Improving Indy's Cultural Trail / by Jim Hodapp

Indy's Cultural Trail is now two years old and is a huge success in so many significant ways. It continues to receive wide acclaim throughout the country as being a model of success for what proper biking and pedestrian infrastructure can do when done in a smart way instead of only going by the engineer's guide book without thinking. So why then does the Cultural Trail need some improvement? Most areas are already functioning well and are fairly well optimized, but there is at least one area that needs some rethinking. Here's where I'm referring to, do you recognize it?

What's wrong with this portion of the trail? I'm willing to bet that almost anyone who has ever biked or walked through this section immediately knows what is wrong. The trail just simply stops out in front of the Conrad hotel and frequently is blocked by cars loading or unloading by the hotel valets. Then there's the three bollards on either side of this zone that make it extremely confusing. As a person on a bike, are these saying I should go around the zone, use caution and risk going through the zone, or what? It's just not very clear and this is one of the most crowded portions of the entire trail.

I've been attempting to work with some of the local leadership to make sure that this is known about this small but significant area of the Cultural Trail. I've met with the director of the Conrad hotel to learn what I can about the trail in front of the hotel that he manages. I also met with the director of operations for the Indy Cultural Trail non-profit that is in charge of maintaining the trail. However, I seem to have hit a brick wall in making any more progress with the leadership. The Conrad director is still willing to dialog about the portion of the trail in front of the Conrad, but he does not have the authority to make any changes to this without Indy's DPW or the trail non-profit. I can no longer seem to get in contact with the Indy Cultural Trail non-profit leadership about the next steps on this portion of the trail. This has left me highly frustrated.

I'm left not entirely sure what to do next. My current idea is to start with this post to raise some more awareness and then to start a social media campaign where people can post pictures of the dangers of this part of the trail to all people who need to use it. So here's a callout to all of you who read this. Post in the comments what you think could be done and why you think it'd be effective. How do we get this portion of the trail improved so that it's safer for all types of people who use it?