October 15 2013

The Indianapolis Cultural Trail: One of the City’s Greatest Achievements

Indianapolis Cultural Trail, Indianapolis, Indiana

In the past year, the Indianapolis Cultural Trail has received attention and support from both native Hoosiers and people across the country. Cities such as Portland, Oregon and Cleveland, Ohio have voiced their support (and jealousy) of the eight-mile bike path that connects five of the six Indianapolis Cultural Districts. The trail has also been mentioned on many popular architecture and urban planning sites, including Urbanophile.

Construction on the trail began in 2007, and officially opened in May of 2013. Opening Day activities included performances by local artists and musicians, and plenty of family friendly activities throughout the morning and afternoon.

Glick Peace Walk, Indianapolis, Indiana

So, what does this type of infrastructure mean for the residents and visitors of Indianapolis? The Cultural Trail provides a safe and spacious pathway for bicyclists and pedestrians to utilize on their daily commute or for recreation as a way to enjoy the city. Many sections of the trail feature a split path: one side for walkers and runners and the other for bicyclists. It also features a series of public art pieces and The Glick Peace Walk that celebrates twelve historic individuals who peacefully led progressive movements.

Not only is it functional, but the trail is also environmentally and aesthetically pleasing. Made up of pavers and lined with landscaping and bioswales, the Indianapolis Cultural Trail is every environmentalist’s dream. A stretch of the path on North Street even features a canopy of solar panels. To say that the trail is sustainable would be an understatement.

Solar Panels- Indianapolis Cultural Trail, Indianapolis, Indiana

Another thing that downtown dwellers have noticed about The Cultural Trail is that it stimulates development and growth along the corridor. A prime example of this is in Fountain Square, a district that lies directly southeast of downtown Indianapolis. The area wasn’t always the artsy, hip place that it is today. Throughout the past few decades, a series of improvements and developments have turned Fountain Square into a bustling district with housing, restaurants, and destinations.

The Cultural Trail is celebrating the many businesses along its path by implementing a new program called ‘Friends of our Trail’ (or FooT). A yearly ‘friendship’ allows access to a number of discounts at local restaurants, bars, and shops, along with member exclusive activities.

Indianapolis Cultural Trail, Indianapolis, Indiana

There is seldom a day where people are not out enjoying the trail by foot or on bike. The Cultural Trail has been deemed one of Indianapolis’ greatest assets, and I hope to see it grow as a bike share program comes to the city in the Spring 2014.

What type of biking infrastructure does your city have? How can bike paths stimulate growth and development in a region?

Credits: Photos by Laura Granieri. Data linked to sources.

Laura Granieri

Laura Granieri graduated from Ball State University in the spring of 2012 with a Bachelor in Urban & Regional Planning. Upon graduating, she moved to Indianapolis and accepted a position as an AmeriCorps VISTA. She currently works as Program Coordinator at Midtown Indianapolis, Inc. Laura is passionate about urban planning and the relationship between people and the cities in which they live. In her free time, she enjoys attending events around downtown Indy. For The Grid, Laura will be writing about the exciting changes happening in Indianapolis as the city focuses on redevelopment projects, a new transportation system, and a downtown comprehensive plan.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, October 15th, 2013 at 9:23 am and is filed under Community/Economic Development, Environment, Environmental Design, Infrastructure, Landscape Architecture, Transportation, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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4 Responses to “The Indianapolis Cultural Trail: One of the City’s Greatest Achievements”

  1. Kelly Wann Says:

    Indy is growing! I’m proud to be a Hoosier and so glad that others are learning about what the heartland has to offer. There is definitely more than corn in Indiana.

  2. Christine Cepelak Says:

    Hi Laura,
    Great article. Really impressed by the implementation of the bike plan in Indianapolis.

    In Dallas a plan was drafted by citizens and adopted by the city, which has just painted its first bike lane in the center or downtown. Not quite as user-friendly as your trail, but a good start!

    Would you mind sharing who initiated the plan for the trail, and how it came to completion? (ie: funding, streets codes, who owns it, etc)

  3. Laura Granieri Says:

    Hi Christine,
    Thanks for reading! I’m so glad you enjoyed it.

    There is a bit of a back-story on the trail. If you’re interested in reading more about the history and where they received funding, head over to their website. There is a timeline of events that will answer some of your questions.

    Funding was received through private and public resources. The total cost was $63 million, with private making up $27.5 and public (federal transportation funds) making up $35.5. No local taxes dollars were used on the trail. Indianapolis allowed use for city right-of-way, as many of the sections of the trail are on existing lanes of road or sidewalks.

    Hope that helps!

  4. The Remarkable Success of the Indianapolis Cultural Trail | Streetsblog.net Says:

    […] young Indy resident Laura Granieri at Network blog The Grid says the relatively new amenity has changed Indianapolis for the […]

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