web analytics

2011 State of Cycling in Indianapolis Report

2011 has been a busy year in Indianapolis with road repairs, sidewalk fixes and creation and the addition of more cycling infrastructure. Generally, I feel like I should leave coverage of cycling in the city to the folks over at IndyCog. My recent observations however, have spurred me to action.

New York St Bike Lane at rush hour (image credit: Curt Ailes)

New York St Bike Lane at rush hour (image credit: Curt Ailes)

This year we have seen a lot more construction of the Cultural Trail. I have reported fiercely on this project and given a lot of heated criticism in the area of the Conrad. However, at the core, this project has expanded vastly this year and should be mostly completed by the time the Super Bowl occurs providing weather and utility companies cooperate.

Cultural Trail Construction on Washington St (image credit: Curt Ailes)

Cultural Trail Construction on Washington St (image credit: Curt Ailes)

Shelby Street between Fountain Square and Garfield Park has been subjected to what I believe to be the most ground breaking project for cycling in Indy. On most spec sheets this project is simply termed “bike lanes” but what transpired was a healthy stretch of 100% separated two way bike track. Beyond Garfield Park, the rest of the project is normal on-street bike lanes. This project too, has not been without heated criticism from me. Our efforts combined with a citizen who lives in the area managed to get a utility pole moved out of the sidewalk. The project stands tall on it’s core design though.

Shelby Street Bike Track nearing completion (image credit: Curt Ailes)

Shelby Street Bike Track nearing completion (image credit: Curt Ailes)

In general, many miles of on street bike lane have been created. Downtown, street crossings are being subjected to green-colored paint to indicate where cyclists switch lanes. On Michigan St and New York through the downtown area, former angled in parking spaces have been converted to reverse-angle. This gives drivers much more visibility of cyclists coming their way and reduces the chance that a collision will occur. On 46th street between Keystone and College Ave, a former 4 lane road was reduced to three lanes and bike lanes striped. This is a HUGE step forward. Not only were bike lanes added which have statistically been proven to improve safety through reduced automobile speeds, but an entire automobile travel lane was removed.

New York Street Bike Lane & Reverse Angle Parking (image credit: Curt Ailes)

New York Street Bike Lane & Reverse Angle Parking (image credit: Curt Ailes)

Michigan Road is the subject of a new side trail being constructed. Other side trail projects are set to break ground soon on 62nd street between Keystone & Allisonville Road as well as 71st street from Binford Blvd to Hague Road.

In the City Market downtown, a cycling hub will be opening this month that features bike parking, showers, lockers and a repair shop.

Central Indiana Bicycle Plan - Draft (image credit: bikeway plan)

Central Indiana Bicycle Plan - Draft (image credit: bikeway plan)

This year, the MPO has also released a long term fiscally constrained bike plan for the entire Central Indiana Region which recommends many new bike facilities as well as policy changes that could have a long lasting impact on Indianapolis and how it approaches cycling for commuting & recreational purposes.

Taken on their own, these projects seem like small pockets of success for cyclists. However, if you consider that all these projects have taken place THIS YEAR ALONE, that is huge and for that, I can give Indianapolis a lot of credit. What I didnt cover in-depth for this post, but are included in my bikeway plan analysis, is how to leverage this year’s success into the future through better design.

I feel that we still aren’t seeing enough fundamental design changes to improve safety and encourage more people to move around by bicycle. Improvements like double lines for on-street lanes, more buffered tracks like Shelby Street and more changes like 46th street where 4 lane auto streets were improved to 3 lanes and added bike lanes; those are REAL improvements. The bike plan doesn’t paint a lot of that picture, and those are things that would really improve Indy’s budding bicycle culture.

45 Responses to “ “2011 State of Cycling in Indianapolis Report”

  1. Bicycling experts will tell you that not all bike lanes are equal and that bike lanes that are poorly designed actually make bicycling less safe not more. This City has ignored that …. simply content to create bike lanes without any thought to the safety of those lanes. (A good example is running bike lanes right next to parked cars – a big no no.) Rarely are those bike lanes used. Serious bicycle commuters avoid them.

