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Guest Post – Broad Ripple Bike Lane Background, by Thomas Healy

The Broad Ripple bike lanes are the most contentious project that Urban Indy has ever covered.  The article posted by Curt Ailes turned out to be the most commented on the site, but it was getting so heated that I decided to shut down the discussion for the time.  We have reached out to one of the major players in the process, Tom Healy, member of the Broad Ripple Village Association Board, in the hopes of adding some additional background information about how the bike lanes came in to existence.   I hope this article can shed a bit of light on the situation (the original article with images can be viewed here via pdf).

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Aspirations for bike lanes on Broad Ripple Avenue date back to the mid-1980s when the Mayor’s Bicycle Task Force worked with the City to establish the Tour of the Parks Bike Route a marked bike route that connected all of the major city parks. (Full disclosure, at that time I was the volunteer chair of that group which was created in the early 1970s by Mayor Richard Lugar as a way to bring members of the bicycling community together with City staff to improve bicycle infrastructure.) Broad Ripple Ave. was the signed segment in the Village.

1985

After a series of public meetings and surveys, the City adopted the Broad Ripple Village Plan. It articulated goals that have been dominant themes of subsequent Village planning efforts: improve conditions for bikes and pedestrians and strengthen the connection between Broad Ripple Park and the Village.

2008

Since Earth Day, 2008, the Broad Ripple VIllage Association (BRVA) has partnered with Green Broad Ripple and the Historic Midtown Neighborhood Initiative (originally known as HARMONI, now, simply, Midtown, Inc.) to work with Department of Metropolitan Development planners to upgrade the 1997 Village Master Plan Update.  At the inaugural session of what has come to be called Envision Broad Ripple (EBR), my presentation alerted the public to major community projects including Central Canal upgrades to create a more park-like atmosphere and the planned Broad Ripple Avenue repaving project.  At the time I noted community aspirations for more bike/pedestrian infrastructure and
urged advocacy for bike/ped amenities.

The Goldsmith administration solicited and received approval for 80% Federal funding of the repaving project with the stipulation that funds were to be used within a decade. Planning was underway when the Peterson administration assumed management of City affairs but it never allocated the necessary 20% local matching funds.  When the Ballard Administration took office, it inherited the project and faced a deadline to either use Federal funds in 2009 or lose them – something that would not serve the long-term interests of the City.

Broad Ripple and its allies saw this deadline as an opportunity to upgrade the project to include Complete Streets elements to make it safe and comfortable for pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders of all ages and abilities.As part of our research into urban planning and transportation planning best practices, we learned of the Federal Highway Administration’s strong support for including bike/pedestrian infrastructure in all street improvement projects

http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/bikeped/BP-Guid.htm

October 2008:

Mayor Ballard announces plans to create more than 200 miles of bike lanes in Marion County by 2023. Green Broad Ripple launches a petition drive to encourage the City to consider incorporating bike lanes in the project.  Within a month 855 signatures (both online & on paper) were compiled and sent to Ballard.  http://www.thepetitionsite.com/2/bike-lanes-for-broad-rippleavenue-indianapolis-in

December 2008:

BRVA business Division monthly meeting focuses on the BR Ave. project and members advocate for bike/pedestrian improvements to Department of Public Works staff in attendance. EBR 7 devotes an entire 2.5 hour public session to brainstorming bike/pedestrian enhancements to make the Avenue a Complete Street.  A group of urban planning firms donate renderings to stimulate the conversation.An image by Storrow Kinsella appears on the front page of the Broad Ripple Gazette’s Vol 5. No 26 issue (view at http://www.broadripplegazette.com/frontpages.htm).

At a meeting with key City officials and at the urging of Congressman André Carson’s office, the Broad Ripple Village team proposes adding BR Ave. to the SustainIndy map of proposed bike lanes.  By Christmas, City officials agree to consider
enhancements as long as they would not jeopardize Federal funds.

January 2009:

At the dawn of the biggest financial crisis our country has faced since the Great Depression, Broad Ripple allies launch Fortune Favors the BRAVE to generate funds to upgrade the Avenue.  At the inaugural meeting on a frigid January night we receive $20K in pledges.

February 2009:

Indy Star headline:“It’s too late to add to project – Groups want bike lanes, median in Broad Ripple.” City officials
alert us that if an enhanced plan isn’t approved soon, we would not have access to Federal and State funds for another 20 years, at least.  We feel it essential to act now.

April 2009:

DPW holds a pre-construction public Open House at the BR Park Family Center.An overflow crowd views the City’s plans as well as BRVA’s drawings of proposed upgrades for the Village’s commercial core and hears about plans for bike lanes on the Avenue between the Monon Trail & Keystone. By the end of the month, SustainIndy adds BR Avenue to its list of potential bike lanes in 0-2 years.

June 2009:

“It’s a New Day in Broad Ripple Village” press conference held at Fire Station

32. Councilor Vaughn announces that the City will keep Station 32 open; KIB director David Forsell highlights upcoming Lilly Day of Service projects in Broad Ripple (and all of Midtown); Green Broad Ripple co-founder Brenda Rising-Moore describes commercial recycling initiatives in the Village and BRVA president Elizabeth Marshall announces a Central Indiana Community Foundation challenge grant for the Fortune Favors the BRAVE fund-raising effort. She also reads a letter from the City’s Office of Sustainability announcing plans to install 5’ bike lanes with pavement markings and signage from the Monon Trail east to Keystone Avenue to provide connectivity to multiple cultural, educational, and business districts.  All major print and broadcast media outlets attend.
Community leaders & BRV allies meet with DPW, MPO, INDOT & FHWA.  Crosswalks, bike racks, planters and other amenities can be added to the main Commercial corridor between College and Winthrop via a change order without jeopardizing Federal Funds.  The City stipulates that in the event Federal funds remain available, the community may implement upgrades but only if the neighborhood raises the 20% matching funds.  IndyGo agrees to place a bench and bike rack on BR Ave. at the bus stop in front of Ossip at no charge.

