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Mothers want sidewalk added to make area where 3 teens were killed safer

Posted at 8:43 PM, May 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-26 20:43:46-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Community leaders, a minister and the mothers of the teenagers struck and killed over the weekend are all pushing for one thing — getting sidewalks where the tragedy took place on West Kessler Boulevard North Drive on the northwest side.

"I rode up and down Kessler for years and there is no sidewalk and no street lights," Donita Royal, with Mothers Against Violence Healing Ministry, said.

Royal not only empathizes with the mothers of the victims killed over the weekend, she can relate. Seven years ago she lost her son to gun violence.

"When you lose a child it is a pain that you never forget," Royal said.

Royal starrted Mothers Against Violence Healing Ministry after tragedy shook up her world and now she's standing with these moms as they search for healing. Their solution is bring in sidewalks and make the stretch of road safer.

"Of course I want closure and if it means getting these sidewalks out here on Kessler and better street lights," Royal said.

Kierra Brown, 15, Tyjiana Velez, 13, and David Evans, 14, were walking at 38th and Kessler when cars collided, lost control and struck them. All three teens were killed.

"This is part of the closure that they need to see this be done in honor of their children," Royal said.

RTV6 reached out to the city's Department of Public Works to find out if that's a possibility and they said there is no project to add sidewalks included in the 4-year capital program that was voted on and approved in 2019. City officials said they are willing to take another look at the recommendation.

Here is the full statement from DPW:

As we discussed, our Engineering division regularly receives, evaluates and maintains records of requests for new sidewalks all over Marion County, along thoroughfares — many with similar traffic patterns to Kessler Boulevard — as well as on lesser traveled neighborhood streets. For example, I see that — for the 3400 to 4000 addresses along Kessler Blvd NDR — four requests have been recorded (the oldest in 2008) for new sidewalks where there have been none. These needs are assessed, prioritized and then addressed as infrastructure projects in our capital program, as DPW is allocated appropriate funding. The prioritization process certainly takes into account proximity to transit and schools as well as vehicle traffic counts. Thus, the various factors of an assessment for sidewalks along this segment of Kessler would be taken into consideration similar to other requests for sidewalks along similar thoroughfares across Marion County.

Since 2008, the Department of Public Works has received four requests for sidewalks in the area where the tragedy happened.