Is the city backtracking on bridge bike lanes?

This morning’s Star article infers the bike lanes promised for the bridge over Eagle Creek may be deleted. That’s a slap in the face to cyclists. Both sides of Lafayette Road from Eagle Creek Park on the south to the Boone County line on the north have shoulders designated for cyclists. Renamed the Gordon Gilmer Bike Trail, this four-mile system passes over the bridge in both directions so the bridge absolutely must have wide shoulders too. Cyclists don’t like being suddenly steered into vehicle traffic lanes for obvious reasons!

Gordon Gilmer was an Indianapolis City Council member from District 1. Elected for the first time in 1971 and re‑elected for six additional terms, he helped Pike Township (and Indianapolis) grow and improve. He was chairman of the City County Council Parks Committee for many years and realized how parks impact the quality of life in urban and suburban areas. He chaired the Transportation Committee and he and I had one opportunity to work together (with great results). At the time we built our home near the intersection at Lafayette and Moore Roads in 1989, Lafayette Road traffic did not have to stop at Moore Road. Speeds at the intersection were frequently over 70 miles per hour thanks to a wide four lane roadway that had previously been United States Highway 52. One day, while picking up the mail, I witnessed a spectacular crash at the intersection. After calling 911 I grabbed a camera, took pictures of the crash, and sent them to Councilor Gilmer accompanied by a plea for a traffic study at the intersection. He complied and within a year we saw the installation of a three-way stop at the intersection, accompanied by flashing red lights (which annoy me a little bit but do add to the safety). In fact, so few intersections have flashing red lights that I assume the Transportation Department study revealed just installing stop signs would be insufficient to prevent more bad accidents.

Here’s today’s article. Note my emphasis on the bike lanes.
March 5, 2009
Bridge replacement to close road until end of year
By Gretchen Becker

Since Monday, eight blocks in a heavily traveled stretch of Lafayette Road have been closed and will remain that way until the end of the year.
The road was closed from 71st to 79th streets to allow for replacement of an aging bridge that crosses Eagle Creek, said Kit Werbe, Department of Public Works spokeswoman. It will be closed until December.
The bridge was built in the 1920s and widened to four lanes in 1935.
The DPW also is working with designers who are considering the possibility of bike lanes across the bridge to complement the current 9-foot shoulders on Lafayette Road, but nothing is set yet, Werbe said.
Eighty percent of the $2.3 million project will be funded with federal dollars. The city will pay for the rest, which is about $460,000.
“I don’t think anybody is opposed to it,” said Susan Blair, president of Pike Township Residents’ Association. “It’s in bad shape.”
Lafayette Road averages 8,000 vehicles per day. DPW projects that 11,500 will use the road each day by 2028.
Drivers are being asked to use I-465 as a detour route between 71st and 86th streets.


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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