The suburban doughnut counties have had a long reputation as an area that is hospitable to vehicular traffic, and not much else. Carmel has been fighting that reputation for decades now, but how are the other areas in the region faring? In some instances, better than Marion County.
Let’s look at one example from each of the four major borders that Marion County has. First up, Hendricks County:
The slightly angled paved stretch marked in orange is the B & O Trail. A small portion of the trail has been completed towards Raceway Road, where it stops abruptly. Indianapolis is not planning on extending the trail within the next 2 years.
The county border is not marked by a road here, but it is still obvious to see where it is exists. Hancock County has built a sidewalk along 21st Street right up to the border.
A less glaring example of a sidewalk disconnection exists up in Hamilton County at the intersection of Michigan and 96th Street:
This intersection would be dangerous for pedestrians even if Marion County had sidewalks on their portion. It would take some major re-configuration for this area to be considered safe for all modes of travel.
Finally, Johnson County takes things the other direction at Arlington and County Line Road:
A road that was over-built to accommodate businesses and traffic that has yet to come. But, they did at least include a sidewalk, where in Marion County the street still looks like an old county road.
These are not the only examples of this curious development pattern to exist along the county borders, but I do believe there are more of these examples than there are of sidewalks existing within Marion County and stopping right at the border. And 2 of our longer multi-use trails, the Monon and Pennsy, extend out past the boundary.
It appears the doughnut counties are listening to the citizens about providing safe means of travel by foot. Likewise, I know Indianapolis is listening as well. But we obviously have a long way to go towards putting words in to action, and connecting people to places.