Recently, a massive pile of praise was heaped upon Indianapolis civic leadership with the opening of the Cultural Trail and the soon to come B-Cycle Bike Share. National critics weighed in from many corners finally giving credit where it is due to Indianapolis and the progressive cycling infrastructure finally being implemented here.
Fresh off of that, I am pleased to write about another positive cycling infrastructure investment that will soon make cycling on one of Indy’s busiest thoroughfares a little bit safer and perhaps, entice people to use the facilities a little bit more.
Currently, contractors are working on repaving Illinois Street from 16th Street northward as well as repairing the bridge over Fall Creek. Last year, the local rumor mill churned out a tidbit regarding potential changes to the bike lane along this stretch that would come with the repaving project and this week I was happy to learn that those rumors are indeed true.
According to DPW, Â from 22nd to 32nd on Illinois Street,Â on street parking will be removed along the east side of the street, the bike lane moved over against the curb, and a 4 foot buffer painted on providing much needed breathing room for cyclists along what feels like a highway during afternoon rush hour. Currently, cyclists are provided a single stripe between them and a lane of automobile traffic. Unfortunately, this will only be a thermo-striped barrier with no physical separations in place however, the double strip design will add a level of separation that does not exist on any of Indianapolis’ other on-street bike lanes.
According to NACTO (National Association of City Transportation Officials), a buffered bike lane is defined as,
“Buffered bike lanes are conventional bicycle lanes paired with a designated buffer space separating the bicycle lane from the adjacent motor vehicle travel lane and/or parking lane.”
Something similar to the picture at left, which I snapped on a trip to Portland in 2010, is similar to what we can expect to see along Illinois Street.
While it would be nice to see this treatment added to the entire length of Illinois Street from downtown, this stretch will provide cyclists a much safer means of crossing Fall Creek Parkway compared to what exists today. Additionally, it will provide this access all the way from south of Fall Creek, to the north side of the Children’s Museum.
With the investments in this area taking shape, a much improved level of cycling access will be available for cyclists next year. With the perceived safer cycling conditions resulting from the combination of the Fall Creek Trail extension and the new buffered bike lane, it is hoped that increased bicycle patronage to places such as Ivy Tech as well as the Children’s Museum will occur.