July – November 2009:

The community continues fund-raising. nails down costs for adding decorative crosswalks, bike parking, benches and
sharrows and finalizes agreements with the City. We learn that adding bike lane striping at this phase of the project
would necessitate a complete review by relevant state and federal agencies and therefore is unlikely.

However, the City agrees to temporarily stripe the Avenue east of the Monon with paint to meet Federal and State
requirements to close the project.  The City agrees to restripe for bike lanes at some future date.

Spring 2010:

A series of public IndyConnect meetings give BRVA and its allies more opportunities to advocate for bike/pedestrian/transit infrastructure and funding.

By supporting a commuter rail stop at 62nd and Allisonville Road, the community enhances the value of a long-awaited
Midtown circulator through Glendale, Broad Ripple, 56th & Illinois, Butler University and The Indianapolis Museum of Art.

Village advocates also support the proposed separated bike/pedestrian trail on the south side of 62nd Street between Allisonville Road and Keystone that would improve connectivity to the BR Ave. path.

Fall 2010:

Repaving project completed. SustainIndy press release lauds the upgrades to improve bicycle and pedestrian safety: decorative crosswalks at intersections, bike racks and sharrows.

These additions are made possible by funds raised by the Fortune Favors the BRAVE initiative. Broad Ripple businesses, residents and supporters contribute more than $50,000 to the effort. A $10,000 challenge grant from the Central Indiana Community Foundation catalyzes fund-raising.

Additionally, the City receives a donation of a $25,000 decorative crosswalk at the intersection of the Monon Trail and BR Avenue from Globe Asphalt and StreetPrint.

December 2010 -July 2011:

BRVA undertakes an outreach effort informing
neighbors of four initiatives:

• Form-based Code proposal as a result of Envision Broad Ripple process
• Long-standing interest in Central Canal enhancements into a more park-like area
• Proposed mixed-use parking structure
• Bike lanes on BRAVE

Presentations were made to the boards of adjacent neighborhoods: Arden, Butler-Tarkington, Forest Hills, Meridian Hills Town Council, Meridian Kessler, Meridian Street Foundation, Oxbow, MIDTOWN, Inc.,Warfleigh.

“Green” advocacy groups and service organizations also received presentations: Broad Ripple Bar and Restaurant Association, Green Broad Ripple, Hoosier Rails-to-Trails Council, IndyCog and Northside Optimists.

BRVA has letters of support on file from all groups (save BTNA) plus additional businesses and residents.

April 2011:

Mayor Ballard is briefed on Envision Broad Ripple progress and encouraged to continue investing City resources in Broad Ripple Village.

November 2011:

City makes good on its promise to restripe BR Ave. for bike lanes.

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Urban Indy Addendum:  The Indy Star has posted a nice balanced article with this reassuring sentence  “But the backups should ease in coming weeks. The city is installing new sensors in the pavement at cross streets. Once activated, stoplight timing will improve.”  I’m hopeful that these sensors can help mitigate some of the long backups at the cross streets.

Finally, Mr Healy wishes to post these additional comments:

1) I understand motorists are inconvenienced. I truly believe that once the elements are fully in place and once they get acclimated to the changes, it’ll be fine.

2) I do wish we had been able to implement the lanes immediately after the repaving project was completed since people were already used to lane restrictions and the bike lanes wouldn’t have seemed so abrupt. I also understand why we didn’t as outlined in the paper.
3) I also wish DPW had used the Mayor’s Neighborhood Liasion & media outlets to inform the public in advance about the project but I also understand it occurred during hectic election time and few would have paid attention or if they did, they would have dismissed it as a political ploy.
4) I also understand the desire to accomplish this before the weather turned completely awful and that the awful weather in fact prevented all elements from being completed in a prompt fashion, leading to some confusion about lane striping and adding to inconvenience and frustration.
5) I hope DPW & the City will assure the public that appropriate signage will be installed, striping will be completed and that AASHTO/FHWA regs for bike lane engineering have been followed.

48 Responses to “ “Guest Post – Broad Ripple Bike Lane Background, by Thomas Healy”

  1. sjudge says:

    My initial reaction was that adding the bike lanes in November, when there would be little bike traffic, was strange, but it does allow some time for motorists to adjust before spring and the return of bike traffic. Anything that fosters connectivity within our neighborhoods by something other than automobiles is something to applaud, especially as meter rates continue to climb.

  2. Curt Ailes says:

    It’s nice to see the amount of planning and outreach that went into this. Thanks for contributing to the conversation Tom! Keeping the lines of communication open between residents and civic leaders is important and the evidence is clear to me that plenty of outreach was done in regards to the bike lanes.
    .
    Residents may have missed this which is unfortunate. It happens. However, it is inconceivable that a business would not have known this was coming. If they did and had a problem, then there was plenty of warning ahead of time to plan for it.

  3. Matt Stone says:

    I haven’t had the opportunity to ride the lanes, but as a motorist I found going westbound (going toward Broad Ripple) I found it not to be too bad just driving. I’d wager these might be some of the better planned lanes in the city, especially compared to how poorly done the Illinois street lane has been done.

    Not sure if someone learned something and improved the process, or if it was a fluke. Here’s hoping it was the former.

