Thrive’s Community Development team paired with the City of Sullivan this year to update the city’s ADA Sidewalk Plan. This plan, which complies with the Title VI Americans with Disabilities Act, intends to ensure that Sullivan sidewalks and facilities are safe for disabled individuals and walkable. Legally, local government must update their ADA Plan every 3 to 5 years to maintain sidewalk and facility safety.
To inventory Sullivan’s sidewalks, a few members of the Community Development Team –– made up of Karen Schneider, Kristine Krueger, Julie Hart, Jordan Cunningham, and Tyler Hudson –– walked a collective fifteen miles across Sullivan. As they did so, the team used their phones to map and notate every sidewalk in the city and rated each sidewalk based on its accessibility and safety. If a sidewalk was obstructed, overgrown, or unlevel, that information was also tracked. The Community Development Team also visited different city facility buildings, including the Sullivan Civic Center and the Sullivan Pool, to check for accessibility issues.
“It’s exciting because we learned so much about what accessibility means,” Julie Hart shared. “You can have a sidewalk, but if it’s not walkable in that it has cracked concrete, or they’re pushed up because of tree roots . . . then that’s not accessible.”
Once each of these details were tracked, Thrive’s GIS Analyst Tyler Hudson consolidated the information into an interactive map. Using ArcGIS, a geographic mapping software, Hudson created an interactive map of the city of Sullivan’s sidewalks. He used a color-coding system to highlight which sidewalks need updates or repairs and logged important details and photos of every sidewalk.
Hudson explained the purpose of the interactive map, stating, “Out of it came an inventory of the sidewalks, that can visually show where sidewalks need to be improved using color combinations such as red and green . . . From a bird’s eye view, looking at that inventory, you can look at places that need [repair].” The city of Sullivan, which had originally been using paper maps to visualize their sidewalks, now has access to this digital tool to make sidewalk planning easier.
“This allows them to not only look and see what sidewalks need to be fixed, but also exactly what the problem is and how to address it,” Hudson shared.
Once this information was tracked, Thrive presented a Title VI plan to Sullivan’s ADA Team. Hart spoke on the importance of the city of Sullivan’s input in this process, sharing, “The important thing is that it’s a plan for the city of Sullivan. It’s not a Thrive plan. So we can put something together, but if it doesn’t work for the city, then it’s not a very good plan.” After some time tweaking and adjusting Sullivan’s new ADA plan, it was ready to be released to the public.
Hart noted that she was impressed by the amount of input that Sullivan residents offered, “People replied with their suggestions on what they would like to see . . . and we were able to incorporate those into the plan. I was really excited when there were responses!”
As Sullivan begins the process of updating and repairing its sidewalk systems, Thrive looks forward to supporting the community’s growth.