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The cultural trail is officially open! Yes! But what does this mean for us, for our city,
At the ceremony of the grand opening of the trail, Lori Miser, Kären Haley, Brian Payne, André Carson, Marianne Glick, Ray LaHood, and Mayor Ballard, all together through a comprehensible excitement and proudness stated the different aspects that brought this major achievement. These several corridors going through the city have already showed the potential transformation they have, incentivizing the reshaping of large parts of the downtown with residential construction, creation of local business and revitalization of neglected parts of the city. This is a movement that started with a very simple concept: bring the people onto the streets of the city, and allow them to walk, bike, or just have fun.
Wilbur Wright Trail opens in New Castle
The trail officially opened with a ribbon cutting ceremony just last Saturday, September 21, 2013. Over eight years in the making, the trail begins at the Henry County YMCA and generally follows the Pennsylvania railroad corridor northeast to a trailhead at the junction of State Road 103 and County Road 150N, in the Wilbur Wright Fish and Wildlife Area.
Two years ago, we produced a video about the extensive trail system constructed in Plainfield, Indiana; a significant achievement for a small town. Since then, we have been curious about the effect on the community of this major effort and what new projects have been undertaken to keep developing this infrastructure. The discovery is quite remarkable; Greenways paved the ground on which to transform the way of life of an entire population.
Over the years, we have had a chance to talk to people from all over Indiana about trails and their impact on the economic, social and physical health of their city or town. What we have learned is that Indiana is putting forth huge efforts toward creating a green and friendly environment to entice corporations, businesses, and large segments of the population---particularly the Millenials---to move here. And what we are pleasantly realizing is that quality of life has become for the cities and towns of our State the key element for their future prosperity.
Amo, Coatesville, Fillmore, Greencastle
Greg Midgley has been involved in developing rails into trails projects for many years. Currently he is the President and Secretary of the National Road Heritage Trail, Inc. here in Indiana. At the B & O Trail Association Annual Meeting held February 18, 2013; Greg shared stories about the challenges of trail building and how those hurdles were innovatively (and mostly cheaply) solved. He also clarifies the fact that it is a collective creativity, with many groups and individuals working together to solve the problems. From removable bollards to re-purposing a rail road bridge for pedestrian and bicycle users to blending and separating equestrian users; Greg shows how it can be accomplished.
He reported on the progress of community trails including the paving both of the Monon rail trail three mile loop in Hammond, and of the Brickyard Trail though Porter, Indiana.
Notably, while commenting on the influence that South Shore has had on the communities embraced by the organization, Dan proposed a visionary outlook beyond completing trails, that the group would further seek to enhance the livability of the area by promoting healthy concepts such as complete streets. The philosophy of Complete Streets allows for the idea that streets be designed to accommodate bicyclists, pedestrian, cars, trucks, and busses within the same corridor where practicable.
Moving Closer to Indiana’s First Interstate Bicycle Route
We are happy to announce that Dan Valleskey has started to collaborate with HRTC to help create informative maps of the water trails system available in Indiana for canoeing and kayaking.
Dan brings in his extensive experience of paddling rivers in Indiana and other states, and his wide connection with friends with deep knowledge of specific rivers throughout the state. Our goal is to present to a wider public the beauty of this activity that in addition to being physical, allows us a complete new connection with nature, and particularly with that element we rarely deal with here in Indiana: water.
George Kessler - Master City Planner of Indianapolis
More than one hundred years before the concept of ‘global warming’ was ever considered, decades before ‘greenways’ were at the top of city wish lists for Quality of Life improvements, and long before obesity was a major health issue in the United States: 26 cities in the United States hired the preeminent planner of Ideal American Cities to design Park & Boulevard Systems. The city leaders hired George E. Kessler.
|Many philanthropic families have contributed to the well-being and betterment of the Indianapolis. The City certainly owes a debt of gratitude to the stalwart support of Gene B. and Marilyn Glick and family.