  4. Joe Smoker says:

    I certainly appreciate the added infrastructure, but certainly the strong push from Tom for a better Broad Ripple Village. Your research into complete plannign principles is astonishing and far above so many other groups in this city. I wish the best to BR and I hope in the coming months, this project realizes its true benefits in accomodating all modes.

  5. Talk to the people in Broad Ripple and 90% are furious about the lanes. The reduction of the traffic lanes backs up traffic for much of the day. I’m in Broad Ripple frequently The next bicyclist I see on the BR bike lanes will be the first. Yet it is not hard to find lines of traffic, idling and spewing pollution into the air, backed up. Another poorly-planned project without input from the community affected.

    • Joe says:

      Paul,

      I respect your opinion and all opinions are welcome here, but please do not elect yourself as representative of the cycling community. I garuntee I commute by bike as often as you. I make use of bike lanes and regular travel lanes. I greatly appreciate the efforts put forth by the city. It will be a learning curve, but the end result will be a stronger, more connected community. If you are truly concerned about pollution, the car would not be your foremost concern for free flow travel.

  6. Crownhilldigger says:

    As an affected resident I have posted the experiences we have had w/increased traffic on the narrow side streets that now include vehicular accidents never before witnessed to this level…it’s insane. The traffic back ups and increased fuel used by idling cars-not to mention the now impossible task of crossing BR Ave unless at a light!!
    I walk alot in the village and live here and applaud the interest in bike lanes but the result is not attractive. While visiting a BR business on SAT I overheard a customer tell the proprieter that the travel experience was similar to driving in Castleton and could effect his future business as he didn’t need the “hassle” getting to the store.
    I never in my life thought I would hear Castleton in reference to travling in BR.

  7. JP says:

    This topic will again have the same opponents and proponents as the last one. Tom did a great job putting this project into a larger context. However, there will continue to be disagreement on this topic since we don’t have all the factual information (i.e. traffic data before and after, etc.).
    *
    Some BR residents (like Crownhilldigger) think the traffic is insane, and some like me have a totally opposite view. But this is all based on our personal experience (I use BR avenue pretty much every day). I’ve seen no traffic, light traffic, heavy traffic and back ups. Heavy traffic is mostly during certain hours. I don’t mind them, but obviously many people do. My question, however, is should we build our cities and neighborhoods to only accommodate rush hour traffic? Should we expand the street as we add more dense housing (e.g. 150 new apts in works on 61st & monon)? Should we not add any density because we cannot expand the street?
    *
    I go back to Tom’s comments, and if we give it more time, everything will be just fine. And I truly believe that residents in that immediate area will see their property values go up because of this project. I view this as a long-term project, first you make streets more appealing, more walkable, bike-friendly. Second phase has to be improved mass transit. But this doesn’t happen overnight.

    • Good points JP. Designing streets for peak traffic times is only a few degrees of difference from designing parking lots for peak shopping times, IMO. I’m sure that people will disagree with me on that.

      I appreciate the complaints from the neighborhood. I do think there was sufficient public outreach (witness the BRVA getting the ok from all of the effected neighborhood associations), but there could have been more.

      I remember before the lanes changed that it was very difficult (no to mention dangerous) to cross Broad Ripple Avenue unless at a light. In addition, without a center turn lane, people were stopping the flow traffic to turn left, resulting in more dangerous weaves from the left lane to the right.

      Finally, you are certainly right about transit. Be ambitious and triple the amount of bus riders along this route, and the backups will lessen.

  8. crownhilldigger says:

    JP,
    Respectfully my input is as a resident and homeowner living in the village for many years. My opinion is based on the change I have witnessed in my neighborhood and near my home. I don’t necessarily feel this is a bad idea but it was clearly a blindside for the residents. Yes Tom has given us better “big picture” info but the results remain the same.

    As for walkablility (I have previously stated I walk ALOT) I have found that this change now forces me to cross only at lights especially during the weekend. Prior I could cross at nearly any cross street.

    As a homeowner of many years I will hope that your opinion of increased home value comes true.
    Respectfully,
    Crownhilldigger

  9. OldGeezerBR says:

    We live in the vicinity of 60th and Rosslyn (one block north of Kessler; one block west of Primrose, where there’s a stoplight). First, as background, my wife and I use our bikes to/from Broad Ripple and Meridian Kessler when the weather is decent, but would never feel comfortable riding in the bike lanes on BR Avenue; drivers just don’t care enough, and it’s best to stick to the side streets like most BR residents. On that note, why didn’t they just put the bike lanes on 61st Street, one block south of BR Avenue, like they do in NYC and other major cities’ “just off the main drag” bike lane detours? 61st Street runs parallel to BR Avenue all the way east to Burlington, is connected to the Monon Trail, and could connect directly to the west side of Glendale with little effort (e.g. behind the apartments that abut the LA Fitness, MCL, etc.)

    Second, I must agree with the posters who have noticed significant confusion and frustration among drivers, in addition to the increased traffic back-ups. There’s been significant back-up at peak hours, particularly in the evening between 5-7 PM. The real effect on us is that our little side street, Rosslyn, is just one block west of Primrose, where the stoplight and entrance to BR Park is. We’ve noticed that, as eastbound traffic on BR avenue backs up at peak hours, frustrated drivers are turning south on Rosslyn and RACING down to Kessler (although it turns out that a left onto Kessler at rush hour is not a good option). On many nights, I can watch cars race down Rosslyn and cruise through (or not stop at all) at our stop sign at 60th and Rosslyn on the way to Kessler. As Rosslyn does not have sidewalks south of 61st Street (nor does 60th Street at all), I have to walk my dog in the street. I’ve been almost hit twice by rushed drivers. If the bike lanes had been placed on 61st street, there wouldn’t be back-ups on BR Avenue. However, if the City is going to keep the new bike lanes on a major thoroughfare (that we or our friends would never use), then it is incumbent that the City install sidewalks on the side streets where traffic has increased exponentially. What really doesn’t make sense is that the City put sidewalks (for the first time ever) down Indiananola – one block west of us – and on a couple other side streets just east of us, just last year. Rosslyn now has more traffic than any of those side streets, and we direly need sidewalks.

