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News / 2015 / November / Pennsylvania Bike Lanes -Latest Info
November 3, 2015
Pennsylvania Bike Lanes -Latest Info
by Oran Sands   |   0 COMMENTS

Pennsylvania Avenue Gets Protected Bike Lanes

The current trend for bicycle infrastructure in many cities is the installation of protected bike lanes in place of the more traditional simple painted lane. Essentially, a protected bike lane is still a bike lane, but there is some form of physical barrier or a set off space between the vehicular traffic and the cyclists using the lane. Sometimes this can be as little as bollards set in a buffer space between the lanes, to a concrete curb or barrier, or even landscaped beds between traffic and the cyclists using the lanes. 

In Indianapolis, the section of bike lane on Shelby Street just south of Fountain Square is an example of such a lane, where a pair of bi-directional lanes are protected and separated from traffic by a concrete curb, with bollards at regular intervals. Conflict zones, such as driveway cuts are painted green to place cyclists and drivers on notice of potential encounters between the user groups. Also, the Cultural Trail has at times been described as a type of protected bike lane.

Protected lanes are gaining traction in many areas, and are also subject to a major program from People for Bike called the Green Lane Project, which provides support and guidance to a few selected cities in establishing their own protected bike lanes. Indianapolis was chosen as a one of these Green Lane cities in 2014 and the city plans to install protected lanes along Michigan and New York Streets on the east side.

These protected lanes along east Michigan and New York Streets are slated for construction early next year, with a tentative completion date sometime in the spring. However, in the more immediate future, Pennsylvania street downtown from the Central Library southward will have a protected bike lane installed as part of the current repaving project being done on that stretch of road.

Unlike the Shelby Street lanes, or the eventual east side lanes, the Penn Lanes will have no concrete barrier or landscaping separating them from traffic. Instead, parking places typically set to the far inside lane along the curb will be moved out, and the lanes situated in between the parked vehicles and the curb. This arrangement provides a buffer of not only space, but also a physical barrier of parked vehicles between cyclists and traffic driving south on Pennsylvania.

Like most new cycling infrastructure, these lanes will require close attention from cyclists and drivers to ensure the safety of both groups. Cyclists should be aware of the occupants of cars stepping across the bike lane to access the side walk and parking meters situated along the side of the street. Cyclists should also be cautious of traffic when entering mixed zones, such as turn lanes. Drivers should be mindful to not encroach upon the bike lanes when parking, and the occupants of a vehicle should watch for oncoming cyclist traffic when crossing the lanes to the sidewalks.

IndyCog supports of the addition of new bike routes in Indianapolis and is particularly excited about the prospect of additional protected bike lanes being installed throughout the city.

For more information, and to see renderings of how the Penn St. lanes will be laid out, check out the these information sheets from the city. 

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Updates from the Office of Sustainability as of November 9, 2015..

  1. More bollards were ordered and should be here on Friday, November 13th. 
  2. New bollards and signage should be installed south of Michigan on Friday.
  3. Portions of new bike lane that is lacking signage will not be open to cyclists until the bollards and signage is installed.
  4. Parking configurations and install signage and posts Thursday (11/5) - Monday (11/13)
  5. Striping is complete from E. Saint Clair St to Washington Street.
  6. Currently the bike lane is open from Saint Clair to Michigan. South of Michigan the bollards/signs have not been installed, cars should continue to park curbside until further notice or installation of signage.