A Civil Engineer's Perspective of the Monon Trail: Alan Hamersly
There are many people involved in a trail project; from the grassroots community advocates that provide the beginning momentum and vision of what could be, to the landscape architect who takes those ideas, looks at the possibilities and transforms them into a functional and beautiful design that appears as if it has always been there. And then there is the civil engineer who, with ruler, transit, and a multitude of formulas, tables, industry standards and knowledge; transforms the visions and designs into a built, universally accessible, safe and sound trail. This is the work of the civil engineer; and the trail project is the landmark Monon Rail Trail in Indianapolis.
The engineer is Alan Hamersly of Butler, Fairman & Seufert, Inc.. He received his civil engineering degree from Purdue University; a university that has consistently ranked in the top ten schools for “Civil” from U.S. News & World Report, and whose program celebrated its 125th Anniversary in 2012.
Every project needs a first step and a plan for completion. For the B & O Rail Company that first step was in 1827 when the port of Baltimore, Maryland decided to construct a rail line westward to compete with the Erie Canal waterway for commercial and economic development of the East Coast. Through acquisitions and mergers in the ensuing 150 years, that rail line, named the Baltimore and Ohio, would extend more than a 1000 miles west to St. Louis via Cincinnati, Ohio; and Chicago via Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
The City of Jeffersonville, Indiana hosted a presentation on Saturday, November 10, 2012 at City Hall in order to present the latest site design revisions that relate to the Big Four pedestrian and bikeway bridge project, and to answer possible questions from the public.
The Big Four Bridge bike and pedestrian pathway project in Southern Indiana came closer to on-the-ground reality when Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore introduced Wayne Estopinal of the design firm TEG, at a public meeting for an update on the design phase of the work. TEG plans to design and construct a plaza called Big Four Station. This is the beginning for the Indiana access to the bridge. TEG's first presentation, in July this year, asked for public feedback at that time, and the designers have worked hard to implement the suggestions presented at that meeting into the presentation which took place Saturday, Nov 11.
Features on the Indiana approach to the bridge include reducing light pollution, especially to nearby residents and adoption of more historic-style design by using acorn shaped light fixtures. Design modifications also included a redesign of the playground area.
The town of Cumberland, Indiana is a true life example of the beloved children’s story “The Little Engine That Could.” Just as the small switch engine stepped up when other engines shied away from the colossal task of pulling the heavy train over the hill; Cumberland resisted Indiana’s Department of Transportation planned massive road-widening project along the National Road and said, “I can keep my small town character; I can keep my pedestrian friendly main street; I can keep my identity along the historic National Road; and I can keep being Cumberlan
In a controversial ruling referring to easements on rail corridors converted to “interim” trail use in the State of Indiana, the Indiana Supreme Court on March 20, 2012 ruled that the land easements under which railroads had been built, would not apply to rail trails built on the former railroad right-of-ways. Not only, it seemed, would an interested party wanting to convert a rail corridor put up for abandonment into a trail have to negotiate with the rail line, but would have to buy out all the property owners of record that the line occupied as well.
This sent shockwaves through the trails community in Indiana.
Public meetings set for 3 Indy Connect rapid transit line studies
INDIANAPOLIS (Feb. 14, 2013) — The public is invited to learn more about the Indy Connect studies of the Red, Blue and Green rapid transit lines by attending one of nine public engagement meetings scheduled between Feb. 26 and March 14.
When fully implemented, the Indy Connect plan will add five rapid transit lines, double the current local bus service, and add Express Bus routes and community circulators. It would complement IndyGo’s recently announced Downtown Transit Center, a project that will serve as a central hub downtown for destinations, boardings and transfers.
Governor Mitch Daniels recently honored the Indiana Trails Fund, Inc. (ITF), as the recipient of an ice-cream social fundraiser, which was a featured event in the State Employees Combined Campaign (SECC).
Governor Mitch Daniels and Lt. Governor Becky joined state cabinet members as celebrity ice-cream scoopers for the event held on October 30, from 1-3 pm in the Indiana Government Center - South atrium in Indianapolis.
The Indiana Department of Natural Resources now is accepting nominations to fill Indiana Trails Advisory Board (TAB) vacancies.