    Finally, I’ve been a resident of BR Village for years, and we (as well as ALL of the neighbors on our block) were completely blindsided by this project until we saw the striping… on election day of all things. As I’ve complained to bike commuters, I generally get ballyhooed — which is really demeaning, as we ride our bikes just about every day, just not for commuting. We are not “bike unfriendly” in the least, although we’ve been cast that way.

    Not happy,
    OldGeezerBR

    • Thanks for the reply. You are certainly dead-on with regards to the need for sidewalks in the neighborhood. I believe the drivers speeding down side streets is indeed an unfortunate unintended consequence of this project. I’m not sure what can be done there aside from an increased police presence. The roads themselves are simply not built to handle high speeds.

  10. JCW says:

    OK, since the tread was shut down shortly after my post, I’ll try again to pose these relevant questions/comments and see if I can get some answers. Who cares where I live, what I do, if I ride a bike or not, I pay taxes and that gives me the right to chime in.

    The specific project of 62nd street is a noble idea, with a terrible execution. I absolutely believe in alternative transportation, reducing congestion, etc. But this project is so far from the right thing to do, it becomes the wrong thing. It’s really kind of sad. Regardless of “road diet”, “share the road”, “”traffic studies” etc you have missed the point I made earlier – no one uses these lanes. No one will. So, lets “build it and they will come, let’s slow down the traffic and push them into using the lanes”, whatever you want to do to force the issue, no body is using the bike lanes. Had you constructed a separate “multi-modal pathway” like they are planning for the Allisonville to Keystone portion of this project, you would not have had one single complaint, other than those whose yards would have been affected along one side of the street. So my question is – why didn’t you look at that option? As I stated before, all you have done is turn people OFF about bike lanes! These are risky, unsafe, and no freaking way anyone with children rides with them along those lanes as they are presently. So if I want to ride along that segment with kids, as I imagine many people would consider, you have alienated that possibility to many families along that route. I would imagine that there are many more people around here that ride for pleasure than for actual commuter reasons.

    As far as Mr. Healy saying (and documenting) that there were many efforts to reach out to the community, it evidently did not work. You could have simply put up signs (funny how they found the resources to put the Rebuild Indy signs up) that said “We are planning a bike lane on each side of this road. We would like your comments. visit http://www.brbikelanes.org for information”. You would have effectively reached every user of that road 100 times over the last year. But maybe its because you would not have wanted the answer that you likely would have gotten. Which is the resounding answer you have now.

    Lastly, when you take away something from the masses for the benefit of a few, what sort of reaction did you think you were going to get?! I look forward to the answers ANYONE would like to give me on this. – JCW

    • You are welcome to post here, but this is not a government-run website. It’s a privately-owned website, and I am free to moderate it as I choose. Letting people spout off with incendiary words such as “nazi” and “enemies” is not a place I want this website to head.

      That being said, I do think you make some fair points. I’m open to a multi-use path on 62nd Street.

      The yard sign idea is reasonable, and perhaps they should have looked in to that. Regardless, it is disheartening that so many people seem oblivious of public meetings on issues in their neighborhoods. I know that people are busy and don’t have a lot of time, but still…neighborhood meetings are important. They talk about projects that can affect people’s daily life. It is the citizens’ best chance to have a say in what goes on in the community.

      In addition, I do believe it was unfortunate that these lanes were constructed in November instead of March. The timing and outreach could have been done better, and I think even the people in charge of the project admit that. But, when it comes to public works, things get done when they can get done, and so they had to go ahead with them at the time.

      On your last point, nobody took away anyone’s ability to drive down Broad Ripple Avenue. A major goal of this website is to make all streets as safe for all users as possible. That means walkers, bicyclists, transit riders, and yes, drivers. (In that fashion, I support roundabouts where applicable) If people can not get behind that mission, then perhaps this is not the best website for them.

    • Curt Ailes says:

      Im not going to address all of your points JCW, but I will say this.
      .
      My wife and I regularly ride the 52nd bike lanes (east of the Monon) which I will say frankly, is more wide open than Broad Ripple Ave. If you want to experience traffic at fast clips, ride on that street. Homes and businesses are set far back creating a more highway-eque feeling therefore, people speed down it.
      .
      That said, we spent all summer regularly riding along it to reach the Monon Trail so we could get to the Fresh Market, farmers market, Broad Ripple Village for ice cream, etc. Never once have we had any issues with traffic and in fact, people usually move over for us. We have a tow behind bike trailer that we put our infant son in.
      .
      Perhaps it is this experience that guides my personal opinions and ultimate acceptance of what is happening on 62nd/Broad Ripple Ave.

    • Joe Smoker says:

      JCW,

      I don’t live in BR nor do I regularly go there, perhaps once a month, but I am also a tax payer. I commute to work, the store, visit friends, go out to eat and support local businesses, I just happen to do such things on bike. With these lanes on BR Avenue, I am now more likely to visit businesses further east than the main village like Boogie Burger’s new location, which I visited often when it was just off the Monon, but have not been back since the move. These lanes did not sacrifice the mobility of most for the benefit of few. They provided opportunity for all. You say no one uses them now and never will. This is a very exaggerated approach. It is true that winter lowers the biking population numbers, but there will still be people out there. As with any new project, it takes some time to build a user group. New highways aren’t usually opened at capacity, but as time goes on and things develop and people’s habits and routines change, traffic builds.

