Pennsy Trail – Irvington (Indy)
October 31, 2015.
Mayor Greg Ballard, speaking at the ribbon cutting of the 1.6 mile extension fo the Irvington Pennsy Trail, noted"...Irvington is together and they work together...and they know what they want to build. As a result, the city has invested nine milion dollars in the area, and part of that investment was the addition to the existing Pennsy Trail. This new addition provides a more direct connection to Indy's downtown network of trails.
At the ribbon cutting, Margaret Banning, Executive Director of the Irvington Development Corporation,and Kevin Whited Executive Director of INDYCOG, Indy's foremost bicycle advocacy organization, both lauded outgoing Mayor Ballard's remarkable achievements in creating alternative transportation modes for citizens.
Banning observed that the trail "serves as a catalyst for new commercial opportunity." She named The Coal Factory, the Coal Yard Cafe, and the Hummingbird Cafe, which all opened in anticipation of the trail completion, as part of the economic development draw of the trail. Other businesses are expected to open along the trail as well, she said.
Mayor Ballard commented that he determined to leave behind a legacy at the beginning for his administration eight years ago. "You have to leave something behind. What we left behind is connectivity. That was the intent. To let people get around better than they did before."
Besides supporting increased property values, trails provide low cost health benefits, and promote community relations.
Comparing homes with comparable features, one study showed that houses within one half mile of Indianapolis' Monon Rail Trail would sell for 11 percent more than houses farther away.*
Retired IUPUI Professor of Economics Bob Sandy, PhD, and others in a a study involving more than 6,000 children eight years old and under, found a positive correlation between mitigation fo childhood obestiy and proximity to trails in low crime areas.**
Trails in Indianapolis have drawn favorable national attention, especially the Indianapolis Cultural Trail, A Legacy of Marilyn and Eugene Glick, an inviting bicycle and pedestrian passway around downtown. The trail system has not come without some complaints, but the trail makes it possible for people from widely varying socio-economic groups to interact.
All three speakers expressed sincere hopes that the incoming mayoral administation will continue to make urban connectvity a priority
*Lindsey et al.,"Property Values, Recreation Values, and Urban Greenways," Journal of Park Park and Recreation Administration, V22(3) pp.69-90, as quoted in "The Economic Benefits of Investing in Bicycle Facilities" by League of American Bicyclists, and Alliance for Biking and Walking
**Lecture Childhood obesity and play topic at Medical Humanities, Copyright 2009, The Trustees of Indiana University, February 4, 2010; 550 N Meridian St., Suite 306. Indianapolis, IN 46204
The Pennsy - Irvington Trail, located on the east side of Indianapolis is a very popular trail for all ages and uses. Because it is a 12 foot wide asphalt line-marked trail that is flat, linear, and well-maintained, it is well-suited for all uses including wheelchairs. The path is surrounded by interesting and nice neighborhoods in historic Irvington, as well as tree-lined in many areas offering wildlife and wildflowers. There is a pedestrian bridge that crosses Shadeland Ave., providing one of the few safe crossings for hikers, bikers, etc. of I465 in Indianapolis.
Historically, Lincoln’s funeral train passed over this line. Due to its location in Irvington, a very popular and “up and coming” neighborhood in Indianapolis, the trail accesses Irvington Community Elementary School and Irvington Plaza Center. This neighborhood also offers a myriad of community events as well as the Benton House. The Benton House was built in 1873 and is a large, charming example of the Second Empire style of architecture. For twenty years, it was the home of Allen R. Benton, twice president of Butler University of Irvington. The home has been well-preserved and furnished as a cultural, historical, social and civic center for community use. It is also open for guided tours. (317-357-0318317-357-0318) At Halloween, Irvington hosts an event with all the festivities. Offerings include vintage horror movies, theatrical performances, haunted puppet shows, contests, live music, ghost stories, story-telling in the park, and much more all at no cost. The Sunday evening before Christmas, Irvington shows off luminary lights. The Benton House is open in the evening.
Note: there is no parking for the Pennsy-Irvington Trail at either west or east terminus. Some street parking can be found at various places. There are future plans to extend the trail to the east and west to turn a 1.26 mile trail into a 9.6 mile trail. The property to the east, at this time, is privately-owned, however can be negotiated or circumvented. This extension would connect to the Pleasant Run Trail in Indianapolis. The Pennsy-Irvington would one day be part of the National Road Heritage Trail (See our “National Road Heritage Trail”), a 150 mile cross-state multi-use trail from Terre Haute to Richmond.