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Bridges for Cars, Barriers for Everyone Else

When IndyCog released their Ride Guide, something unfortunate jumped out me:  Many of our city’s bridges are hostile to cycling.  Notice the number of bridges that are colored in Magenta on the city-wide PDF.

I know this first-hand from riding north along Delaware street while being surrounded by cars the intersection with Fall Creek Blvd.  And this is the best bridge in the area for northbound cyclists.  Illinois Street 5 blocks to the west does have a bike lane, but someone closer to the eastern edge of downtown might be better off heading over to the Monon Trail.  The big problem is, this bridge is the connection between the bike-friendly streets of Alabama St. and Washington Blvd.  And that is the case all over town.

The bridge problem also carries over into our sidewalks.  The Meridian Street Bridge over Fall Creek was recently rehabilitated, but the project did not do anything to increase safety for pedestrians, despite their document to the contrary.  Urban Indy blogger Chris Corr sent this photo of the newly repaved street:

Photo Credit: Chris Corr

Not exactly inviting to walk along Indianapolis’ “Main Street.” Shouldn’t this be the first place to correct this long-standing issue?

I’m aware that bridges have a limited amount of space to work with, and that when they intersect with streets that parallel the rivers, car capacity will increase. But it appears that most of these refinishing projects are just updating what is there, rather than improving upon it. It is frustrating as a citizen to see good money put into maintaining the dangerous status quo.

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7 Responses to “ “Bridges for Cars, Barriers for Everyone Else”

  1. Chris Barnett says:

    5 traffic lanes x 6″ per lane road diet = 30 extra inches of sidewalk here.
    .
    In other words, the sidewalk width could easily have been doubled to meet the city’s normal 60 inch width standard (actually, sidewalks south of here on Meridian are 72 inches wide).
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    And there could have been a low “splash and crash” barrier, maybe 18 inches high, in place of a standard curb, to provide more crash protection for pedestrians and the limestone bridgework.
    .
    Sheesh. D-, but only because they were careful to re-produce and replace all the missing historic stonework. Otherwise, Fail.

  2. Micah says:

    Time for a new mayor who cares about downtown livability. When will Indy take a chance? The clock is ticking.

  3. Aaron says:

    We drove by this the other night on the way home when I saw the barriers were down on 25th street. I was very disappointed the city didn’t address the existing lack of barriers on this bridge.

    I’m giving it a month before a car jumps the sidewalk and launches more of the limestone into Fall Creek and maybe a pedestrian or two…

    Disappointing.

  4. Eric says:

    Another example of pedestrian infrastructure as an afterthought.

  5. John Howard says:

    Speaking of barriers, you should check out the stretch of sidewalk put in along Carson Ave in the area of Sumner Ave. last year.

    This is the Lombard St of sidewalks.

    The kicker is, either end has warning signs for motorists. They say ‘Blind’.

    The sidewalk is a veritable obstacle course for any unsighted person. It jogs left, then right, up and down, back and forth… AND, it ends abruptly with a 90 degree bend. Miss the turn and you’ll fall into a culvert.

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