Trails in Indiana

Cycling News from the City of Indianapolis

Right before Christmas, Hoosier Rails to Trails Council interviewed Andy Lutz, Indianapolis Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator (a part of the Indianapolis Department of Public Works). We sought news on what might appear next for Indianapolis, our headquarters and Indiana’s most populous city, on the heels of the latest striping of a bicycle lane on the city’s northeast side.

Andy related that Indy has two, new, funded bike lanes, the design of which will start in spring of 2010.
One part of the plan includes a new pair of bike lanes on the edges of Lafayette Road from the Hendricks/Marion county line, road in the northwest part of the city, southward all the way to White River Parkway West Drive (near at New York and Michigan Streets), in the near downtown area. The second part of this plan stripes both Illinois and Capitol Streets from New York Street northward to Westfield Boulevard, which will allow a cyclist to pedal to Broad Ripple via the existing Central Canal Towpath (a towpath is a walkway on top of a canal embankment).
“This will mean that, with the Cultural Trail under construction, routes will enable a cyclist to crank from downtown northwestly to the county line, mostly on Lafayette Road (about 13 miles). Also, a cyclist will be able to traverse from the center of the city northwardly to Broad Ripple (about 8 miles), and that one will have the option to roll eastwardly to Ellenberger Park (about 6 miles),” enthusiastically noted Richard Vonnegut, Vice Chairman of HRTC.
Andy mentioned that the recent amendment to the biking ordinance of the City County Council, demanded a three foot minimum passing clearance by motorists (driving adjacent to bike lanes).
This bespeaks “how a vehicle should treat bicyclists in lanes,” said Andy. “This is a start. We’re working now with IBC/ Bike Indiana’s Nancy Tibbett, trying to get local ordinances to establish bike rules like retro reflective riding gear, head and tail light and helmet requirements for the city more comprehensive and safety conscious than state regulations,” he also noted.
Along the lines of safer, more pedestrian friendly as well as cyclist friendly streets, Andy talked about changes along Capitol Ave near the aforementioned Cultural Trail, a Legacy of Marilyn and Gene B. Glick.
“The bump outs (curbs extending into the street parking lanes), with their decorative medians are ‘traffic calming.’ By reducing the twelve foot to eleven foot lanes, the street still meets the federal guidelines while trying to provide a means of slowing the often racing traffic, and making it safer for pedestrians.”
“We will be working with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department with help in education and public outreach to develop public awareness of these changes. All these steps will make it much safer in the long run.”
Also of note, and of particular interest to HRTC, Andy addressed our concerns about a specific type of street parking.
‘Angle parking’, where people back into diagonal parking spaces along the street, causes traffic to slow down, and makes it safer for pedestrians and/or cyclists passing by, because cars must exit facing the lanes and street.
“We will review angle parking, but it will take ordinance changes. Now, angle parking is a feature of the Federal Building along New York Street, but they are currently all assigned parking spaces,” Andy said.
We at HRTC find in these developments hope that the city will continue to endorse public policies geared to making city streets more adaptable for use by all pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.
HRTC appreciates your work, Andy!
by Mario Vian