The TAB advises and makes recommendations to DNR director Robert E Carter, Jr, on how to implement the approved state trails plan.
The voluntary board consists of 15 Indiana citizens who represent various constituent groups concerned with aspects of trail use and development.
Openings for trails group representatives include: All-terrain vehicle users; Equestrians; Four-Wheel drive users; Pedestrians; and Snowmobile users.
Cardinal Greenway Turkey Trot
If you are in the Muncie area on Thanksgiving, please be sure to check out the annual fundraiser this Thanksgiving, November 22, on Indiana's longest rail trail, the Cardinal Greenway. Or just head that way if you are looking for something to do for a good cause that day. One of the many ways trails make a difference in the communities on or around them, trails provide a special space for events like this.
Hats off to the staff and supporters of the Cardinal for all their hard work and effort in creating and maintaining this ribbon of railway for this and future generations to enjoy.
See the flyer for more information.
On October 21, 2012, a ribbon cutting officially opened the 18 acre Will Detmer Park, 4140 W. Vernal Pike on Bloomington’s west side. A place for everyone to invest time in the outdoors, the park features community gardens, a basketball court, shelter, and playground. The park also features a half acre pond surrounded by a trail loop that winds around the northern area of the park.
Another trail in front of Detmer Park allows one to travel almost from Highway 37, east of the park westward along Vernal Pike to Curry Pike.
According to Chuck Stephenson, Administrator of Monroe County Parks, bids will be received for the approximately four miles of trail planned to connect Karst Farm Park to the south to Vernal Pike very near to Detmer Park.
Fall Creek Trail Journey
Breaking News: City of Jeffersonville Approves Bike Route USBR #35
Jeffersonville is the 16th Indiana community to approve what will become a through-state, mapped route for touring cyclists from Laporte County in northern Indiana to Louisville, Kentucky.
As part of the United States national system of bicycle “interstates”, USBR #35 would connect from as far north as Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan, and, eventually, to as far south as New Orleans.
The United States Bicycle Route System proposes to establish a series of officially designated, cross country bikeways using existing roads, for long distance cyclists to follow while travelling by bike across America.
The City of Jeffersonville follows the communities of Sellersburg , Indiana and Clarksville, Indiana in endorsing the southernmost portion of this proposed route.
For further information, please contact: Mario Vian, Hoosier Rails to Trails Council, Inc.; P. O. Box 402, Indianapolis, IN 46206-0402; 317-237-9348 (o), 317-989-2040 (c); or email us
There are many different ways for travelers to explore a city, but for my money, viewing the sights from atop a bicycle seat trumps them all. It’s more leisurely than taking a cab or bus and allows you the flexibility to speed up, slow down, and gain access to places that are otherwise difficult to reach, like a café or shop tucked away down a narrow alley. At the same time, biking makes it easy to follow your own interests. As it’s significantly faster than walking, riding a bike allows you the luxury to first explore and then rule out attractions and neighborhoods that just don’t do it for you so you can proceed to those that do float your boat.
I’ve biked in many different cities throughout the world, and here are my conditions for a city that is truly bike-friendly:
• Clearly marked trails, paths, and/or bike lanes that are not just afterthoughts but part of a well-designed and planned network for cyclists. Better yet, tourism and bike-shop reps who go out of their way to help visitors explore their city by bike.
• Lots of sights and attractions that are easily accessible to cyclists and don’t require crossing miles of industrial or residential zones to get there.
• Low pollution, a minimum of hills, and beautiful surroundings.
HRTC Vice Chairman (left) leads discussion on connectivity.
Lori Feldbauer, business development manager of the local phone company called us together.
At the community center in Newpoint, Indiana, representatives met to discuss developing bicycle routes connecting Batesville and Greensburg, Indiana.
Hopes have been raised to develop routes that could factor in to bringing in bike touring dollars to the communities, including Newpoint, Indiana in between the two larger cities.
Property tax caps have helped stabilize home ownership for the economically besieged, but have caused the incremental funds going to local communities to dry up.
