The Indy MPO has been working to create and update the regional bikeways plan for the Indianapolis area as part of the long range transportation plan through 2035. The proposal includes bike lanes, bike paths, greenways and other good times. It has been a large effort by limited staff to combine bike and pedestrian plans from surrounding jurisdictions as well as combining Indy’s various related plans through sustainindy, DPW and Indy parks. The current proposal is an effort to connect existing facilities with other planned bike facilities as well as to connect as much of the area as possible. The plan is, of course, constrained by funding. The phasing time periods are a result of anticipated funds to be made available through federal, state, local and other grants or funding mechanisms. This latest version is a result of scoring criteria changes encouraged by members of the committee. You can find the original release post here from Urban Indy.
Here is the most recent version of the plan: Regional Bikeways Plan Draft Nov 2011
With the attention focused on transit, it is important to remember that people need to be connected to transit options through pedestrian and bike facilities. While the plan is generally comprehensive, it appears to lack any serious connection for the entire East, West and Southwest sides of the city in the “near” future. From the overall plan and submitted information, Hamilton and Hendricks County are the second and third most active and prepared when it comes to bike planning, but again, where is the push for the West connection? As it stands, the forecasted funding for any connection west will not be until 2026-2035 at the earliest. That is 15-25 years away! It is not as if the B&O must be finished tomorrow, but a bike lane should come much sooner than that at the very least.
It is important to note that this plan, if adopted, only represents forecasted funding availability and priority corridors, but it seems all regions should have at least one priority corridor before others receive multiple offerings. Recently, Indianapolis combined there DPW plans with Indy Parks plans and released a “Connectivity Plan 2012-2015. This plan highlights $40 million in investment for bikeways including lanes and paths to total 75 miles in the time period. Investments like this are locally funded and are not accounted for on the MPO Regional Bikeways Plan. This, in effect, allows some of the MPO projects to move up in the phasing schedule and others to be completed without MPO money.
The Final version of the MPO Regional Bikeways Plan will have an online public comment period through 1/23/12 which can be found here: http://www.indympo.org/Plans/MultiModalPlanning/Pages/Home.aspx. I encourage those interested to look into the plan and comment on any ideas or thoughts, good or bad.