffic. These are a high priority for repair and replacement.

The Streets Priority Map shows the existing streets within the Industry neighborhood and their conditions. This map provides a breakdown of the existing conditions of the streets, rated by good, fair and poor condition. This map is called “Roadway Priority.” Green streets indicate streets that are in good condition, therefore not in need of repair. Yellow streets indicate that the street is in fair condition, meaning it may have some potholes but does not pose a traffic hazard. These streets will be in need of repair in the future. Red streets indicate that the street is in poor condition; the road may have a significant number of potholes and cracks. These streets pose a danger to all modes of transportation and are considered a high priority.

Source: Amber Jones

Source: Amber Jones

Case Studies

Case Study One: City of Chicago, Illinois

The City of Chicago, IL, recently implemented a shared cost sidewalk program where the City and property owners share the cost of sidewalk repair and replacement. In the case of Chicago, property owners pay $4 per square-foot for sidewalk replacement and the City paid the other half ($4 per sq/ft). In addition, senior citizens on fixed incomes, are offered an extra discount. This particular initiative was started by the city of Chicago; however, there may be applications for the City of Muncie.

Figure 3. Chicago Sidewalk Improvements

Source: City of Chicago

Case Study Two: City of San Diego, California

The City of San Diego, CA, offers a 50/50 cost-sharing program where the City pays half the cost of repairing residents’ sidewalks. In most cases, residents are responsible for the repair of sidewalks and this program helps to offset costs. For the year of 2015 they have gone a step further and have enhanced their cost share program to 75/25. This program was started by the City’s Street Division and is financed through the California Department of Transportation.

Source: San Diego, California

Case Study Three: Woodside Boulevard Complete Streets

Residents of the Woodside Boulevard Neighborhood located in Hailey, Idaho had felt that their street was not safe for some time 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 in 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.

hailey

Figure 4. Hailey, Idaho Sidewalk Improvements

Source: Hailey, Idaho

Case Study Four: Neighborhood Action and Streets, Portland, Oregon

Neighbors in a Portland, OR, neighborhood 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 wasn’t 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 making improvements as well.

Figure 5. Portland, Oregon Community Initiative

Source: Portland, Oregon’s Neighborhood Notes

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