      I think everybody would prefer seperated paths for cyclists and pedestrians, but the financing isn’t there. The budget for alternative transportation projects and pedestrian infrastructure is so small it is a joke. There is no set funding source for these additions and bike lanes are added when a street is repaved because the striping must be redone. Indy is still very young when it comes to bike infrastructure and the city is trying to make the biggest and farthest reaching impact it can.

      I can’t stress enough that nothing was actually taken away, but a shift in thinking must occur. This route should not be meant as an expressway. Cars are obviously still permitted, just at a scale more reasonable to the area.

      Outreach is a difficult thing. It is never enough when it impacts something people have been used to for so long. I know form experience that people in general will chose to not attend meetings, but will insist on complaining after the fact. Over time, I believe people will adjust to these changes. Some may drive other routes, people will slow down and some may chose to drive a little less and take a bike instead. If in the future it appears this isn’t the case, I am sure there will be a comprehensive look as to whether or not this change was a benefit. It is way too early to judge now.

  11. crownhilldigger says:

    Just returning from a shopping trip to the village and in visiting w/a couple of my favorite merchants both commented w/o prompting the decline in business they have witnessed as a part of the traffic pattern change. One long time, destination type store has had customers tell them in as many words “I am not fighting the mess” to get here. In an environment where all sales are needed this is/was disturbing to hear. As this business does not serve food/alcohol and is typically open from 10 am to 9 pm w/an average sale of $40 it has resulted in a significant reduction in sales income-so much so that the proprietor told me he would be reducing his staff after the holidays for the 1st time in his business history.
    Above and beyond any inconvienence to the neighborhood or traveler this has me more unsettled than any thing I have heard or seen.

    Here’s to hoping the traffic pattern change and re-learning by travelers becomes more fluid and less of a percieved inconvienence.
    Cheers!

  12. JCW says:

    Ok, thanks for all of the replies. Nobody has really answered why the mistakes/missteps that occurred were allowed and accepted. The financing wasn’t there for a separated pathway? Why was it there for 62nd between Rural and Allisonville? Yard signs? I never alluded to yard signs, but rather larger signs such as those with the “Rebuild Indy” self congratulating signs. Again, why not get the input from the users of the roadway, not just the relative few you sought out for acceptance of the project. And even if they did sign away on the project, are they now pleased with the outcome? Traffic was backed up again several times. And again, I have not seen one biker on that section of the road the entire week, with more than 20 trips on the roadway. And entering the street from a side street is impossible, unless you are at a traffic light. And I just don’t buy into this “build it and they will come” attitude….look at Allisonville Road! 2 + years, and I never see bikers on those bike lanes. I guess I have my perspective, and you guys have yours. It’s all been said here, and I am not going to change your minds by pointing out the obvious.

    I will give you this: the BR lanes are not near as ridiculous as the Illinois/Capitol lanes. What a disaster they are! So I guess all the rhetoric isn’t going to change anything, and unless something tragic happens, you guys will get your way. I will check back in a year and see if anyone started using those bike lanes.

    In the end, my tagline for this project is one I will stick with – noble idea, failed execution.

    • Curt Ailes says:

      Its pretty cold out, so it takes some real troopers to be out cycling in this weather. I would say that the real test of these lanes will come in the spring when it begins warming up. Until then, its just a bunch of us fighting on the internet which ya know… nobody wins. 😉
      .
      As far as funding for the Keystone to Allisonville trail, I think it is mostly federal funds paying for it. They had to purchase a lot of land in people’s front yards to get that lane done. I posted about it over a year ago. There was a public meeting at the Glendale library recently, and the plans had not changed much. The Borad Ripple lanes were locally funded and as you can imagine, striping lines is a lot cheaper than buying up front yards.
      .
      Thanks for the input though. Its nice to have all sides .

      • JCW says:

        Curt – regarding 82md St. Multimodal pathway – you are correct that it was federal funds: They are CMAQ fund to be exact (Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality, iirc), but no on the purchasing of land. I have been to every meeting and they never talked about land was purchased. They are actually just using the right of way, which is huge. It ticked off some people who had no idea how little yard they really had. But I know of zero land purchased. So that shoots a hole in the notion that funding land purchases was an issue. And I did notice several “Rebuild Indy” more permanent signs along Meridian today, so they have the money to get the message of self promotion across…but that is another issue.

        Regarding use of the bike lanes, I have seen how very little use Allisonville gets, but then they ADDED pavement to make those lanes possible. Again, its the taking from the 10s of thousands of motorists to appease a realitive tiny percentage that would actually use those lanes. That is where you all are making enemies (when I say you all, its to include the apologists for the bike lanes, which appears to be the vast majority of participants here). I still say that the recreational rider will never use those lanes, with exception of you hard corp biker minority that evidently have no kids, can wear spandex to work, and never ever stop for groceries or dry cleaning or whatnot on the way home. 🙂 <- see, humor.

        I'll persist on poking holes in this, albeit in a polite manner. Bike lanes are a GOOD THING, what they have done here in this town is NOT A GOOD THING. Illinois, New York, Michigan, Capitol, Broad Ripple Avenue are all dangerous, poorly conceived and not welcomed bike lanes in my book. And if you surveyed voters/citizens, I think you would see a serious objection to what this administration has done on this project.

        Your mileage may vary.

