Prospect, 29th & 30th Street Bike Lanes

Our metro area continues to argue about the need for and how to pay for public transportation expansion. Frustrating as it may be, we are not without some glimmers of excitement when it comes to deciding how we want to move around from point A to point B.

If you have been paying even a little bit of attention, Urban Indy has covered in detail many new cycling related projects around the metro area. This year alone, we have covered the expansion of the Fall Creek Trail, brought you news regarding the 71st Street & College Bike-ways as well as providing in depth coverage of Indy’s first bike boxes.

Prospect Street Plan (image credit: Google Maps)
Prospect Street Plan (image credit: Google Maps)

The latest in the saga of bicycling related infrastructure expansion comes at us starting with Prospect Street, (click to open link to city’s website) in the Fountain Square neighborhood. Fountain Square, already home to a leg of the Cultural Trail as well as Indy’s first Cycle Track will enjoy increased cycling visibility with the addition of bike lanes along Prospect Street starting in the square, and travelling east all the way to Southeastern Ave. While the lanes will be of traditional design (single lane next to traffic) it represents additional visibility to cyclists. Additionally, a lane of parking will be removed along portions of the south side of Prospect to allow for the new lanes. The lanes themselves will be 6 feet wide in this area as well, wider than standard 5 foot wide lanes.

In addition to the Prospect Street lanes, a new multi-use trail will be constructed along the east side of Keystone Avenue connecting the Pleasant Run Trail from north of the old coke plant, to the portion along Pleasant Run Parkway creating even more access to the city’s expanding system of greenways. The Prospect Street lanes will intersect this new trail. Taken as a whole, the Prospect Street bike lane project in conjunction with the Keystone Ave trail represent a nice expansion of cycling infrastructure where none currently exists.

Also contained within the same project (from the City) is a plan to add new lanes and a multi-use trail to portions of 29th & 30th Streets on the near north side. Beginning on the west side of the White River, at the intersection of 30th Street and the White River Wapahani Trail, a new two way multi-use trail will be constructed along the north side of 30th street. The two lane dedicated & curb separated multi-use trail will run from here to the Canal Tow Path offering a much improved transition for cyclists in this area. Currently, riders travelling south on the Canal Tow Path, and who wish to transfer to the White River Trail, must traverse confusing switch backs to make the transition. The new multi-use trail will clear this intersection up. East of here, sharrows will be painted on the pavement to Illinois Street.

29th & 30th Street Plan (image credit: Google Maps)
29th & 30th Street Plan (image credit: Google Maps)

29th Street will also be modified to add a bike lane where it splits with 30th street at the White River Trail. However, east of Riverside Drive it will also contain sharrows (no bike lanes) preserving three lanes of 1 way automobile right of way, as it currently exists.

Sadly, the opportunity to put 29th or 30th street on a lane diet, or convert them to 2 way streets was not taken here. Even a single lane reduction on either street and replacing a driving lane with a parking lane would have done wonders towards calming traffic speeds on these 1 way arteries. One has to question why these streets remain of 1 way design east of the White River and west of Central Avenue. Contained between these two limits, one could argue, are the most important cultural destinations of the near north such as the Children’s Museum and Ivy Tech, both highly automobile oriented campuses. Converting the east/west streets would be a good first step towards creating a much more inviting pedestrian and cycling oriented area, an environment sorely lacking in this neighborhood.

While these projects represent some key improvements to the bicycle and pedestrian network, and they are welcome in that regard, automobile throughput remains a key criteria in DPW’s design intent.

Comments 13

  • The 29th/30th ramp system at I-65 is probably the answer you’d get from DPW and INDOT as to why these streets remain one-way in that area.

  • Regarding the Prospect bike facility…it’s parallel to the existing Pleasant Run Trail; goes essentially to and from the same places (Twin Aire/Fountain Square).

    It would seem more appropriate to take a lane of English Ave. from Fletcher Place to the Pleasant Run Trail (just slightly longer) which would give southeast side residents a straight bike shot into downtown, and provide a protected bike expressway more or less straight east-west when considered together with the Pennsy and Pleasant Run trails.

    Further, the “Keystone Kluge” part of this project duplicates a proposal to punch the Pleasant Run Trail through the Citizens Coke site from Prospect & Pleasant Run Creek.

    • The English Ave thought isn’t a bad one.

    • English would actually connect Irvington into Fountain Square and downtown. Would be a nice addition.

