The Remarkable Success of the Indianapolis Cultural Trail

One of the unsung leaders in bike infrastructure in the United States is the unassuming Midwestern city of Indianapolis. The city’s “Cultural Trail,” an eight-mile biking and walking path through the heart of the city, has gained national attention for its thoughtful design and careful integration with the city fabric.

Today, young Indy resident Laura Granieri at Network blog The Grid says the relatively new amenity has changed Indianapolis for the better:

In the past year, the Indianapolis Cultural Trail has received attention and support from both native Hoosiers and people across the country. Cities such as Portland, Oregon and Cleveland, Ohio have voiced their support (and jealousy) of the eight-mile bike path that connects five of the six Indianapolis Cultural Districts.

So, what does this type of infrastructure mean for the residents and visitors of Indianapolis? The Cultural Trail provides a safe and spacious pathway for bicyclists and pedestrians to utilize on their daily commute or for recreation as a way to enjoy the city. Many sections of the trail feature a split path: one side for walkers and runners and the other for bicyclists. It also features a series of public art pieces and The Glick Peace Walk that celebrates twelve historic individuals who peacefully led progressive movements.

Not only is it functional, but the trail is also environmentally and aesthetically pleasing. Made up of pavers and lined with landscaping and bioswales, the Indianapolis Cultural Trail is every environmentalist’s dream. A stretch of the path on North Street even features a canopy of solar panels.

There is seldom a day where people are not out enjoying the trail by foot or on bike. The Cultural Trail has been deemed one of Indianapolis’ greatest assets, and I hope to see it grow as a bike share program comes to the city in the Spring 2014.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Brooklyn Spoke remarks on the feeling of freedom he gets every year on New York City marathon day, when his young daughter can bike around in the streets without fear of being run over. And Transit Miami wonders what kind of impression the city gives visitors with its transit facilities at the airport.