        • Christopher says:

          If I get the chance, I’m going to either try to get Kevin from INDYCOG on here to comment on this, or I’ll just get in touch with him for the figures supporting the following claim:

          While I hear an almost constant refrain regarding how dangerous the various bike lanes are (especially along Mich/NY), all I can think of is how bike traffic has gone up substantially along these corridors, yet reports of accidents involving cyclists remain nil-minimal. And in fact, what accidents there have been were due to traffic violation/user error (e.g. accident due to disregarding a traffic signal/sign) or because the cyclist was riding on the sidewalk, not because of inattention of motorists with regards to cyclists in the roadway.

          Like I said, there are data supporting this, but I don’t currently have it at my disposal. I’ll try to dig it up from some of my old sources though and report back here.

        • Christopher says:

          I’ll also reiterate that I think people are greatly underestimate just how much traffic these lanes will get when the weather warms in the Spring, and especially when the connection between Allisonville and Keystone is completed along 62nd.

  13. Paul says:

    I agree that it’s important to look at the bike lanes as a network, or in the case of Alisonville to realize that its almost non-existent rider count is, at least in part, due to the fact that the lanes tie in to very little other bike infrastructure. However, I think it never makes sense to have an on-street lane on a posted 45 MPH street. Of course, I always thought the speed limit on Alisonville should be lowered even before the bike lane was added.

  14. JCW says:

    Christopher, I would be interested in seeing that data. And I understand the position many of you are taking on all this, which I get: bikes lanes are a GOOD THING. My point is that they are doing many of them wrong. Broad ripple avenue and North Illinois, North Capitol are very BAD THINGS. Great idea, terrible execution. And again, the whole “build it and they will come” is not lost on me either, but let’s work a little smarter. While you will have some biker commuters, in this town the majority are going to use automobiles. Just think what could have been done if they actually thought this thing through!? As mentioned above, perhaps catering to recreational riders initially could have softened the transition. But until I see people using these broad ripple bike lanes, I am very underwhelmed and unimpressed with this project. Indy: A City of Low Expectations.

    • Christopher says:

      I don’t know. I think Indy is actually doing a really good job of catering to both rec riders and commuters, in the sense that the Monon, White River/Canal Towpath, and Cultural Trail were some of the first bike infrastructure projects out the gate, and the bike lanes are going in to compliment and better connect these as anchor systems. Actually, my friend Tadd was here for a week last summer (visiting from Chicago), and referred to the Monon and White River/Tow Path as bike interstates (and comically as “warp tubes”), which I thought was a good metaphor for them. And the city continues to recognize the need to cater somewhat to recreational and newer riders in the way they are continuing to look into off-street/protected paths (e.g. Shelby and the proposed 62nd path from Keystone to Allisonville).
      But again, I don’t mean to be dismissive of what I think are very valid points that you’re raising, but I really do think people are overestimating road diet growing pains and underestimating just how much use the Brip Ave. lanes are going to get once the weather warms. I’ve been using them myself lately to go get sweets from Parcha on my way home from work. 🙂
      I will say that it’s a much more comfortable ride down BR Ave. than I’ve known in the past. Rush hour along BR Ave. in the past was akin to riding along 86th St, and now it’s more like riding along 52nd.
      That doesn’t address your concerns about Illinois/Capitol, which I’ve not ridden myself yet, so I can’t properly weigh in on that.

      (And apologies: I’ve been dragging my feet on contacting Kevin regarding the accident data. I’ll email him now.)

  15. JCW says:

    Well, merry Christmas all, I just stopped in to see if anything further has been added here, and I don’t see much. I am not trying to be all humbug about this, but to restate my issue: it’s not that bike lanes are bad, it’s that the guys downtown have done a poor job at the execution of them. They could have been done better, should have been done better ( separated lanes on broad ripple ave, the ridiculous striping jobs on Illinois and Capitol, etc.) and why we accept this really gets to the core issue here: we are a citizenry of low expectations! Is ANY bike lane better than NO bike lane!? Think about that. Why couldn’t they get it right the first time!? Why do we accept that?

    Also, I find it interesting that we should ” wait till springtime” to see the usage go up. Indy has notoriously unpredictable and just plain crappy weather much of the year. I will go back to the notion that people won’t use these lanes as commuters due to the crappy weather. We have had a very mild November and December, that could easily have been march and April and still no riders on those lanes. Hmmm. So let’s take out November December, January, February march april and perhaps half of may and October, and you have a good 7 months nobody, according to your assertions, is going to use those lanes. So we have made a significant investment and depleted well travelled automobile lanes because a relatively minuscule group of riders MIGHT use these bike lanes less than half of the year? What kind of business sense does this make? Toss in hat many have complained about the safety of these lanes, and even fewer of this small population will use the lanes. To further this argument, I don’t see how any recreational users are going to pedal down BR ave or Illinois or Capitol, etc etc.

    I have kids, and there is no way I will let them use ANY of these lanes. And they are 12 and 10, and we sure would like to have the city build something safe for them to ride on. But my expectations are low. Build a domed stadium, sure. Spend millions on the super bowl, sure. But create bikeways and pathways every citizen can use and feel safe on? Pffft. What am I thinking!?

    • Idyllic Indy says:

      I don’t know whether the BR lanes will get a lot of usage, but I agree with your concerns regarding Illinois. I just drove up it yesterday and it’s hard to imagine how a bicyclist wouldn’t get run over with the amount of times the bike lane crosses over other lanes, disappears, turns into a sharrow, crosses back over lanes again, disappears again, reappears, etc. I’m not saying that designing is stuff is easy, because there are a lot of things to consider, but there’s no doubt in my mind that we could do a lot better than this.