    Bike lanes don’t increase visibility, it reduces them by placing you next to the side of the road. Safety experts teach you to “ride wide” so you are seen. Bike lanes undercut that advice. Therefore it’s very important that if you have bike lanes, they are designed with safety in mind. In this City we just lay down some paint and pat ourselves on the back that we’ve done something good for bicyclists. We haven’t.

    Unless this City is going to get serious about designing SAFE bike lanes, we need to stop creating them.

  2. ahow628 says:

    I rode the Shelby bike track over Labor Day weekend. It was amazing. I felt very comfortable there compared to Michigan St on the eastside.
    .
    My biggest complaint about the on-street bike lanes is the junk in them. I rode from Dorman St to East St on Michigan St a couple of weeks ago and had to leave the bike lane three times due to broken glass it in. Even when I was in it, there was plenty of gravel to make me nervous. Street cleaning in the bike lanes is a must.

  3. Joe says:

    Bike lanes are not a safety barrier between cars and bikes, they simply provide a dedicated space. No bike lane will remove the need to be alert and aware of what is going on around you. When I ride these lanes, I enter with the understanding that cars may turn in front of me and people may exit a parked car. These conflicts recieve most of my focus, but when commuting like I do for miles in lane with hostile drivers, it is a HUGE relief to pull into a dedicated lane and take a deep breath. I applaud the initial efforts of the city to focus more towards cycling. We are still young at this and with time will work out some kinks. Please stop arguing that bike lanes are hurting cycling and are a bad investment. It just takes a different user than what the CT or shelby street might have. As long as we are a dedicated car culture, it will be difficult to truly realize the benefits of a bike and the attention needed for them.

    PS…..

    I am still pissed off about the Conrad. Look for me, I will be one of many continuing to ride my bike through there and not getting off. Hope that Lexus is parked enough out of the way……

    • Rhonda Lee says:

      I wholeheartedly agree with your disdain of the pessimism of the bike lanes held by the retrogrouches. In most cases, any bike lane is better than no bike lane at all. Not only do they increase the visibility of cyclists, they also encourage more beginners to take to the streets which increases drivers’ awareness of us all.

  4. John M says:

    Joe, I endorse your comments completely. Over the years, the closest that Paul has come to supporting his position is citing a study from the UK about bike lanes that are too narrow, much more narrow that the appropriately designed lanes we have here in Indy (I’m not necessarily endorsing the design of every block). I don’t labor under the delusion that the bike lane is a force field. Yes, getting doored is a risk, but there are risks associated with riding in traffic, too. During my commute from Irvington (apparently I’m not a “serious” commuter–perhaps I need some clown makeup), the most annoying part of the ride is jockeying for position in the one block “gap” in front of the Atheneum (which still hasn’t been modified to support the bike lane, despite the reverse angle parking modifications). Whether in a bike lane or out, it’s important to ride defensively, which means assuming that every driver is a half-blind moron who doesn’t care if he kills me.

    As for the big picture, I am very happy with the progress that Indy has made. My main concern is maintenance. For instance, the lanes outside of downtown, which have been in place for about three years, wear down just a few months after a new paint job. The bicycle icons and the arrows essentially have disappeared from the lanes between downtown and Irvington. Every once and a while, I get annoyed with someone for riding the wrong way, but honestly, if the city isn’t going to bother to repaint the arrows, how is someone who isn’t familiar with bike lanes supposed to know? I appreciate the mayor’s personal commitment to bicycling and bike infrastructure, but I’m not sure the priority has trickled down through his administration.

