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MPC
Project Details

Title:Where the Sidewalk Ends: Equity Disparities with Respect to Municipal Maintenance Policy
Principal Investigators:Wesley Marshall and Bruce Janson
University:University of Colorado Denver
Status:Active
Year:2018
Project #:MPC-579
 

Abstract

Sidewalks are a fundamental component of urban transportation networks. Yet unlike the rest of the right-of-way, many cities place the financial onus for the maintenance and replacement of sidewalks on the adjacent property owner. The resulting sidewalks can often be inconsistent and the means to fix them inefficient. Moreover, there may be disparities in the provision and quality of sidewalk infrastructure based on race, ethnicity, and/or income.

This issue, unfortunately, remains an under-researched topic, primarily due to a lack of comprehensive sidewalk data. However, some cities are now beginning to collect planimetric spatial data from high resolution aerial imagery. This research project will conduct a comprehensive spatial analysis of the sidewalk infrastructure of two cities that take on the responsibility of sidewalks, and two that put that responsibility onto the abutting property owners.

We will first ask whether variation in sidewalk maintenance policy impacts how sidewalks are being supplied and maintained in cities as well as if there are differences in the provision and condition of sidewalks based on income, race, or ethnicity in neighborhoods across these cities. If we find disparities, we will then seek to see if these are related to differences in pedestrian safety outcomes. This work will account for sidewalk supply, quality, state of disrepair, urban design, street design, and connectivity as well as potentially confounding factors such as land use. Beyond the direct policy implications of this research, this work will also speaks to environmental justice as well as ADA accessibility.

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