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Monon Trail Receives Safety Upgrades

Monon Trail @ 49th Street (image credit: Curt Ailes)

Monon Trail @ 49th Street (image credit: Curt Ailes)

Regular users of the Monon Trail may or may not notice the results of a new project aimed to improve safety for cyclists and pedestrians at street crossings. As part of a larger project, which is funded primarily from the Highway Safety Improvement Program, upgraded pavement markings, signage as well as the addition of flashing beacons at select intersections are being deployed.

As cyclists, one of the biggest concerns for trail riding are where cross streets that carry automobiles intersect. Increasing awareness for motorists that pedestrians and cyclists have priority in these crossings is key to improving safety. The new signals are a welcome addition.

15 Responses to “ “Monon Trail Receives Safety Upgrades”

  1. Michael says:

    Fantastic! And, I like the hot off the press photo with the dusting of snow on the ground – must have been taken this morning, eh?

  2. Chris Barnett says:

    If pedestrians and cyclists now have priority in these crossings, then that is a change. There have always been STOP signs on the Monon at street crossings, where users are warned that they do not have the right of way.

    I like the new pedestrian-activated FLASHING RED crossing signal at Merrill and Delaware, marked with instructions for motorists to stop and yield to pedestrians, then proceed. It seems to me as if that ought to be the local standard for such crossings, including all on the Monon except BR Ave (where the “stop bar” for the Winthrop intersection ought to be moved back to allow trail users the “walk” signal there).

    • ahow628 says:

      By law, they should have already had priority, but the set up of the Monon creates a dangerous amount of ambiguity. The stop signs for the trail indicate trail users should stop, but by statute, cars are required to stop for crosswalk users if it is feasible to do so.

      It gets extra confusing and dangerous when you approach a four lane street and a car in one lane stops to let you cross and another car zips right around them and blows through the cross walk.

      In Chicago, all the crosswalks in Lincoln Park (the park, not the neighborhood) have yellow signs pointing out it is the law to stop for pedestrians.

      Bottomline, Monon users should have the right of way and it should be clearly marked as so. I would recommend stop signs at every crossing for vehicles and perhaps some of those traffic humps (not the 2ft bump but the 10ft raised hump).

      • Mike says:

        16th street, 30th street, and 38th street Monon crossings are certainly more problematic for the fact that they’re multiple lane roads. For some reason, I see more motorists attempt to stop for me as a cyclist at 38th street. So while one lane is stopped, an additional two lanes are still traveling at speed.

        Here’s hoping that further safety improvements are made at these crossings.

  3. Dave says:

    I’m confused- do pedestrians have the right of way or not (in Indiana)? Given all the signs on the Monon for pedestrians to stop but no such signs on the roads, I assumed that Indiana was the exception. If pedestrians do have the right of way, has anyone ever requested the Indy and Carmel police to enforce it? This is my single biggest issue with using the Monon, being forced to yield at every cross street.

  4. Wesley says:

    I don’t believe pedestrians have the ROW on Indiana crosswalks. I think it has to be a signalized intersection with pedestrian signals in order for a pedestrian to have the ROW. Look at IUPUI as an example where there are signs telling pedestrians that cross traffic does not stop.

    • Chuck Mills says:

      Not true. Pedestrians have the right of way at all crosswalks and intersections assuming a) they’re obeying control devices and b) they don’t dart out in front of a vehicle and create an “immediate hazard”.

      IC 9-21-8-36: “… when traffic control signals are not in place or not in operation, a person who drives a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way, slowing down or stopping if necessary to yield, to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a crosswalk when the pedestrian is upon the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling or when the pedestrian is approaching closely from the opposite half of the roadway.”

      IC 9-21-17-5: “A pedestrian may not suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle that is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard.”

      http://www.in.gov/legislative/ic/2010/title9/ar21/ch8.html
      http://www.in.gov/legislative/ic/2010/title9/ar21/ch17.html

  5. ahow628 says:

    Ok, I’m confused. I was 99% sure that we had a discussion on here about pedestrian crossings but can’t find it.