  5. Jamison says:

    I really get aggravated by people who use terms like “bicycling experts” and “serious commuters.” I am not really sure who these people think they are. Do you think that because you put a certain number of miles on your bike that you are considered more “serious” than others? You make the bicycling community sound very elitist…which should be the last thing it is. I live between NY and Michigan and I use the lanes every day for commuting to work, the grocery and the pub. I have never had an issue with dooring. Why? Because I pay attention. Also, if you don’t like the bike lanes, then go ahead and “ride large.” There is absolutely no law that forces people to ride in the lanes. Over the last 2 years I have seen a huge increase in the number of people using a bicycle as a means of transportation, especially in the bike lanes. What is really encouraging about this is that it has been mostly people dressed in casual clothes.

    I use my bicycle as a means of transportation because it is a healthy, sustainable and social way to get around; not to compare miles at the end of the year.

  6. Curt Ailes says:

    Well said Jamison.
    .
    For my part, I use bike lanes when they are there to use. However, I have absolutely no reservations about riding right along with traffic when there is NOT a lane to use. Considering how our culture has evolved over the last 50 years, if you chose to ride a bike on a street where cars dominate, it is pure stupidity to NOT pay extra special attention to your surroundings. Right or wrong, that is the hand wea re dealt with. Bike lanes are simply an extra means to alert drivers that there is potential cycling activity going on. Change doesn’t occur overnighit and while I advocate for more things like wider buffers between cyclists and cars and projects like the Shelby Street track, they aren’t going to happen overnight. Being vigilant is simply part of riding your bike on the street. Period.

  7. Chris Barnett says:

    I’ve been driving Michigan and New York between Irvington and Downtown pretty much daily since before the bike lanes were installed. I have noticed a significant increase in obvious bike commuting. (I have probably passed several of the posters here more than once.) I also see people riding to places in the neighborhood, such as the dollar and c-stores. There is the occasional kid riding to school, too.
    .
    I realize that anecdotes aren’t data, but there it is.

  8. Joe,

    You make my point. The recreational bicycling community is just happy someone is paying attention to them. They don’t want criticism because then we might not get any bike lanes. But again, poorly-designed bike lanes make cycling more dangerous. I don’t know how you can simply ignore the tremendous danger posed by “dooring” on bike lanes. There is nothing more dangerous than having bike lanes pass right by parked cars.

    It’s much more safe to ride in downtown Indianapolis’ wide traffic lanes where cyclists can manuever around obstacles and “ride wide” so they are seen by traffic. I have commuted by bike for about 10,000 miles in Indianapolis over the past few years so I know what I’m talking about. Talk to people who regularly commute by bike and ask them how they feel about Indy’s bike lanes. Almost all are very critical of their design and stay away from them. In fact, very few people use the existing bike lanes. I have ridden on a stretch of Michigan Streets bike lane downtown on my trip home and I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a rider on that lane.

    • Jamison says:

      Paul-

      “Talk to people who regularly commute by bike and ask them how they feel about Indy’s bike lanes.”

      I feel great about them. It sounds like Chris feels the same way.

      • Chris Barnett says:

        I wasn’t really clear: I commute on Michigan and New York in a car. But I support the lanes and the cyclists who use them, always yielding to through-bikes when I am crossing the lane to turn right.
        .
        I appreciate having dedicated bike lanes for my recreational riding.
        .
        Having separate lanes allows bicyclists to proceed at their own steady pace. IMO, the thing that pisses off drivers most is some cyclists’ practice of riding “narrow” along the curb, past stopped cars at a light, then riding “wide” after the light and holding up a line of cars. Cyclists should not feel alone: getting a verbal or non-verbal expletive salute would also happen if a car-driver slid past in a parking lane to cut in front of the line. Lane separation eliminates a lot of this unsafe and obnoxious practice.

        • Jamison says:

          Sorry for misrepresenting you, Chris.

