Help The Chicago Stumbler Catalogue Our Cracked Sidewalks

By Chris Bentley in News on Apr 21, 2013 6:00PM

2013_04_19_sidewalk.jpg
Lydia Slaker via The Chicago Stumbler
Our stubbed toes and rolled ankles are glad that The Chicago Stumbler exists. The folks at the Red Line Project are working to compile a map of the city’s worst sections of sidewalk, cataloging the photo evidence in a Tumblr (stumblr?) and posting it with contact information for the appropriate Alderperson.

Mike Reilley, a DePaul journalism instructor, was walking back to his condo one day over spring break. He stepped into a sidewalk divot on Sheridan Road near the Red Line stop and stumbled upon a project for his online journalism class.

“I read a lot about pothole problems in the city, but very little about sidewalks,” he said. Inspired by a blog from the Voice of San Diego, he set up his own Tumblr and drafted an assignment for his class. Lindsey Murphy, a student of Reilley’s, built this map for extra credit:

Reilley said the ultimate goal of the site is to effect change. He has been in contact with SeeClickFix and Access Living, but has yet to hear from the Department of Transportation.

“This is a major public safety issue,” he said. “We saw from the storms last week that the sinkholes on the streets are a problem. But what about the sidewalks?”

The project shares a subject with the city's Adopt-A-Sidewalk program, which is meant to coordinate snow shoveling. Count it, then, among the effort to improve that open data initiative if the crowd-sourced project increases stewardship over the city’s broken sidewalks.

If you have a sidewalk photograph to add, Tweet it to @redlineproject. If the project needs a theme song, may we suggest this one?