In response to NUVO's cover story "Walking Indy," (11/11/15) NUVO received the following missive from one Jill Saligoe-Simmel, a Ph.D who happens to be a geographer.

Thanks for the article on Walking in Indy and bringing attention to the issue of pedestrian safety and a more walkable Indy.

Where I live we have a number of busy roads where lots of people walking share the road with lots of people driving. I’m saddened by the thought of who will be killed next.

I keep hearing from people at the City how there is so much need, and just not enough funding to go around. It is frustrating that there isn’t a better strategy in place to start filling the gaps based on real data of where people are and where sidewalks are not.

This has motivated me to look at the question from a data perspective (I am a geographer). I’ve created a map showing all of Indy’’s missing sidewalks (or multi-use paths) along every arterial road in the city. These are scored against where people are, where they are going (destinations), and some social need factors. It is just one way of looking at the problem, and I hope adds something meaningful to the conversation. 

We asked Ms. Saligoe-Simmel to provide us with an embeddable version of the map (the key follows):

2014 Existing Pedestrian Network

“2014 Pedestrian Network” includes existing sidewalks and multi-use paths. Source: City of Indianapolis GIS.

Missing Walkways

“Missing Walkways” are shown as lines on the map where there are gaps in the existing pedestrian network. These are mapped along primary and secondary arterial roads, and collector streets hosting major bus routes. The missing walkway segments are ranked and color-coded high (red) to low (yellow) based on their proximity to destinations combined with proximity to areas of highest population density and concentration of people who may have limited transportation options (Net Social Index). High ranking walkway segments (red and orange) should be considered high priority for new pedestrian development (and should be field verified). Source: Jill Saligoe-Simmel, Ph.D. (public domain).


“Destinations" are mapped using 5- or 10-minute walk radius’ around bus stops, public libraries, elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, and vocational schools, higher education campuses, future bus rapid transit (Red Line BRT), groceries, greenways and parks. Sources: City of Indianapolis GIS; IndianaMap; Indiana Department of Education; Indiana Department of Local Government Finance (DLGF) Property Tax Management System; The Polis Center.

Net Social Index

“Net Social Index” shows which parts of Indianapolis have the highest population density and concentration of people who may have limited transportation options based on social factors (age, income, race, language limited, and education). Sources: US Census American Community Survey 2013 5-year Estimates; 2010 Census; 2015 Federal Poverty Level; US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) EJ SCREEN; Jill Saligoe-Simmel, Ph.D. (Net Population Density).

Net Population Density

"Net Population Density" (layer used as input to the Net Social Index Concentration) shows population density (people per acre) for habitable areas of the city,. This provides a fine-grained view of the distribution of people within each block group. It excludes areas of non-habitable land use / land cover, such as lakes, rivers, parks, mineral land use, industrial land use, select commercial land use, select exempt property land use and hospitals. Sources: City of Indianapolis GIS; US Census 2010 Block Groups; Indiana Department of Local Government Finance (DLGF) Property Tax Management System.

— Jill Saligoe-Simmel


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