Paralleling the weather, communities seek relief from this economic drought.
How about a bike path? Indiana offers quaint small towns that offer Hoosier hospitality and plenty of local flavor and scenery. By creating recreational reasons to visit or stay for a while, bike paths connecting these towns and, perhaps, to other towns in the area, could provide some added tourist revenue to the coffers.
Connecting the Dots: Building a network of bike and pedestrian trails across Indiana.
True to form, the Hoosier Rails to Trails Council, Inc., continues to demonstrate their brand of initiative in promoting people friendly pathways for fun, exercise, and commerce across the Hoosier State.
Now meeting with groups in Bartholomew, Boone, Carroll, DeKalb, Delaware, Johnson , Hendricks, Lawrence, Marion, , Martin, Shelby, Wayne, White, Whitley, and other counties, HRTC has generated and supported proposals for city, county, and city to city bike routes to benefit the health and economic growth of these communities.
Participating in meetings, and by providing maps and website representation, the Council has undertaken to assist in connecting locales by helping plot out and establish non motorized routes providing a travel advantage for folks in a tough economy.
The Richmond Trails Summit: Richmond Innovation Center, March 17, 2012.
Scott Zimmerman, Richmond City Planner and President of the Society for the Preservation and Use of Resources (SPUR), corralled diverse groups of bike –ped advocates for this one day conference. The group of mountain bike enthusiasts, city, county, state officials, trail advocates and representatives from Ohio greenways included the American Discovery Trail (ADT), the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Healthy Communities of Henry County, the Indiana Trails Fund (ITF), the Hoosier Rails to Trails Council (HRTC), the Whitewater Canal Scenic Byway, National Road Heritage Trail (NRHT), the Vandalia Committee of Coatesville, Indiana, Bike Richmond, the City of Richmond, Richmond-Columbian properties, the Cope Center, the Richmond Adventure Mountain Biking (RAM), the Cardinal Greenway, the Hayes Arboretum, the Ohio Preble County Park District and the Friends of Preble County Park.
The meeting exceeded expectations in stirring up support for area trails and greenways and served to create a resonance within the group of trails advocates who unanimously supported the idea of another trail summit.
With calliope music wafting in the square, the inaugural Shelbyville Mayor’s bike ride went off without a hitch.
About a dozen adult riders came to join in the day’s fun which included free hotdogs and soda. “The Square” is actually downtown Shelbyville’s traffic circle enclosing a fountain, gathering area, and parking spaces. Fire, S.W.A.T. and other city vehicles on hand for display and a bright, sunny day lent a festive air to the event.
Historically, public art was meant to educate and inform citizens in political, religious or community matters, as well as depicting important events. Today, art in public spaces is symbolic of a community’s unique culture and the collaborative effort between cities, local and national artists, and the public. Public art not only provides aesthetic value to a location, it fosters creativity, it tells stories, and evokes community pride. It also honors those who have made great strides in making our communities and the world a better place and inspires the pioneers of the future. With so many choices of mediums available today, public art can be interactive, thought provoking and can sometimes be controversial.
“Farm Heritage Trail” is the overall title for a possibly 50-plus-mile north-south corridor that will stretch from Zionsville, near Indianapolis, to Lafayette. Some sources also want to target the north terminus for Prophetstown State Park, northeast of Lafayette where the Wabash and Tippecanoe Rivers merge.With connections coming from Indianapolis, in addition to possible links with northern Indiana, Chicago and Michigan, this route may eventually tie trail users into an even longer hike or ride opportunity.
Projects for funding are ongoing in several sectors. Late last year the main support group, Friends of Boone County Trails—submitted initial paperwork for environmental statements to the Boone County Commissioners. This step is necessary in order to apply and/or receive government funding to purchase property on the proposed route, specifically, for the Lebanon- Whitestown-Zionsville segment.