        • Chris Barnett says:

          You didn’t misrepresent me! I support the Michigan/NY style of bike lane, and believe it is safer for cyclists (at least as it has been executed outside of the Mile Square; has been pointed out, inside the Mile Square there are some issues).
          .
          I support the commuters from the driver’s seat of my car by giving them their space. :)

    • John M says:

      This is just not true, Paul. I have bike commuted from Irvington to downtown on an occasional basis since 2007, which is pre-bike lane. I can’t approach 10,000 miles, but I’ve probably done 2000. This summer, I’ve done it about two days per week on average, and probably over 200 times since I started. I vastly prefer having dedicated space compared to the pre-bike lane arrangement. The only negative interactions I ever have with motorists are in the one block stretch in front of the Atheneum where the lane disappears for a block and I have to jockey for position with cars.

      Just today, within my narrow time frame, I saw two other commuters on the Michigan Street lane. It’s not Amsterdam, but the lanes are well-used, and I support Chris’s anecdotal observation. Compared to before the lanes were installed, I see many more bike commuters.

  9. Joe says:

    Paul,

    When I pass cars parked along the bike lane, I simply move out to the edge and pay close attention to any signs of people in a car. It is quite simple and I have yet to even encounter an incident. I realize the possibility is there, but do my best to avoid it. If it scares you so much, then just ride wide in these areas. Not all of the bike lane mileage has parked cars along it.

    I don’t consider bike lanes to be for recreational riders. The CT, MT, and to some degree the Bike track will work to fill that need. Bike lanes are for a dedicated space for what would otherwise be a person simply riding in traffic.

    As for your assertion that you are the voice for some “hardcore” commuting group, you are quite incorrect. I have spoken with people very much in favor of the bike lanes including those that use them and those that drive cars. I am very proud that you have been able to ride 10,000 miles over the past few years. If you would like to get into numbers, my odometer just ticked over 5,000 on my commuter bike for a span of 14 months. This doesn’t count the additional 1,500 or so on the road bike. I commute daily to work. I am provided the worst and best conditions the city has to offer. Your mileage isn’t a standard of commitment, but a location based checkpoint. Someone that lives on W. Michigan and works DT may not put much mileage on their bike, yet they can travel these bike lanes daily and see every situation possible. You are speaking to a crowd of people I would consider dedicated cycling commuters to the point that we are no longer cycling commuters, but simply commuters…….we just do it by bike.

  10. Jamison says:

    …and Joe

  11. Jugomugo says:

    As an avid and dedicated bicycle commuter I’d like to throw in my support for the bike lanes. Sometimes I ride the lanes, sometimes not. Depends on where I’m going. I like to mix up my routes. The most important thing is that bike lanes and bicycle infrastructure equals more ridership. As bicycle infrastructure has improved in Indianapolis so has the number of riders. Any time there’s more riders its a great thing. Keep up the good work!

  12. R.White says:

    I commute Warren Township to Perry Township twice a week. Not a bike lane in sight on my route. I deal with the cars and mostly stay on lesser traveled streets, yet my trip is no more miles than if I drove. The other days, I drive my wife downtown, then go on to the southside to work. We take Michigan and New York when we carpool and EVERY DAY we see the bike lanes in use, in both directions. I’ve ridden them on many rides, and am looking forward to the lanes on East and Shelby.

    As has been said, a bike lane, while not protected, is still more comfortable than being in the lane with a car. The signs and road markings bring some attention to them and I believe that helps. I ride in them when they are present, and yes we all have to dodge the debris, but we’d be dodging that near the white line anyhow.

    Bike lane next to parked cars? We drive our cars next to parked cars and deal with the potential of a door being opened too.

    I think the biggest problem is when we as cyclists are broken into groups – which is almost always done by someone who is a cyclist. My commute is no less worthy or serious because I only ride to work twice a week than someone who rides every day. A student on a 3rd hand beater no less worthy than a commuter on a $2k road bike.

    Joe said it best above….”simply commuters…….we just do it by bike.”

