A few weeks ago, Mayor Ballard started a pitch known as theÂ Neighborhood Investment Plan. Â The plan calls for large investment in bike lanes, greenways, and sidewalks, as well as a similar amount devoted to more standard street projects. Â I will remain neutral on the economics and politics behind the plan (and to be honest, those subjects are simply not my forte). Â Instead, I’ll touch on some of the highlights of the potential improvements. Â First, here is a look at the projects by township:
Some of the bigger individual projects in the proposal include:
- Bike Lanes over the White River on Kessler Boulevard. Â Bridges are sadly more often not barriers for cycling so it will be good to see this issue remedied. Â Sidewalks may also be added in sections that desperately needs them near Meridian Street and the Monon Trail.
- Bike Lanes on East 46th Street and Arlington Avenue. Â These have likely been in the city’s short term plans for a while now.
- Eagle Creek Greenway finally gets constructed.
- Completion of the Fall Creek Trail from Meridian to 10th Street, and a new Pogue’s Run Trail.
- A good amount of new sidewalks in Warren Township.
Unfortunately this plan gives even more fuel to the fire that the city has long favored the northside. The plans for southern Marion County are smaller in scope, and there are no new separated greenways or bike lanes.
I’m of the opinion that the city needs to make investments in its infrastructure, so in general I support this plan. Â However, I can’t help but be a little concerned about the other parts of the map labeled “traffic” “intersection” and “street”. Â One of the places labeled “street” is scheduled to be widened, Â East 82nd Street past Hague Road. Â I hope the city takes a look at these plans and figures out if they really want to encourage even more drivers on these roads, or if they can look for other alternatives first. Â Road widening seems less like neighborhood investment and more like the status quo, which hasn’t done the city much good to date.
Regardless of whether or not the Mayor’s plan gets the green light, I do hope we find a way to continue the momentum for better cycling and pedestrian infrastructure in the city. Â These improvements too important for the long-term future of the city to be jettisoned by political disagreements.