The City of Birmingham, Alabama, which has 147 square miles of area, wanted to enhance its transportation system through the development of a Sidewalks Master Plan. GMC’s planning and GIS departments worked with the City’s planning department to create a comprehensive sidewalk plan that establishes priorities for repair and construction.
The plan emphasizes sidewalks as an essential component of the overall transportation system and provides City leaders with strong justifications for improving sidewalks along with other street improvements or as standalone transportation projects.
Our team gathered the data for the master plan by conducting a comprehensive sidewalk assessment utilizing simple tools like a smart level and measuring tape alongside a Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) receiver in a backpack and an iPad to document and photograph the existing conditions of 1,010.2 miles of sidewalks with sub-foot accuracy. Documented conditions included details such as slope and width, cracked or buckling surfaces, displaced joints, or obstructive vegetation that affect proper access. The team mapped all destinations important for walking accessibility, including schools, parks, libraries, transit stops/routes, commercial districts, grocery stores, community centers, etc. The team also conducted public engagement workshops to ask citizens where sidewalk construction and improvement is needed in their communities. The final product provides a clear rating system with short, mid, and long term priorities for sidewalk repairs projects throughout the entire City.