  13. We all want better bicycling infrastructure, and that’s what Curt’s post is about. We are getting better infrastructure every day, and some of it is top-notch. The Mich/NY bike lanes aren’t perfect, but I think the consensus is that it is a good compromise.
    My question is “how can we leverage what we have into something even better?” I think the best thing we can do at this point is apply what we have learned in some of the key projects and roll it out all over town.

  14. ahow628 says:

    Despite my complaints above about the debris in the bike lanes, I will agree with others here and say they I fully appreciate them and would never want to do without them. Car doors have never been an issue for me. Just stay aware.

  15. Jon says:

    On a side note, while driving into IUPUI, I noticed a significant increase in traffic on the newest portion of the cultural trail through campus. I’d say that’s pretty amazing considering a large portion isn’t even completed yet! (the intersection of Michigan and Blackford St did create a clusterf**k where all the construction is, however, so be careful) I can’t explain how excited I am to see this continued and steady increase in ridership both among commuters, hardcore (read: 10k mile), and leisure cyclists. The more people are on bikes, the more demand for better cycling infrastructure, and the more bikes lanes, cycle tracks, and bike hubs we can see in the near future.

  16. John Howard says:

    They began striping of Shelby St today! I trust they are going to put some sort of reflective material on the bike track bollards. Right now they are hard to see when driving southbound.

    • Jamison says:

      Jon-there will be covers on them. I believe the contractors are leaving it until last so if something happens to one of them before the end they don’t get blamed. There will also be green paint in all the areas where cars cross over the cycle-track.

  17. Paul says:

    I’ve noticed bicyclists quite a bit more in the last couple years, which I think is great.

    Has anyone ever ridden on the Alisonville bike lanes? I don’t go up there too often, but I’ve yet to see a cyclist there. While certainly better than biking there pre-bike lane, I can’t imagine the thinking that anyone other than maybe Lance Armstrong would feel safe riding a bike next to traffic with a 45MPH posted speed limit. Does anyone know why the speed limit wasn’t lowered when the bike lanes were created?

  18. TJ says:

    I was thinking that way with the bike lanes being installed along Madison Avenue. Regardless, Madison is best route for a single bicycle route from Greenwood toward downtown, but it is still a four (with a middle turning lane) lane road that has 40-mph traffic.

  19. Matt Stone says:

    I think Paul’s tone and use of words (such as “recreation cyclists” which sounds derogatory) is a poor choice, but I can say in my opinion, his point has some validity.

    There are some good bike lanes, but I think generally they’re wasted when they’re put downtown, which generally has wide streets with at least 2 lanes going each way, access to greenways (White River Greenway, Monon, and Cultural Trail), andoutside of AM and PM to-work from-work rush and special events, traffic isn’t too bad. You stay in one lane, let cars pass in the other lane.

    There are some absolutely dangerous bike lanes though. Heading north on Illinois starting at 16th street and ending just before you hit Fall Creek, for example. The far right hand lane has several signs marking it (or a portion of it?) as a “bike lane” but it is filled with uneven roads, pot holes, bumps and other things that aren’t exactly bicycle friendly. There’s some markings designating this lane in some parts of the road, but they range from “faded” to “non existent”. This is in contrast to the bike lane on Illinois just before 16th street, which I generally like even though I think the portions of it that all of a suddenly end are dumb, but I’ve never had a problem dealing with it. I’d also classify Michigan Street’s bike lane as one that had a debris problem, but after the repaving of Michigan, it seems like debris isn’t a problem so maybe they’ve kept up with street sweeping. This should be done more often on roads with bike lanes. A little neglect for cars won’t hurt as much as a little neglect in street sweeping for bikes.

    I think if we want to increase the number of people cycling, rather than the same number of people cycling more, we should look at improving the greenways, getting more of them, and using segregated lanes (such as the Shelby Street one). The catch with segregated lanes though is they need to go to places that people want to go to. Having them suddenly end before you hit your destination won’t help (not saying Shelby Street’s will do that, I haven’t reviewed that plan).

