I work on map layers for Indianapolis, and recently I’ve been updating the sidewalk layer. Something that really jumps out is a donut that’s about 6-8 miles out from the center of the city which has very few sidewalks. Aaron Renn of the Urbanophile might call this the new donut. There are some noted exceptions here, especially within the excluded cities of Beech Grove and Lawrence. But, the city went through a ~2 decade period of purposely not building new sidewalks. Much of that development lies within this donut:
This area of the city was largely developed between the 1950’s and the 1980’s.Â Sidewalks were seen as an unnecessary expense, or even more cynically, as a way of inviting less-motorized outsiders into the neighborhoods.
Even if the city built sidewalks in all of these underserved neighborhoods, there still would be major connectivity issues. This Urban Indy post from a few years ago highlights the largest sidewalk misses in Indianapolis. Some have been filled in, but many have not. Building a decent transit network in these areas is also a tough haul. In a city with some challenges to tackle, serving this area with sidewalks and transit might prove to be one of the more perplexing to solve. This also means that my neighbors in Meridian-Kessler with the “fix the sidewalks on Central Avenue” signs (aka some of the best sidewalks in the city) might just have to wait a loooong time. At least we have sidewalks in our area, folks.