November is upon us! The temperatures are dropping and the leaves are falling. The construction season too, will be drawing to a close soon. As we look back at the construction projects that have transpired this season, Urban Indy has kept a focus on the 62nd street trail on Indy’s northside which begins at Allisonville Road and terminates at Keystone Ave.
As of this column, the trail for most practical purposes, is complete. Final pavement layers have been laid, signage is going up and street crossings are being striped. A recent observation of the trail shows that there are merely small punch list items remaining such as landscaping and sod work, dirt pile removal, etc.
We have seen some loud objection to the trail here at Urban Indy. Most notably, there were some resident concerns about the construction mess, the design itself and the timing. However, in this writer’s opinion, all of those concerns are water under the bridge as the trail weaves beautifully through the residential neighborhood opening up a new pedestrian and bicycle path along a corridor which previously had no options.
Additionally, riders of the IndyGo 19 now have a clean and paved spot to wait on buses effectively expanding the catchment area for IndyGo. The connectivity of this project cannot be underscored. Although anecdotal, I have observed people throughout stages of construction using the trail, even with the presence of dirt, mud, or unfinished ADA crossing.
I firmly believe the signage found along the new trail to be one something of a surprise. Watching the construction of the trail, I did not think about the signage that might provided. In traditional Indy style, there are square signs on wooden posts indicating the name of the trail along with stop signs, etc. Additionally, there is a lot of signage warning motorists that there is a cycling and pedestrian trail here. The only thing that I would find lacking, is any sort of way-finding. There is no direction to cyclists that “Broad Ripple is this way” or “This way to the Monon Trail”.
Locals of course will not have a significant issue, and it could be argued that this trail is so far from the urban core, it may not receive a significant amount of out of town visitor traffic. However, that would be my only criticism.
Although the pictures with this column show a trail that is still fresh off of the truck, it should age gracefully. The landscape along the route lends itself to growing in around what has been built. Additionally, the hard-scape lends itself to a long term future that will provide a safe and easy to travel corridor for users. I fully expect an increase in active transportation along this corridor not only by current residents, but also to a wider audience of travelers who desire an option to the automobile whether that be for recreation or commuting.