Wednesday, June 12th, 2013
A few items hit the news recently about better transport in Indianapolis. The first is this Streetfilm featuring Mayor Ballard talking about his bicycling initiatives. If the video doesn’t display for you, click here.
One item highlighted is the Indy Cultural Trail, a truly unique downtown trail system that took eight miles of lanes away from cars and gave them to people in a system that includes a super high-quality separated bike path, public art, unique lighting and signage, etc. I’ve been hoping to do a story on this for some time, but don’t have photography yet. Stay tuned.
Another is an announcement of a 500 car all electric car share system based on the Paris Autolib’ program. This will be the largest all-electric cars share system in the US. It’s also the first foray into the US for this company. The system will feature 1,200 charging stations at 200 locations that are available to the public, and the city and others are looking to use it to reduce their fleet size and also to support the city’s goal of converting its entire vehicle fleet to “post-oil” technology. This is a pretty sizable system for a city like Indy, though it appears that full rollout is years away, so this is an aspirational announcement.
There’s also a bike share system that was just announced, but it’s very small and appears to only be focused on the Cultural Trail.
Of course I’d be remiss if I did not mention the huge elephant in the room here: the Indianapolis Department of Public Works. Despite these first class types of endeavors, DPW still can’t build a decent street. The streets they build in the urban core are actually worse than what a lot of suburbs are building. Both the Cultural Trail and a similar project on Georgia St. were outsourced to non-DPW designers to make them happen. Until an updated street design manual with 21st century approaches to street design is put in place, there’s no way Indy can get an overall grade of anything higher than “Incomplete” for its liveable streets agenda.
In the meantime, the Cultural Trail, car share, etc. can be celebrated and enjoyed.
Oh, I apparently missed this follow-up video that highlights the green stormwater detention and landscaping on the Cultural Trail. If the video doesn’t display for you, click here.