To the editor
Earlier this week, when the City-County Council referred the Complete Streets proposal to the Public Works Committee, it gave a boost to a movement that promises to make Indianapolis an even more livable and desirable city.
I look at the Complete Streets proposal first from a cyclist's point of view. Having just wrapped up a record-setting Bike to Work Day in which nearly 750 area residents recorded their bicycle commute (and many more biked to work without registering their rides), I know that Central Indiana cyclists will take full advantage of opportunities to ride safely, whether it's so they can get to work, to the store, to visit friends, or whatever. As such, it's been exciting to see the increased number of bike paths and bike lanes, and the increased awareness of cyclists. I applaud Mayor Ballard for being a reliable champion for improved cycling in the Indianapolis area.
But, as a cyclist, moving slower than cars, I often see how others are affected by streets that aren't accommodating. I see neighborhoods where families must walk in the street to get to a bus stop. I pedal through areas where people living just a few blocks from the grocery store don't' have a safe route to get there. I see schools that are inaccessible by any means other than bus and car. I see intersections where traffic lights change so quickly I have a hard time crossing before traffic resumes - and it makes me wonder how an older person, or a mom pushing stroller, or anyone else who might be slowed, could possibly make it across.It's time to stop thinking of streets as a space built for cars between curbs. Instead, we need to embrace a broader definition to think of them as arteries that move people - some by car, sure, but many others by foot, bike, wheelchair, stroller and more. We've seen how the Monon Trail, the Cultural Trail and new bike lanes have been embraced and used by thousands and thousands of area residents. Imagine how many more will take to the streets if more streets were more accommodating.
I encourage the City to continue the progress we've made and urge the Public Works Committee to embrace the Complete Streets proposal when it discusses the issue in July and for the full council to adopt the proposed ordinance.
This letter to editor was published on June 18th in the Indianapolis Star