Potential Pedestrian Bridge east of Downtown

An abandoned railroad bridge over the downtown interstate sits unused, but lurking with possible potential.  The bridge can be seen from aerial view here:

Let’s look closer. Last week I met up with Curt and he took some photos of the bridge and its surroundings:


Such a project could potentially display the existing infrastructure such as the railroad ties and lines, similar to the High Line in NYC.

This bridge lies just to the north of the Standard Oil Company building that I profiled a few months ago. I have a penchant for revisiting this relatively empty stretch of land due to its untapped potential and proximity to downtown.   This area, in conjunction with neighboring Fletcher Place, has the advantage of being the only place in the downtown area where the interstate runs below the city’s street grid.  It could be a great project for innovative ideas to stitch the city back together, from one side of the interstate to the other.

Comments 16

  • Hey Kevin, has there been any actual talk or even floating rumors about any continuation of the Cultural Trail after the current plans are finished? It seems like this would be a great place for an extension to the current trail.

  • Good idea Kevin. I’m all for anything that better connects neighborhoods separated by the interstates. This also seems like a very inexpensive project.

    The blocks to the east and west of this bridge suffer from fragmented street grids. I’ll add ideas for a few concurrent projects to address this.
    1,) Reconnect Concord and Davidson across the old railroad ROW.
    2,) Convert College to a two-way street from Virginia up to Washington (I would argue this could go all the way up to St. Clair.)
    3.) Run the pedestrian walk in the old rail ROW along Lord St., over East St., and connect to the Cultural Trail and NoSo at Virginia Ave.
    4.) Make necessary infrastructure improvements to construct new apartment housing, and space for small business.

  • Is this going to be an eventual part of the Pensy? Or is this a different dead rail?

  • Something I’ve wondered is why I-65 runs on the near east side of downtown through the city’s most stable and historic neighborhoods, rather than on the lower-income, more industrialized near west side.

    They did get something right with putting a portion of the highway below grade allowing for more crossings.

  • West Street was originally supposed to be an expressway, too, Eric.

  • @Eric . . . IUPUI’s grand expansion plan is the only reason the interchange was not built further to the west. Also when the interchanges were built, Haughville was the primary destination neighborhood for many people living in Lockfield and the old near northside.

  • Great idea, Kevin. How ’bout pitching it to KIB for a Lilly Day of Service transformative project?

  • Great opportunity to connect the Near East with an E-West leg, which could definitely connect the Cultural Trail in the future. It would be nice to expose the existing infrastructure within the design, for sure. And, although the Cultural Trail may not have the cool design elements like the HighLine, it at least connects our neighborhoods……more than acting like a museum, IMPO.

  • Great idea to keep this bridge but let’s keep in mind that a lot of our homeless are in this area and deserve some space on this planet as much as the rest of us. We need to keep the bridge and especially make sure the people have legal access to cross it but some of us are less fortunate and deserve respect too.

    The High Line in NYC was much cooler when it was wild and abandoned than it is now after spending millions of dollars on it. All these things really need is basic maintenance to keep them structurally sound and legal paperwork done to make it public.

  • The bridge sides are very low, so I would think a similar cage like the Monon/Fall Creek bridge would be required. And there’s the apparent thrill some get from tossing objects onto highway traffic from such structures that needs to be considered.

    But with Bates Ave right there, this will probably be a hard sell.

  • This would be a great location for monumental artwork. Sorry late to the discussion.

  • I would offer a complement to the Market Street corridor just to the north. The Market street corridor while a welcome east to downtown gateway is not very pedestrian friendly.

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