A few weeks ago IndyCog and Indy Go hosted an informational meeting on how the Red Line will impact cycling in Indianapolis. IndyGo has been holding numerous public meetings relating to the Red Line over the past several months. However, after reviewing the plans for the Red Line and listening to comments from some of our members who had attended other public meetings, we felt it would be beneficial to have a meeting which was focused solely on cycling and find out how the Red Line would impact popular cycling routes and on-street cycling infrastructure.
For those who were unable to attend this meeting, we wanted to provide a brief overview of the information provided and some of the questions raised by the attendees. Here is a link to the Power Point presentation given by Indy Go: [link to Google Drive]
First things first, the Red Line is happening. While the larger and more comprehensive mass transit plan is going up for a referendum in November, the Red Line is funded separately through federal sources.
The initial phase of the Red Line will stretch from Broad Ripple all the way to the University of Indianapolis campus The map below shows the route the Red Line will take between these two locations.
Starting in Broad Ripple and heading south, the Red Line will follow College until it intersects 38th St.
Generally, the impact on cycling infrastructure will be minimal. College has no bike lanes or sharrows along the parts where the Red Line will run, and as it is now, is not a very bike friendly road due to the traffic volume. Whether traffic volume will increase on side streets adjacent to College due to the Red Line remains to be seen.
At 38th Street, the Red Line will take a right turn and go west for a short distance before taking a left south down Meridian all the way to 18th Street. This is where cycling related changes will occur. The Red Line will cut over on 18th to Capitol, right next to Methodist Hospital, and then head south on Capitol the rest of the way downtown. This will result in the elimination of the Capitol Street bike lane south of that point.
However, south bound bicycle traffic on Capitol will be re-routed east on 18th, and then south onto Illinois street, which will have a two way, north and south lanes, added to the west side of the street south of that point. This means a new protected cycle track will run north and south between 18th and Washington Street. For north bound bicycle traffic on Illinois, at 18th street there will be a transition to the already existing single north bound bike on the east side of the road via a Bike Box which will allow cyclists to transition to the east side of the road. (see our blog on Bike Boxes here.)
Crossings of the Cultural Trial and other bike lines, such as Michigan and New York, have also been taken into account and there should be no interruptions of these crossings along route of the Red Line
On the south side of downtown, the Red Line will follow Virginia Avenue southeast and then turn southward onto Shelby Street to the University of Indianapolis campus. No disruptions of the Cultural Trail along this stretch are anticipated, nor will the protected bike lanes on Shelby Street from Fountain Square to Pleasant Run Creek be disrupted.
South of Pleasant Run, there may be modifications of the already existing infrastructure by the Red Line.
After the protected lanes end at Pleasant Run, on street infrastructure consists of sharrows and standard bike lanes south to the University of Indianapolis. Initially there was concern about the removal of the sharrows and portions of the bike lanes.
Additionally, steps are being taken to ensure that the Red Line buses are bicycle friendly, and bikes permitted inside the buses. Storage for the bikes during the ride is still being evaluated. As shown in the Power Point PDF we linked to above, IndyGo is considering three methods, specifically, stand and hold, and vertical or horizontal storage. Vertical storage appears to be the preferred method, although the final form of that remains to be seen as there are diffident types of vertical storage systems that may be considered.
Lastly, the Red Line will spur pedestrian related improvements along its route. Improvements to cross walks and sidewalks will be made in areas around along the Red Line and its stations in order to facilitate on and off loading and ensure safety for riders entering or exiting the buses.
Overall, IndyCog is encouraged by IndyGo's willingness to address the concerns of cyclists and ensure - that the Red Line will accommodate cyclists, both in terms of on-street infrastructure but also with amenities on the buses themselves to help riders who wish use their bikes in conjunction with a ride on the Red Line. IndyCog will continue to monitor developments with the Red Line as it relates to cycling.
Additionally, as mentioned earlier, the section of the Red Line discussed at this meeting is finalized, but the larger Indianapolis transit plan, which includes mass transit connections to other parts of the county, is subject to a referendum vote in November. IndyCog believes that accessible and effective mass transit is an important part of a growing city, and would complement Indy's bicycle transit advances in order to provide citizens in Indianapolis, and outside Marion County, multiple alternative transportation options. IndyCog's board of directors has reviewed these plans and believes that proposed mass transit plans at issue in the November 8, 2016 referendum will benefit Indianapolis, and make out city more accessible to cyclists and non-cyclists alike. Therefore, IndyCog is proud to fully support the passage of Question 2 on Election Day 2016.
Please continue to follow IndyCog on social media for additional information regarding the Red Line and how mass transit can complement cycling in Indianapolis. Also, your support is vital to our continued advocacy efforts and our ability to continue to present events such as the Red Line meeting. We hope you will consider becoming a member of IndyCog, or making a donation to continue to help our all- volunteer advocacy efforts.