Carmel Access Bikeways
Carmel access bikeways (CAB) are loops and express routes optimized for bikers making the extensive trail system that already covers the entire community easier for alternative transportation and for planning physical activities. David Littlejohn, Alternative Transportation Coordinator for the City of Carmel explains the concept behind the organization of multi-use paths and sidewalks in the city.
After a century of dominance by motorized vehicles city and state planning staffs are finally beginning to accept the concept that all people---young, old, and disabled; walkers, bicyclists, skaters and skate boarders have an equal credible right to safe use of the transportation plan of a city. To the consistently top-ranked bicycle friendly cities like Chicago, Portland, Minneapolis, and Seattle, and the top walkable cities like New York, Boston, San Francisco and Philadelphia the expectation of equality has been around so long that it is in-grained into the culture and minds of the citizenry as a normal way of life. That it is a quality of life concept that can be lived with.
Cities and towns across the United States are rushing to catch up, embrace and integrate alternative transportation systems into their comprehensive plans to attract the next generation of taxpayers, and keep the baby boomers in their retirement contented. Desirable cities such as Carmel, IN have recognized the importance of the impact of the walkers and bicyclists by hiring alternative transportation coordinators to be at the table in city planning. While every city and town needs a voice for non-motorized travelers and users, very few government entities have acquiesced to hiring a full-time planner/advocate. David Littlejohn in Carmel, IN and Vince Caristo in Bloomington, IN are two coordinators in the state. Their jobs include planning, advocacy, education and implementation of pedestrian and bicycle plans and resources.
One of the most important responsibilities of the bike/pedestrian coordinator is public education. Education to avoid user conflict; education to enable safe movement without injury; and education about the health, social, recreational and economic benefits of these alternative transportation methods are all necessary components of participation. While so many of us grew up riding a bicycle there are several generations of inexperienced users, coupled with the enormous increase in vehicular traffic driven by even more drivers that are vague at best about how to drive in the presence of bicyclists and pedestrians. David Littlejohn and the City of Carmel have produced an educational video explaining how to bike, be a pedestrian and driver to avoid user conflict including injury and death.
The City of Carmel has underscored the importance of pedestrian/bicycle/vehicular safety by passing the first in the state bicycle ordinance that articulates and regulates users and non-users to eliminate conflicts. After 13 readings, Ordinance D-2137-13 as Amended was adopted by a vote of 7-0 by the Carmel City Council on November 4, 2013.
Planning safe, visually appealing routes for recreation and alternative transportation is another way Carmel is moving in an aggressive positive direction to raise the quality of life to one of the highest standards in the state. The city’s innovative CAB System (Carmel Access Bikeway System) includes five unique loop paths and eleven express routes. Littlejohn is leading the way to add more loops and connectivity beyond Carmel’s city limits. A paid coordinator, a supportive city government and an enthusiastic public will ensure that Carmel is one of the state leaders in an unsurpassed quality of life in Indiana.