TRAIL NEWS & CONSTRUCTION UPDATES
If you have driven south on Interstate 65 from Indianapolis to Louisville , then you have crossed the eastern edge of an area known as Muscatatuck Bottoms. Its main expanse—some 25,600 acres, is west of I-65, where the two forks of the Muscatatuck River merge. The Bottoms that are visible from the interstate are south of Austin , where the large power-line towers always seem to have their feet in flooded woods and fields. Last summer, Governor Mitch Daniels announced plans for conservation of these wetlands. Their eventual protected status will plan for public access trails that foster appreciation of lands that still support climax forest species, large migrations of waterfowl, and serve as watershed for over one-thousand square miles of southeast Indiana . The Knobstone Trail extension will have to cross the Bottoms area when completed.
THE BRIDGES OF TWO COUNTIES (and STATES)
For several years now, Ohio River communities in Southern Indiana and Kentucky have been working on pedestrian and bicycle projects that will connect Jeffersonville , Clarksville , and New Albany on the north bank, with Louisville to the south. This week, a jolt of good news from governors and mayors on both sides of the river gave watchers of this project reason to cheer.
The Big Four Bridge was a railroad crossing, built in 1895 and closed in 1969, of the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St Louis company. The city of Jeffersonville has now pledged $2 million, along with Indiana ’s $8 million, in order to build a ramp up to the Big Four on the Indiana side. In addition, Kentucky pledged $12 million to complete the needed bridge decking. A spiral ramp approach on the Louisville side was finished last year.
The bridge refurbishing will put into place a major connector piece between trails and alternative transportation modes through the Kentucky and Indiana river communities here. A news release from newly-elected Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said construction of the Indiana-side ramp could begin later this year. Completion of the entire project is hoped to come by 2013.
Waterfront trails, parks, and the Big Four project have been ongoing on both sides of the Ohio River . This latest announcement comes at a time when city and state governments north and south have been looking for ways to decrease costs of two new bridge projects planned at Louisville in order to reduce congestion on the main Interstate 65 crossing there. Putting bike and ped access on the Big Four Bridge may enable cost-cutting measures on the other bridges, if they do not have to be built with non-car considerations. Currently, the older U. S. 31 or Second Street Clark Memorial Bridge does allow pedestrian and bicycle use.
TRAILS WORK OPPORTUNITIES
If you burn off energy by getting outside or find inspiration from trails work and exploration, maybe you would enjoy serving on Indiana ’s Trails Advisory Board. From time to time, the state’s Department of Natural Resources announces openings on this board through its Division of Outdoor Recreation.
Twenty New Miles of Greenway Opened.
$3.4 Million Promotes Walking and Biking to 39 Indiana Schools.
INDIANAPOLIS – Students will soon find it safer to walk or bike to 39 Indiana schools thanks to $3.4 million in awards announced today by the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT), the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) and the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE). Now in its fifth year, Indiana’s Safe Routes to School program promotes walking and biking among schoolchildren by investing Federal transportation funds in approved engineering, education and enforcement programs.
HRTC PRESENTS: A HILLY HUNDRED RETROSPECTIVE
The Hoosier Rails to Trails Council (HRTC), had a prominent presence at this years’ forty third Hilly Hundred the premier ride and fundraiser of the Central Indiana Bicycling Coalitions.
Set in the splendor of the rolling hills of southern Indiana, the “Hilly” draws crowds of cyclists from all over the U.S.
Features of the two day ride include thousands of feet of climb and descent with total course distance at just over 100 miles.
A booth display described HRTC involvement in planning the Indiana segment of the cross U.S. bicycle route system (USBRS)*, the Indiana trails website, and the organizations’ bike/ped advocacy .
Visitors from as far away as Georgia and Oregon, Washington State, Delaware and New York along with fellow Hoosiers, shared stories and received information about Indiana trails, website references and trail building information at the booth. The interactive booth allowed for favored trails tracing on an Indiana map and offered a looped computer display of the trail videography of Guido Maregatti from the website.
Over 5400 participants and volunteers enjoyed making new friends, facing challenges, overcoming obstacles and having plenty of fun at this most celebrated event of the Indiana cycling community.
*The U. S. Bicycle Route System is a proposed system of interstate corridors connecting the United States sponsored by AASHTO, (the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials), and Adventure Cycling.
