Cyclists, Kayakers, Canoeists and Lafayette Road Bridge

The Department of Public Works held a public meeting last week about the closure of Lafayette Road between March and October 2009 for the reconstruction of the bridge over Eagle Creek. Most of the discussion centered on traffic concerns, fire protection and the lone affected business; Countryside Garden Center. My question centered on the future use of the bridge and the approaching apron and shoulder for uses related to recreation. Currently the Gilmer Bike Trail narrows dangerously on both sides of the bridge, forcing cyclists over the white line and into the path of traffic on the bridge. This problem will be corrected with a much wider shoulder at grade on both sides of the new bridge. Unfortunately nothing is being done to clarify the use of the bridge aprons for parking cars used by kayakers and canoeists or launching their craft. This is a missed opportunity. Over a year ago several representatives from TPAN met with bridge engineers and city representative Bill Chappell to discuss the use of the bridge area for uses related to accessing Eagle Creek. There was consensus that fishing from the bridge was unsafe and would not be tolerated. Those of us who use the bridge on a regular basis for launching kayaks know that it is an ideal spot to put in. Since Eagle Creek Park owns the 10 acres between Eagle Creek and Lafayette Road (north of the bridge) we encouraged the city’s bridge planners meet with their brethren across the aisle at Indy Parks to discuss coordinating use of the parks land for parking launch vehicles and perhaps even assessing a pass fee for parking on the site to defray improvement costs. Nothing came of it of course because Eagle Creek Park and its parent Indy Parks are broke. The bridge engineers were not aware of any planned prohibition of launching post-completion so it is our hope the free and safe use of parking and launching watercraft will be allowed to continue.

About Ross Reller

I am pleased you have expressed interest in learning more about the historic Traders Point area in Indianapolis, Indiana. From 1980 to 1982 I was employed in the PR department at Conner Prairie Museum in Hamilton County. There I learned about William Conner, an important figure in Indiana's pioneer days. A decade later I became interested in the history of the Traders Point area and was surprised to learn that William Conner had been the first land owner in the area. In 1823 he acquired, through the Federal land office in Brookville, a patent for an 80 acre tract carved by Eagle Creek and an Indian trail that was about to be named the first toll roadway through the township (Lafayette Road). Thirty years later a village took shape within this tract. A grain mill on the creek, houses, churches, stores, restaurants, and two gas stations would take shape here in the creek valley hamlet of Traders Point. By 1962 all improvements (except a farmer's co-op) had been removed by the Indianapolis Flood Control Board to make way for Interstate 65 and a new reservoir. This blog is dedicated to preserving evidence of this historic area but I will occasionally use it to discuss related topics. To activate this follow, simply click the confirm button below. If you don't want to follow, ignore this message and we'll never bother you again. I am also a member of the Old Pleasant Hill Cemetery, a non profit association still selling burial plots for those who would like to spend all eternity in Traders Point, and I am an officer in the Pike Township Historical Society and the Traders Point Association of Neighborhoods.
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