One aspect of this project consisted of analyzing seven site suitability variables which were determined by the 12 person community sidewalk committee and also approved by city council members. These variables were heavily debated among council and committee members however a consensus was finally reached. The sidewalk variables were defined as follows; proximity to schools (1/4 & 1/2 mile buffer), proximity to transit bus stops (1/4 & 1/2 mile buffer), proximity to public facilities such as churches, parks, clinics and retail centers (1/4 & 1/2 mile buffer), street class (major arterial, minor arterial, collector), existing sidewalk gaps, housing density (>4 units & <2 units), and pedestrian/automotive accidents. The GIS analysis was performed on each individual sidewalk segment for each city parcel. An index ranking was then applied to sidewalk parcel segments depending on their spatial location to each of the seven variables described above.
The community sidewalk committee was in charge of developing the ranking system. Higher scores were given to sidewalk areas closer to schools, public facilities and transit stops, higher accident risk areas, locations with existing sidewalk gaps, areas adjacent to high density housing and streets classified as high use. For example, sidewalk segments within a 1/4 mile of a school were given a ranking of 20 while areas within a 1/2 mile were given a ranking of 15. Based on the seven criteria, the highest possible ranking was 100. Sidewalk construction is being analyzed by zone with there being 9 different city zones; zones 1 and 2 are referenced in the three buffer analysis maps below. These visual tools directly assisted in the sidewalk committee's analysis and subsequent recommendation on sidewalk construction priority around the city.