Neighbors want sidewalks where pedestrian was hit

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – A young man is fighting for his life, after he was hit while walking on the city’s northeast side.

Police say Ivan Hernandez was walking along North Mitthoeffer Road around 5:30 a.m. Thursday.

He was wearing dark clothing and the driver said he didn’t see him. Like many places in Marion County, there are no sidewalks in the area where he was hit.

“Most people do walk in the grass, as you can tell it’s bare in some areas,” said Casandra Sanders.

She has lived along Mitthoeffer Road for more than two decades. She’s lucky enough to have sidewalks in front of her home, but they eventually end.

“They walk to the end of my sidewalk and then they just kind of, they don’t want to cut through the yard so they go out in the street and go from there,” she said.

It was in the street where police say 21-year-old Ivan Hernandez was hit. They say he was walking southbound when the car came up over a hill behind him. Police say the driver couldn’t see the victim because it was too dark.

“It’s going to make me want to go out and start a petition because I don’t want anyone else hurt,” Sanders said.

That idea is exactly what the Department of Public Works hopes people do.

“We’ve seen throughout the past few years a couple incidents where sidewalks could have been a life changing matter,” said Lesley Gordon, DPW spokesperson. “So we do want to make sure that we can prioritize by that factor as well as in general just making our neighborhoods livable.”

Other neighborhoods in town have new sidewalks thanks to the original Rebuild Indy project from a few years ago. DPW surveys areas that need work, but it’s the people who walk paths everyday they hope to hear from.

“It’s really important that they make sure that they report those incidents in areas where improvements need to be made,” said Gordon.

Sanders believes the spot across from her home should be a priority. Not only because a man was hit, but because the little league fields nearby attract kids and maybe one day, her grandson.

“It discourages me because I’m afraid that somebody’s going to get hit just what happened today,” said Sanders.

Even though there was no sidewalk near where Hernandez was hit, a sidewalk does begin about 50 yards south of that spot.

The Rebuild Indy 2 initiative calls for more than $50 million worth of sidewalk repairs and additions. But the stretch of Mitthoeffer Road where Hernandez was hit is not on that list.

The initiative has been tabled by the council. A town hall meeting about the initiative is being held next Tuesday at Arlington Elementary School, located at 5814 South Arlington Avenue. It starts at 6 p.m.

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