      • Chris Barnett says:

        Starting at 16th, Illinois traffic patterns are a hot mess all the way up to 38th. In addition to the bike-lane issues mentioned above, the through lanes suddenly disappear or turn into turn-only lanes. Parking comes and goes. The little signage and pavement marking to indicate the changes is insufficient.

  16. Joe Smoker says:

    There are planned changes for the right turn cinfusion spots on Illinois and 62nd, but the city must wait until spring to stripe them…..

  17. JCW says:

    So the city made major mistakes and has acknowledged them, and will fix them, all at our expense? In the end that’s a good thing. In my world, heads roll with mistakes like that. Indulge me, can you detail those corrections?

    • Joe Smoker says:

      ultimately, right turns for bikes which now shift left to avoid right turning cars will become shared lanes with right turning cars at some intersections to avoid such a drastic bump out. It wasn’t a major mistake at all, just an effort to provide expanding infrastructure and choice for residents.

      In my world, people are celebrated for progress and forgotten by mediocrity.

      • JCW says:

        The major mistake was those goofy turning lanes (among other silly design elements noted all over this thread). Again, I am not against bike lanes; I am against unused, unsafe, poorly designed bike lanes. My assumption is you have something to do with the implementation or design of these lanes, and I appreciate public servants, so don’t consider this a personal attack. But it was a MAJOR mistake to design these lanes so poorly. It’s going to cost us taxpayers more money and more frustration in learning what is “expected” of us when we are on automobiles as opposed to bikes. More changes: more man-hours, more paint, more blog entries, etc 😉

        If I had given my “customer” (your customer is the taxpayers: me and others) a crappy designed product or service, heads would roll. You say this is progress? Really? Laughable. Again, thanks for your public service, but get real!
        And I still haven’t seen anyone using these lanes, just backed up cars and frustrated drivers. Oh well.

        • Curt Ailes says:

          JCW you are entitled to your opinion on the bike lanes. I happen to think that they are a great design. Your opinion that they are a major mistake lacks any credible evidence when all perspectives are brought to bare. There have been no major injuries as a result of these changes, chronic traffic backups are anecdotal at best and with the adjustment of the light timing, those may be reduced as well. Time will tell and I feel that you are jumping the gun by saying that they are a major mistake. Give them some time to prove their value. It is QUITE chilly outside right now, bike riding is at a yearly low and observing cyclists using them is going to be at an all time low as well.

          • Idyllic Indy says:

            Curt,

            I think JCW has some very valid points about these lanes, especially on Illinois (I’ve driven that one a few times and I’ve only been on the BR Ave section once or twice, so I’ll reserve judgment somewhat.) The design appears terrible. The expectation that a bicyclist will jut out from the curb sharply to criss-cross/ abruptly trade positions with an existing vehicle lane that becomes a right turn lane appears unsafe both from my perspective as a driver and a potential bicyclist. I would love to see the plans of how it will be restriped. I’ve said this before vis a vis the New York & Michigan lanes.

            An existing vehicle travel lane should never cross the bike lane. The right travel lane should always follow to the left of the bike lane, even when the bike lane must shift out from the curb for a right turn lane, or a shared turn lane/bike lane (much better). The right turn lane should always be a “new” lane so that drivers aren’t abruptly discovering that they are in a turn lane which they didn’t anticipate and then forced to quickly change lanes to proceed forward while also attempting to avoid cyclists. This probably works a lot more easily when you have parking on the right side of the street which can be eliminated approaching intersections in favor of the “new” right turn lane. I understand that provides additional conflict for bicyclists with parked cars, but even if you design the street to have the parking on the left side of the street, I think you can avoid these right lane/bike lane crossovers. Why not have the left through lane end as a left turn lane instead? This would create potential conflicts between the two left hand lanes as drivers must merge right to continue forward, but wouldn’t this be preferable to having a similar conflict on the right side of the street except with having cyclists thrown into the mix as an additional conflict.

            To say that we’re not aware of any significant injuries at this point shouldn’t be an endorsement of the design. Wouldn’t that be similar to saying that “no pedestrians have yet been killed on a block with no sidewalks, therefore, that block doesn’t need sidewalks”?

          • JCW says:

            Curt: 1. “Your opinion that they are a major mistake lacks any credible evidence when all perspectives are brought to bare.” I am not sure what that means, but my perspective is what forms my opinions, and they are of a terrible design, unsafe, not used, and a waste of my tax dollars. Again, that’s MY perspective, which forms my opinion. 2. “There have been no major injuries as a result of these changes…”, How do we know that? have you combeed through the accident reports? Saying that no one has been killed by bombs dropping over a street in Baghdad does not mean someone won’t eventually. The design is dangerous, as many others here have noted/opined/suggested. that’s more than just my opinion. 3. “chronic traffic backups are anecdotal at best…” Really? do you travel that stretch of road daily, several times daily; do you talk to the people that work along there, own shops along there, patronize that section of the Road? I do. Daily, and its the number one topic – How bad traffic has become because of those stupid bike lanes, and the removal of HALF of the car lanes that were there before. Anecdotal?! Wow, that’s not even near the right description. 4. “…and with the adjustment of the light timing, those may be reduced as well.” MAY? Well, I MAY win the lottery too. Are the same fellas who designed the lanes poorly in the first place, and who are going to restripe the lanes now at taxpayer’s expense, the same guys who are going to *adjust* the timing of the lights? color me skeptical, but you are right, we taxpayers just need to chill and everything will be better. 5. “Time will tell and I feel that you are jumping the gun by saying that they are a major mistake.” Well, thanks for letting me know that what I perceive and what i experience – DAILY – is something I should just sit back and take. Why? If the city knows its a mistake, and they have admitted it, then why should we just wait? 6. “It is QUITE chilly outside right now, bike riding is at a yearly low and observing cyclists using them is going to be at an all time low as well.” Wrong. This is the mildest fall/winter we have had in years (watch the local weather forecasts for proof if you don’t believe me) and refer back to one of my previous posts regarding this subject. The “build it and they will come” ideology is fine, IF they hadn’t sacrificed HALF of the existing auto/truck lanes that were there. Once again, bike lanes are fine, but to take out half of a well used road because a handful of bikers might use it once in a while is crazy! You guiyys need to step back and plant a chair at that intersection and see what happnes.
            And to top it all off, did you know that the Speedway gas station is relocating to the NE corner of…you guessed it…62nd and Keystone. This is going to be an enourmous problem on top of taking away HALF of the existing lanes for cars and trucks. Oh well, I guess I am just spitting in the wind here. I am not going to change your mind.