      Enhancements to the PR trail on English (Where you get off the trail and either take the sidewalk or on English before getting on PR to get back to the trail) would be a great enhancement too. That is one of the gaps in the trail keeps less experienced riders I know off of that trail.

  • Look at Chris answering my question before I even ask it. 29th/30th being one ways is just plain stupid. I don’t understand how this happens.

    Next, I hate, hate, hate sharrows. They are basically a reminder to drivers to get annoyed ahead of time because there might be bikes around. I would rather have no sharrows on the street than those useless markings.

    As for Prospect, given the connection to the Cultural Trail and the Shelby St biketrack, it seems like the city could have really made a statement about Fountain Square being sort of the nexus of the city’s bike infrastructure by making Prospect a biketrack as well. I had an email conversation with Jamison about this but it didn’t seem like there was much willingness to shrink traffic lanes to accommodate such a structure. At least parking was removed for it and the lanes are wider, but I still feel more could be done.

    Finally, the project plans sheet for the Prospect lanes shows that there will be a bike lane from Morris (where the East St lanes currently end) to Garfield Park. Nice! My kids swim down there so that will be super convenient, although biking on the non-sharrowed street down there wasn’t too bad during the mid-morning.

    • “They are basically a reminder to drivers to get annoyed ahead of time because there might be bikes around.” – I love this comment about sharrows.

      I started to get excited when I read about a new two-way separated trail along 30th Street. Then, I got to the part about it only being two blocks long. 🙁

      It is definitely about time they do something better to connect that gap in the Pleasant Run Trail on Keystone. I didn’t click on the link to see if there were any design details, but I hope it’s a significant improvement. But as Chris mentioned, with the coke plant gone, why wouldn’t they just complete the trail adjacent to the creek (run)?

      • I don’t even notice the sharrows half the time on my bike. I can’t imagine drivers do either. Waste of paint, money, and time. I’d rather have a 1/4 mile of bike lane than a full mile of sharrows.

      • Paul, the proposal to punch the PR Trail through the Coke Plant site is germinating in the ROW effort. I saw a conceptual design at the last Pleasant Run ROW Committee meeting, but I’m not sure if it’s up on the ROW website.

        NOTHING about this Prospect proposal was discussed, even though the Pleasant Run ROW committee is looking at creating a “node” at “Prospect Falls”, which is where the creek passes under both Prospect and the CSX line bridges, and where the trail currently dead-ends before doubling back to Keystone on sidewalk.

        Left hand, let me introduce you to right hand. Right hand, left. /eyeroll

        • I think we all know that it will be years (decades?) before the coke site is cleaned up. This Keystone connection will fix a current “black eye” of Pleasant Run Greenway that puts users on a 5′ wide sidewalk adjacent to 4 lanes of traffic. The current way-finding in this area is horrible. We vetted this solution through Indy Parks & Greenways and they were thrilled about it. I think it will be a great stop gap until the coke plant is cleaned up and you can get the greenway back to the creek. DPW knows about the ROW ideas (the office of sustainability is a division of DPW afterall) and a simple wayfinding sign can direct users to the “falls” if there is concern about that.

        • I don’t think this explanation is even close to a good excuse for wasting the limited funds available for bike facilities to upgrade the Keystone/Prospect Sidewalk Trail or to create a Prospect bikeway.

          Keep in mind that part of my criticism was that the Prospect route duplicates the existing Pleasant Run Trail/Shelby Bike Track, while failing to provide Irvington and Christian Park neighborhoods (plus those further east to Cumberland) with a direct connection to downtown via a protected bike facility.

          The Michigan/NY bike lanes are NOT a “protected bike facility”.

          The new Greenways plan does not have a trail that directly connects Irvington to Downtown.

          Here, I am playing much more neighborhood advocate than analyst.

          The Coke plant site does not have to be “cleaned up” to run a trail through it from Prospect straight north (parallel to Keystone) 0.3 miles to Pleasant Run Trail in front of Kroger Twin Aire. All it needs is chain link on either side and 12′ of pavement. That would be a far better use of the money than “upgrading” the Keystone Sidewalk Trail.

  • Not included in the engineering plans (it’s in the specs), this project will also install bike racks, bike corrals, and cycle aid stations around the city. Racks and corrals will be installed around the circle, the market, Mass Ave, Broad Ripple, Banker’s Life, the CCB, and various other locations. Cycle aid stations will be installed in strategic locations along the Monon and Cultural trail. In addition, DPW ordered extra racks, corrals, and aid stations so that they can install them as needed in the future. Here’s what they will look like:

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