GIS Assists in Locating Potential New Sidewalk Locations

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Sidewalks are an important part of any neighborhood, especially one
that is heavily urbanized. Residents need to have a safe option of
getting around locally without always relying on something that has four
wheels. At a recent Village Board meeting, the issue of some local
streets not having sidewalks was brought to the village’s attention. A
study was then requested to locate areas of the village that were
missing sidewalks, and GIS was the tool selected in order to locate
these sidewalk gaps.

For this study, only village owned streets were used. Carriage walks
were considered existing sidewalks and treated as such. Using a variety
of spatial queries based on existing GIS data, locations were found that
contained sidewalk gaps on these local streets. The data was then
broken down into three possible categories; The street could have
sidewalks on both sides, a sidewalk on one side, or no sidewalks on
either side. There also was a pattern of sidewalks existing in front of
one house but not the next. Intermittent sidewalks seemed to be common
throughout much of the community. Finally, the total number of linear
feet of sidewalk gaps was calculated and a map was created for use at
the next Committee of the Whole meeting. By using GIS, tedious and time
consuming work by village staff of going block by block looking for
sidewalk gaps and then calculating the total number of linear feet of
those gaps was avoided.