Sunday, May 18, 2008

Indianapolis: Editorial encourages bike commuting

Image of Indianapolis Cultural Trail rendering
From the Indianapolis Star, 05.17.08:

Hardy commuters show reach of pedal power
Our position: Encouraging bicycling would be a sound investment in the city’s quality of life.

Want to save hundreds of dollars a year, get yourself in better physical condition and bestow the gift of cleaner air on your neighbors?

It's easy. Ride a bike to work and other destinations, and move out of Indianapolis.

We're kidding. It's not easy. And while it's certainly not reason enough to forsake this fine city, bicycling is especially not easy in Indianapolis.

Friday's annual Bike to Work Day was an occasion to remind ourselves that the mecca of motor sports is far back in the pack when it comes to promoting self-propelled transportation.

Tied with four other cities for the nation's second worst rate of bicycle commuting, Indy has about five miles of designated bike lanes among its 3,000 miles of roadways. More are planned by city government, provided federal funds can be obtained; but there's no soft-pedaling the fact that those who choose to defy $4 gasoline prices via healthful means of mobility will have to work at it--and risk danger with their hardship. (Read more.)
This editorial frankly acknowledges Indianapolis' relatively dismal bicycling environment, and hails the city's efforts to foster more bike commuting, which will include several privately-funded trail projects.

Image: Indianapolis Cultural Trail.
Visit: Indiana Bicycle Coalition
Visit City planning more bike lanes, WTHR.com (Indianapolis)
Visit: Give it a go, Indy: Bike to Work Day is Friday, Indianapolis Star
Visit: Commuters hit trails for Bike to Work Day, WTHR.com (Indianapolis)
Visit: Bike to Work Day Gets Takers in Gas Crunch, TheINDYChannel.com
Visit: A new spin on commuting, Indianapolis Star
Visit: Hoosiers urged to bike to work, Indianapolis Star
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips Site

5 comments:

Amy said...

I recently began bike commuting in Indy. Most motorists have been courteous, but frankly, there's an overwhelming mentality here that cars own the roads and that everyone must use lots of gas, not to mention that it should be guaranteed at a cheap price. Indy has never been known as particularly enlightened/progressive on any topic...

The new cultural trail, like the Monon trail, are not good commuting routes anyway because they are full of walkers, strollers, dogs, etc. You can't get anywhere in a reasonable amount of time. I want to get to work, not lollygag, hence the streets for my bike.

Funny how we found lots of cash for a new football stadium but can't paint some lines on the streets.

Anonymous said...

Great ! The truth is here !

French Commuter by Bicycle

cmccullough said...

I know that this post is rather old but wanted to reply, anyway. I live in Indianapolis and commute by bicycle about 85% of the time, Winter and Summer. I agree with everything that Amy posted and wanted to add a little to that. Indy is absolutely horrible for pedestrians and bicyclists. The previous administration and the current administration had and have no desire to make this city healthier or more bicycle friendly. The current Mayor got up in front of lots of bicyclists a few months back touting how he is going to make this city healthier and more bicycle friendly by painting two new bike lanes on Michigan and New York streets. I agree that this is great but come on, only two bike lanes when this city has more than 3000 miles of streets. The Mayor said that there just isn't any money for more lanes. What's even sadder is that the bike lanes are riddled with potholes. I've complained to the city about these holes and a month later, the holes are still there. Like Amy mentioned, funny how we found all kinds of money for a new football stadium but can't seem to find money for more bike lanes. The Monon is a great trail but in no way is it a good route to get anywhere in the city. It starts (and ends) at 10th street downtown and heads north (to all the rich areas of the city). There is nothing that runs anywhere close to where I live on the southeast side. Traffic is terrible, the streets are in horrible shape, and, quite frankly, people who drive vehicles in this city would rather hit us than wait for a safe time to pass. I had a fat woman smoking a cigarette yell at me to get up on the sidewalk. I caught up to her at a traffic light and explained the laws. She told me that next time she'll just have to push me up on the sidewalk. This is the mentality that we are dealing with in this city. I'm tired of talking with the city's administration to make this a better city for bicyclists. It would be easier to beat my head against a brick wall. My wife and I are looking for jobs in other cities or states so we can move away from this city.

MadFlyTom said...

I second what cmccullough says about moving out of Indianapolis and Indiana in general due to, among many other things, the fact that cyclists are 1 rung above roadkill here for a majority of drivers.

I commute 7 miles each way to my job on the west side of town. About half of my commute is happily peddled through neighborhood streets, thanks to urban sprawl for 1 plus - nice, low traffic streets. The other half is spent out on higher traffic county roads, where motorists routinely go 20-30 mph over the speed limit.

If I go a day without being yelled or honked at by some stupid hoosier, I consider that a good day. Two weeks ago I was caught in a thunderstorm on my way home - a really bad downpour. Obviously, due to the fact that I could hardly see and I was being hailed on, I wasn't going very fast, just trying to find shelter. (Storms come in fast here, sometimes without much warning. I left work and it was sunny on this day...) I was honked at twice - by cars going the OTHER DIRECTION. I guess that was their way of saying "you're a fool". Later, when the rain had subsided a bit, I was ran off the road by a city road crew truck, which I could hear speed up when he was passing me, and then swerve over waaaay to close. I had to move over to avoid his mirror, which I heard whiz just by my shoulder.

The cities do nothing. The state seems to think people only ride bikes for fun. I'm moving out west, and a criteria of the move is that I can ride to work, and that the town I live and work in has to be recognized by the league of american bicyclists as a bicycle friendly town. I give up on Indy.

mAdGrOoVyIsT said...

Ditto on looking to leave and on cmmc's comments.