According to a story last weekon local media outlet WTHR, the Monon Trail north of 75th Street is planned to be closed for drainage work this coming October. The report indicates that the trail will be closed for 30-45 days while drainage work, repaving and widening of the trail can be performed. There is a slight chance that work could be pushed off until spring, when ridership is sparse, but the final plan is not set in stone.
Those who use the Monon to get to work, to get groceries or simply to exercise will agree with me when you say, “Wait, what? CLOSED?” The initial plan being pitched by DPW is that the Monon would close completely so that work can be completed quickly.
Indeed, drainage work will likely go a long way towards curing the ill’s that occur in this area. When a significant amount of rain occurs, the side yard of the private property located at the corner of 75th & Westfield fills up with water and I can only surmise that the planned drainage work will aim to cure this ill. Additionally, the story indicates that the trail will be widened which will also be welcome since the trail is narrow as it heads north of 75th street.
However, is the 30 to 45 day time period of total closure worth the hardship that riders will endure? For those who rely upon a bike to get to places north or south of here, this will be a MAJOR issue. The Monon is the only safe bicycle artery in this area. When you examine the map below, College Ave or Westfield Blvd appear to be reasonable options in the interim. However, both of these roads are very automobile oriented in nature, lacking sidewalks or bicycle side paths and generally take cyclists far out of the way of the Monon. Additionally, if you have ever driven on either of these stretches, observed average speed would make it unsafe for a trained cyclists let alone novice riders or walkers. One could make that case that either road could be used if certainÂ accommodationsÂ were made for cyclists to travel with confidence on them such as temporary striping or soft bollards.
Jamison Hutchins with the Indianapolis Office of Sustainability encouraged any interested parties to voice suggestions about possible detours or other ways to avoid the hardship that will be posed to cyclists by this project by attending a forum that will be hosted on Tuesday, September 18thÂ at the nearby Indiana School for the Blind. The forum will be held from 5:30pm to 6:30pm.