    I did find this, but it doesn’t give citations:
    http://midimagic.sgc-hosting.com/indilaws.htm

    Right of way laws are simple:
    -Yield to pedestrians already in crosswalks or extensions of sidewalks into the street.

    I’d like to be sure my aggressive walking style gives me legal protection.

    • Chuck Mills says:

      Yes, we had that discussion. IIRC the gist of it is covered in the first two points on item 11 in the link you provided:

      * Yield to pedestrians already in crosswalks or extensions of sidewalks into the street.
      * Yield to any vehicles already in the intersection or so close to the intersection that it can’t stop in time.

      This might be useful: http://www.in.gov/legislative/ic/2010/title9/ar21/ch17.html

      As an aggressive walker myself, one other useful point is that pedestrian right-of-way exists at all intersections, not just marked crosswalks:

      IC 9-21-17-7: A pedestrian crossing a roadway at a point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway.

      Coming back to the Monon Trail crossings, many of the crossings have poor visibility. A bike moving at 20mph darts into the road pretty quick, arguably risking IC 9-21-17-5 in many cases: “A pedestrian may not suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle that is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard.” Probably solvable with stop signs, flashing red lights, and/or other infrastructure improvements at most intersections I’d imagine, but I haven’t studied it.

      The other potentially confusing point is that pedestrians and cyclists must obey all traffic control signals and devices. This would include the yield & stop signs for trail users.

      • Chris Barnett says:

        “As an aggressive walker myself, one other useful point is that pedestrian right-of-way exists at all intersections, not just marked crosswalks:

        “IC 9-21-17-7: A pedestrian crossing a roadway at a point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway.”

        Didn’t you mean to write that pedestrian right-of-way does NOT exist at such points? The clear meaning of the statute is: cars have preference outside of marked/signalized crossings.

        It also means that a pedestrian can’t be ticketed for “jaywalking” (crossing a street where there is no marked crossing) unless a local ordinance prohibits it. A pedestrian can be ticketed for “failure to yield” either within or outside of a marked crosswalk.

        (I am also an aggressive pedestrian, and don’t really care about marked crossings. I just yield or cross when and where I decide it’s safe for me.)

      • Chris Barnett says:

        I agree re poor visibility on Monon crossings. When driving, I generally slow and approach with caution. In Broad Ripple, I just stop and look.

  6. Mel Howard says:

    A. As a small child, I was taught to use common sense when riding my bike in or around traffic. That means even when I have the ROW, I still use caution before crossing a street. A car weighs a whole lot more than a bike/person, so why risk causing an accident?
    B. My tax dollars are wasted on the Monon Trail – because of the gangs of bicycles whizzing by, the groups of runners that hog the trail, and the baby-stroller-pushers that walk two and three abreast, I gave it up! It’s not pleasant to be afraid the bicyclists are going to run you down. Want to race competitively? Then you belong at the Marian U velodrome! Not on what’s supposed to be a public trail.
    C. When are bicyclists going to start paying for all the bike paths the city has spent a fortune to install?

    • ahow628 says:

      C. When are bicyclists going to start paying for all the bike paths the city has spent a fortune to install?

      Can you please tell me how cyclists are NOT paying for the trails?

      Assuming they live in Indy, they are playing local taxes. Assuming they live in Indiana, they are paying state taxes. Assuming they live in the US, they are paying federal taxes. Some combo of those taxes pay for the trails, so they are obviously paying for the trails.

      This is similar rhetoric to the whole “bikes don’t pay for roads” argument. Cyclists own cars for the most part and pay federal/state taxes which pay for roads even if they don’t own a car.

      With trails, the walkers and cyclists are not the biggest source of wear and tear – weather is. Hot/cold cycles and erosion do far more damage than feet or bike tires.

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