    • Jamison says:

      Matt- The Illinois (north of 16th) and Capitol bike lanes are not striped yet. There has just been a longer than expected delay between putting up the signage and striping the actual lanes.

    • Jamison says:

      Matt- I would also like to point out something from the first picture in this post. If you look at the traffic during rush hour on Michigan (which I ride daily) you will see that the bike lane is completely free open. There are few times that I smile more than riding past 2 blocks of stand still traffic in the bike lanes. If they were not here and I was to ride as traffic (or “ride large” as Paul O likes to say)….well I would be sitting in traffic just like all the other suckers.

  20. travis says:

    hi. I ride the bike lanes on Michigan to school, and on New York home from school (every day) I think they are great. Similar to driving, you HAVE to pay attention to what other people are doing. I don’t think there is such a thing as an unsafe bike lane, just unsafe drivers. There is no need for arguing here, everyone here loves to ride, whether it be for fun, to commute, or for exercise. The point is, we all want more people riding, right?

    • Don says:

      Travis nailed it.

      I commute daily-Irvington to downtown. Both before and after the bike lanes. I was a doubter at first. No longer. I like the fact that the lane tells drivers “this is not your space.”. That is a huge step toward safety and de-escalating the tensions over claims to space on our streets.

      Two more comments. Bicyclists need to create a culture of respect toward pedestrians. We are to them as they are to us. We need pedestrians to support us, so we need to treat them like the allies they should be. Riding on sidewalks during lunchtime in downtown is a good way to alienate pedestrians. Indianapolis bicyclists need to fight hard to avoid NYC’s culture of transportation. My experience of bicycling in Montreal recently is that they have figured out peaceful coexistence among cars, bikes and walkers. It was sweet.

      Next, the cycling community needs to start advocating strongly for bike lane maintenance. Unmaintained bike lanes will discourage use. Plus they are dangerous. I vehemently disagree with Ogden on the bike lane safety issue, but what is unsafe is a poorly maintained bike lane that forces the rider out into the traffic lane at regular intervals to avoid glass and other crap that is allowed to accumulate in the lanes. Riding in the lane is safe, so is riding wide in the street (or it should be), but having to make moves between the two creates unpredictability, and it is unpredictability that is the most prominent negative element for bike safety in the car-bike interface. As we get a more extensive (and aging) system of bikeways, the cycling community cannot stand mute out of gratitude for the great progress. Bike lane maintenance should be a major item on the pro-bike agenda.

    • Jamison says:

      You are wise beyond your years, Travis.

  21. Joe says:

    I’d like to toss in that they are adding the begginning stages of a bike lane on W 10th street from 465 to Lynhurst on both sides of the street. This will be one of the only bike dedicated connections to the West side. I don’t think many people will turn to cycling now that there is a .75 mile bike lane there, but it is good to see the start.

    • Jamison says:

      Joe- many times these small, and seemingly insignificant bike lane portions are due to resurfacing projects. Luckily there are people in DPW that look at most all road projects and when they can get bike lanes added when the road is torn up, it is much cheaper and feasible. While they seem strange at the time, they allow us to make connections in the future.

  22. John Howard says:

    I wish the people of Indy would knock it off with the ‘smash a bottle on the concrete’ thing. I cross a particular I-465 bridge many times each week and somebody tosses a half pint Jim Beam bottle out there about every 3 days (not exaggerating!), littering the bridge with shards of glass. It’s insane.

    And then the motorists are pissed and honk at me because I’m picking my way through, trying to avoid a flat tire.

    IDOT guys sweep up the bridge every couple of months but within a day or two, the glass is back.