A TRAIL OF A DIFFERENT COLOR—FOLLOWING THE BLUE LINE POGUE
Trails don’t always have to be paved, or even gravel, stone, or shaved grass in order to allure wandering feet down their winding tracks. Ever since the early 1900s, the Indianapolis creek called Pogues Run has, for a good part of its length, been doomed to meander a subterranean bed. It was routed through an underground aqueduct as the city grew over it. But it’s still there, and meander it does. However, thanks to project artist Sean Derry’s efforts, the Pogue no longer has to be forgotten under our cars and economies.
Lima Road Trail in Fort Wayne Indiana.
The trail system will tie some heavily commercialized roadways, notably Lima Road/Highway 3 and Dupont Road in northern Fort Wayne to scenic areas, providing new commercial and recreational cycling and pedestrian venues along established vehicular transportation corridors.
During this year (2010), the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT), will pour 8 foot wide pavements on both sides of Lima Road/Highway 3, during the road widening efforts currently underway for the one and one half miles from Broadmoor Drive to Dupont Road, going north.
INDIANA MOUNTAIN LION SIGHTING
If you're planning a remote trail hike in Southern Indiana, such as in Deam Wilderness, or the Knobstone, you may already be aware that there was a DNR-confirmed news release and photograph in May this year of a cougar in Greene County, not far west of some of these well-hiked areas. This Greene County picture was taken by DNR personnel who set up a camera system where the animal had been sighted.
There have been sightings and scat reported in Michigan for some time, and last year in Clay County, Indiana. The Indiana DNR cannot tell if Indiana's confirmed information was that of a wild cougar or one possibly released from captivity.
In any case, DNR's Gary Langell reminds concerned hikers who may be in a position to encounter one, the mountain lion does not stalk its prey. Rather, they wait near an area, for example, that is regularly traveled by deer or other game.
The last reported sighting of a wild cougar in Indiana was some 150 years ago. For further information on mountain lions and their behavior, see www.easterncougarnet.org/. To report a sighting in your area, get in touch with the conservation officer nearest you. Clear photographs are helpful as well.
Off and Running: The B & O Trail
As previously promised, Hoosier Rails to Trails Council will attempt to answer a number of inquiries about local trails presented at the Earth Day celebration at White River State Park in Indianapolis this year.
Between 200 and 300 visitors who stopped by our booth received information about rail -trails and other types of trails and the HRTC website and many grabbed a copy of the latest HRTC newsletter.
The most frequently asked about trail was the B & O Trail on Indianapolis' extreme west side.
FORT WAYNE & ALLEN COUNTY TRAILS
Trail builders and enthusiasts in Fort Wayne have been some of the busiest in the state when it comes to manifesting their community’s trail network plans. With Indiana ’s second largest metropolis, Allen County residents want to do more to connect non-motorized transport in various parts of the city and region.
A Visit From Ray LaHood
It is about 7:30 on this bright but overcast morning. Squad cars parked on side streets have their red and blue lights on as I approach the intersection.
Children accompanied by parents and grandparents from four different directions converge on the school building, under the watchful eyes of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.
The schoolyard in the aging neighborhood of middle, upper middle and upper class homes has cops, newspeople an overhead helicopter and a curious number of cyclists milling around.
Evansville - A Day in the Life
HRTC staff recently took a weekend tour of the Southwestern toe of the state.
We launched an inspection and discovery tour of the bike routes, lanes, trailways developed and under development in the Evansville area, and following trail holdings of our sister agency, the Indiana Trails Fund, Inc.
Upon our arrival we met with the gracious folks of the Evansville Metropolitan Planning Organization, formerly known as the Evansville Urban Transportation Study (U.T.E.S.).
David Stensaas, Transportation Planner, the ‘bike-ped go-to guy’ according to Brad Mills, Executive Director of the MPO, provided Jane Conrad, Guido Maregatti and Mario Vian a knowledgeable and intense description of the trails in and around the Evansville area, as well as trail proposals and the likelihood of their completion.
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.