Our metro area continues to argue about the need for and how to pay for public transportation expansion. Frustrating as it may be, we are not without some glimmers of excitement when it comes to deciding how we want to move around from point A to point B.
If you have been paying even a little bit of attention, Urban Indy has covered in detail many new cycling related projects around the metro area. This year alone, we have covered the expansion of the Fall Creek Trail, brought you news regarding the 71st Street & College Bike-ways as well as providing in depth coverage of Indy’s first bike boxes.
The latest in the saga of bicycling related infrastructure expansion comes at us starting with Prospect Street, (click to open link to city’s website) in the Fountain Square neighborhood. Fountain Square, already home to a leg of the Cultural Trail as well as Indy’s first Cycle Track will enjoy increased cycling visibility with the addition of bike lanes along Prospect Street starting in the square, and travelling east all the way to Southeastern Ave. While the lanes will be of traditional design (single lane next to traffic) it represents additional visibility to cyclists. Additionally, a lane of parking will be removed along portions of the south side of Prospect to allow for the new lanes. The lanes themselves will be 6 feet wide in this area as well, wider than standard 5 foot wide lanes.
In addition to the Prospect Street lanes, a new multi-use trail will be constructed along the east side of Keystone Avenue connecting the Pleasant Run Trail from north of the old coke plant, to the portion along Pleasant Run Parkway creating even more access to the city’s expanding system of greenways. The Prospect Street lanes will intersect this new trail. Taken as a whole, the Prospect Street bike lane project in conjunction with the Keystone Ave trail represent a nice expansion of cycling infrastructure where none currently exists.
Also contained within the same project (from the City) is a plan to add new lanes and a multi-use trail to portions of 29th & 30th Streets on the near north side. Beginning on the west side of the White River, at the intersection of 30th Street and the White River Wapahani Trail, a new two way multi-use trail will be constructed along the north side of 30th street. The two lane dedicated & curb separated multi-use trail will run from here to the Canal Tow Path offering a much improved transition for cyclists in this area. Currently, riders travelling south on the Canal Tow Path, and who wish to transfer to the White River Trail, must traverse confusing switch backs to make the transition. The new multi-use trail will clear this intersection up. East of here, sharrows will be painted on the pavement to Illinois Street.
29th Street will also be modified to add a bike lane where it splits with 30th street at the White River Trail. However, east of Riverside Drive it will also contain sharrows (no bike lanes) preserving three lanes of 1 way automobile right of way, as it currently exists.
Sadly, the opportunity to put 29th or 30th street on a lane diet, or convert them to 2 way streets was not taken here. Even a single lane reduction on either street and replacing a driving lane with a parking lane would have done wonders towards calming traffic speeds on these 1 way arteries. One has to question why these streets remain of 1 way design east of the White River and west of Central Avenue. Contained between these two limits, one could argue, are the most important cultural destinations of the near north such as the Children’s Museum and Ivy Tech, both highly automobile oriented campuses. Converting the east/west streets would be a good first step towards creating a much more inviting pedestrian and cycling oriented area, an environment sorely lacking in this neighborhood.
While these projects represent some key improvements to the bicycle and pedestrian network, and they are welcome in that regard, automobile throughput remains a key criteria in DPW’s design intent.