  23. Kevin Whited says:

    As usual, Curt put up a great post about what’s happening in the Indianapolis world of cycling and as usual we don’t agree with Paul Ogden (& he in titled to his opinion). For years i’ve been looking for the mileage index that is used to determine who are “real” cyclists and who aren’t ;-). BTW, Mia Birk has an interesting article in the latest issu of Momentum magazine about this topic. I think Jamison and several of the other responders left great and well thought out responses. Remember, we’re all cyclists and we should quit splintering our group up into even smaller sub-groups. We all ride and we want to do so with out being harassed, run down, or end up with flats.
    Don makes a good point about maintenance but I would like to add one thing. It is up to all of us, not just the advocates to report debris or issues that occur in the bike lanes and trails. Notify the Mayor’s hotline or go to INDYCOG’s homepage and report the issue. We (INDYCOG) will bring up your concerns in the next Bicycle Advisory Committee. I too have noticed glass in a number of the bike lanes. I know it is hard to hit a 3 pointer from your moving car window to the roadside garbage can when your trashed.

    Sorry that INDYCOG has been so quite on this post but between our move into the new Indy BIke Hub and preparing for the 24 Hour Web Project we’ve been a bit busy. Btw, please stop by the new office and we’ll give you a tour of the facilities.

  24. molly says:

    It’s important to point out that bike lanes are a big way to get folks out on their bicycles who might normally not ride. I think most of us on this chain bike or are friendly with cyclists – remember that it’s these kinds of infrastructure improvements that will get more people out there who don’t cycle or do so only recreationally. So long as they are well-connected, they help. Folks who aren’t typically part of the “hard core” cyclist groups, like women and kids, as they feel safer on greenways (good point Matt) and bikeways, will begin to take more trips by bicycle to school, work, etc. This is part of how we get a culture shift going towards more a bicycle-friendly city and a more welcoming cycling community too. I think we should appreciate how far this auto city has come in such a short time. Change is happening, and no it’s not always perfect – but we’re learning together along the way. I assure you that many folks are trying to keep up with the need for educating a whole new class of cyclists. It’s not just how much or how often you cycle that makes a difference – how you cycle and who you can get to ride with you makes a huge impact too!

  25. dominic says:

    Hey, I’m writing from Minneapolis. I left Indianapolis in the late 1980′s and have not been back since the recent bike lane build up, but have enjoyed running on the Monon. The discussion all of you are having is not unique at this juncture of development. I’m glad to see bike riders in Indianapolis finally getting vocal. I remember in the early 1980′s when Hudnut was mayor and I was thrown our of the government building when I tried to bring a bike into the facility. As a young person growing up in Indy I knew I could not spend my life where cars dominated the scene and had to move on to Boston and Minneapolis. If I could wish one thing for the folks in Indy and that is for residents to make a difference they need to get out of their cars and ride bikes. I know from experience that riding anywhere in Indy a person has a grid system of side streets. Going from downtown to Broadripple should be a breeze, I mean how many one way streets are there? How many side streets? Isn’ there about 3,000 miles of streets? So when people are looking for excuses to ride or fear perceived mythical dangers I would tell them that they don’t know how good they have it. Indy is flat, has quite a few pocket neighborhoods and has interesting work, entertainment and school destinations that are within biking distance. The campaign for better infrastructure is great,but the next step is to bike ride as if the life of the city depends on it!

  26. ahow628 says:

    So yesterday I was off of work and decided to ride to Greenwood for the Apple Buzz release down at Oaken Barrel. I rode from my place in Fletcher Place down Shelby and Madison to old town Greenwood. Here are my thoughts on the ride.
    .
    From Prospect/Morris to Beecher (by Klaus’s meat market) the ride was amazing. Most of it is on the Shelby cycle track which is great. They are finishing up the green crossing markings which is nice for some extra protection against turning motorists.
    .
    From Beecher to Troy was very disappointing. I would actually call it a total failure. The entire length is sharrows (basically there is a bike picture with two arrows indicating to cars that they share the lane with bikes. The layout of the rode is four lanes with the outside two lanes allowing parking (restricted at rush hour times). The inner two lanes have the sharrows. On the entire 1.5 miles stretch, there were two cars parked southbound at 10am and 3 cars parked northbound around 12:30pm. I ended up riding in the parking lane and skirting the cars when necessary rather than ride in the sharrow lane. I would have much rather this stretch had been no parking, dedicated bike lanes, one car lane each direction plus a shared turn lane in the middle. This stretch is pretty much as good as no bike lanes whatsoever.
    .
    Troy to Madison was very good. Exactly as described in the preceding paragraph: dedicated bike lanes, one car lane each direction, a shared turning lane in the middle. I felt very comfortable.
    .
    Madison to Main St in Greenwood: I’ll withhold judgment because there has been no striping done yet. I’m concerned with the bike lanes on that road because of the speed of the traffic (speed limit 45, actual traffic 50-55). We’ll see.
    .
    Anyone know who to complain about the section from Beecher to Troy. That could easily be restriped and have the parking removed. No one would miss it. I’m going to contact Jeff Miller about it to start with.

  27. John Howard says:

    The Beecher/Troy section was hotly contested by the businesses in the area. Not much hope of changing it I am afraid. I ride it 5-6 times a week and really it’s fine as is anyway. The only parked vehicles seem to be around the bar across from the Garfield library and maybe a couple near the Speedway north of Raymond. That might change in the evening around the apartments at Bradbury once residents come home from work, I can’t say.

    I find it essentially wide open and traffic tends to (owing to the probability of parked cars?) stay out of the curb lane (other than a few turning into the Speedway or White Castle).

    I also rode the Madison Ave section into Greenwood last week and found it quite unnerving. And I don’t get intimidated much when riding.

    All in all, the trip from Southport to downtown has become a joy. I would have been happy with just the repaving and got way more than that so no complaints from me!

  28. JCW says:

    Take a look at what they did on 62nd/BR Avenue from Keystone W to the High School. Dear God help us…

    • Joe Smoker says:

      I still can’t understand what goes through the mind of DPW when they see the condition of the bike lane along Illinois from 16th to Fall Creek or so. There are huge holes, massive cracks and at least one major dip and this is a brand new striping plan. Also, the 10th street bike lane on the west side crosses a small creek where the bridge is filled with drainage grates on both sides. Each grate has a fair drop off and DPW has simply placed orange barrels over each one blocking the bike lane and moved on. I sent an email to sustainindy about this and…………………….

  29. John Howard says:

    After just one plow-worthy snowfall, the Madison Ave bick lane markings have really taken a beating. It’s almost as if the striping material wasn’t well-adhered. Lots and lots of places where small to medium sized chunks of the white markings have been scraped off — in some places a foot or more of the striping is gone.

    At this rate, the objectors may get their way and get the Madison Ave bike lanes removed by spring.

    On the other hand, the south end of Shelby St seems to have fared much better. I haven’t seen what it’s like around Fountain Square yet. Have the plows done anything to the cycle track area? I was concerned they might.

    • ahow628 says:

      Hey John,
      .
      They just restriped the Madison bike lanes (as you probably already saw). From what I heard, they put down the striping in October or November and it was too cold for the thermal striping to properly bond. First (and only?) snowfall scraped it all up.
      .
      The new ones were put down in warmer weather and should bond properly. They look good and I’ve used them once already to go from Fletcher Place to the Target at Southport and Emerson. They were really great and I actually didn’t feel like cars were crowding me much at all. My ride was from mid-morning to early-afternoon on a weekday, so traffic was basically at a minimum. Can’t opine on riding during rush hour or the weekend.

  30. John Howard says:

    Yep I saw that — They did it last Friday I think, because the lines were down when I rode aling there on Saturday. They ran an asphalt scraper along them just a few days before that and that’s probably also going to help by giving more adhesion and perhaps lowering them slightly beneath the road surface.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>