  18. crownhilldigger says:

    The neighborhood I live in has ssen an ENORMOUS amount of thru traffic relative to the holidays as the wait cycles at lights exceeded 3 cycles frequently. We have a neighbor who is an IMPD officer and he has written several tickets before he even pulled away from his parking spot in front of his house.

    Curt I am stioll waiting for you to shout Hello on your ride thru.

  19. Aidan says:

    JCW it is obvious that you have come here to stir things up and you are overly upset over the change on BR. Adjustment of the timing of the signal will make things better, and no the people who do the timing are not the same people that do the striping.
    As for waiting for the fix to the striping, what do you want them to do? Put it down in cold weather and then have it come off the pavement and have them do it a third time? There is a reason that you don’t normally see striping below 50 degrees.

    Idyllic, while you state that a vehicle travel lane should never cross a bike lane, would you rather the bikes stayed on the far right and then cars cut across them right at the intersection? The layout that is out there is the federal standard. The transition is made away from the intersection where is is safer.

    • JCW says:

      Really? I have come here to stir things up? Its a DISCUSSION. Or is that not allowed here. I keep making my points, and nobody can refute them. Instead, I get labelled a “troublemaker”? LOL.

  20. Idyllic Indy says:

    No Aidan. I mentioned in my post that a shared bike lane/right turn lane would be preferable. My key point is that you shouldn’t take a through lane (the right vehicle travel lane) and make it into a right turn only lane, and force bikes to cut across it. Shifting the bike lane and right travel lane out from the curb about 150-200′ before the intersection and then starting a shared bike lane / right turn lane (to the right of the bike lane) is much safer for cyclists because drivers are then required to change lanes IF they want to turn by falling in behind the bicyclists who already have established their rightful and safe position.

    This design requires the cyclists to navigate across an existing vehicle travel lane, which is more dangerous to the cyclist AND it throws in the additional confusion factor of forcing unsuspecting through drivers to change lanes to avoid being forced into a right turn.

    If this is a federal standard, could you please cite it and provide a link. I haven’t noticed this kind of bizarre alignment in other cities. I am in favor of bike lanes, but only if they are designed as safely as possible. The Illinois Street alignment is far from meeting that goal.

  21. JCW says:

    Well, just drove thru there a few minutes ago, and they have gone sign crazy again. But one question: When it says “Bike Lane Ends” about 100 feet before the very busy intersection with Keystone, where is the biker supposed to go?

    • Matt Stone says:

      Merge into traffic or use a sidewalk. What does BR Ave top out at? 30? That’s not a bad speed for a shared lane, especially since a good chunk of BR Ave is a school zone. And the sidewalks aren’t used all that much until you get closer to the heart of the Village.

      • Joe says:

        I assure you that we don’t want cyclists on a sidewalk. Cars on cross streets focus their attention towards the centerline of traffic, not on crosswalks. This is why they always, ALWAYS, pull into crosswalks or past stop bars to look out in the road. I guess the old traffic law about coming to a complete stop at a stop sign or stop bar before moving forward to look for traffic isn’t true?

  22. JCW says:

    OK. So what is the cyclist to do? I mean, you have them weaving all over the road at Evanston crossing, and God knows how many directions on Illinois, but what are they to do when coming to the “end” of the Bike Lane? I also noticed this phenomenon on Illinois when it heads north into Westfield. Do they dismount and go into the grass?

  23. Idyllic Indy says:

    JCW, you then ride in the street without a bike lane. Traffic laws endorse that action, despite the fact that many drivers’ behavior might not. Are you suggesting there shouldn’t be any bike lanes until there are bike lanes everywhere that never end?

    • JCW says:

      *despite the fact that many drivers’ behavior might not*, OK, that sounds safe. Look this ain’t my first rodeo, but as I peel back the onion on all this, I go back to my original thought and point is that these lanes are NOT safe. Drivers in this town are 90% morons, I cannot believe they will bother to look up, read, understand and then obey any traffic laws that are on some obscure traffic law website or handout at the BMV. So why did they not create safer, separate bike lanes like the Monon Trail, or the 62nd Street multi-modal pathway? Cost? At what cost safety? right of Way? There’s plenty of room.

  24. Curt Ailes says:

    I plan on using the lanes quite often this year as the weather warms back up. My family rides to Boogie Burger and we will happily use the lanes from the Monon all the way up to Boogie Burger’s new location. And then ride back on them. I am happy to have them there and the fact that the city recognized a desire to provide more transportation options makes me, as a taxpayer, quite happy.
    .
    JCW, I suppose you are going to have to live with the lanes for the time being. I hope that your opinion changes over time .

  25. Locking this thread. Time for some new discussions, starting next week.