Everyday residents of the City of Park Ridge access other parts of
their neighborhood and town via the use of a sidewalk. Although many
citizens of the city do not pay much attention to these sidewalks, they
are quick to notice when there is impedance such as a large crack or a
bump up in the concrete. Moreover, these impedances can be labeled as
trip hazards and can cause injury to residents. For this reason alone it
is very important for the city to track all of these trip hazards and
do their best to remove them from the sidewalk system.
Every year the Engineering Department for the city surveys all public
sidewalks in town in order to verify which sidewalks need replacement.
From there they document each sidewalk square that is to be replaced and
assign that square to the address that it is in front of for billing
purposes. Although this method was effective for the inventory part of
the project it proved cumbersome when the project was turned over to the
contractor who was to remove and replace each specific square. This is
where the Engineering Department used the resources of the Geographic
Information System (GIS) Department to help in the mapping and data
inventory of these squares.
The ideas of using GIS in conjunction with the Sidewalk Inventory
Program has been in progress for the past three years with each year
proving more efficient in terms of collection and mapping processes. The
newest collection method starts with the Engineering Technician driving
the entire city and marking out all of the squares that are to be
replaced on a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. Once these locations are
marked down the Engineering Technician then comes in house and uses GIS’
ArcView application to select all Address PIN Points for each sidewalk
square to be replaced and then copies it into a new GIS data layer. The
reason the Address PIN Point layer is used is because it already
incorporates the Parcel Identification Number (PIN) that can be later
used to gather resident owner information for invoice and billing
purposes, much more efficient than searching for all resident owner
information and PIN numbers manually.
Since the new GIS data layer is created it easily allows for
additions or removal of sidewalk squares if residents are unhappy with
what was selected for them by the initial survey. Once the layer is
finalized, it is then used to create a series of maps indicating where
these sidewalk replacement squares are located as well as how many
squares are to be replaced at that specific address. These maps are then
printed off and handed out to the contractors doing the sidewalk
replacements so that they are aware of where to go within the city and
how many squares to replace at each location (see Image 1). From there,
the contractors only need to look for the marks on the sidewalk square
that were painted on by the Engineering Technician at the beginning of
the inventory program, much more simple than looking through a
spreadsheet for a particular address.
Since the inception of using GIS for the Sidewalk Inventory Program,
the Engineering Technician has continually voiced how GIS has not only
helped him but has also helped the Public Works Administrative Assistant
with invoicing and billing as well as helping the contractors with a
better streamlined work flow when operating in a foreign municipality.
Overall, it is always great to see how multiple departments can come
together with the use of GIS in order to make a once difficult task
easier and more efficient.