Indianapolis Upgrades Painted Bike Lanes By Adding Proper Protection

This used to be an un-protected, painted bike lane. Photo:
This used to be an un-protected, painted bike lane. Photo: Austin Gibble/Urban Indy

Sometimes, when a city builds a really good bike lane — especially an American city — you have to sit back and appreciate it.

Case in point: these new curb-protected bike lanes under construction on East New York and East Michigan streets in Indianapolis.

Back in 2015, Joe Smoker at Urban Indy reported on the city’s steady progress building out what had been a threadbare bike network 10 years ago. These protected bike lane projects on East New York and East Michigan represent an upgrade for two unprotected, painted bike lanes, he explained. They are two-way bikeways on one-way streets for motor vehicles, with concrete islands where people can wait for the bus.

Kevin Kastner at Urban Indy shares these pictures of the projects under construction. He notes that the city repurposed parking spaces to make room for the bike lanes, and that side streets can absorb any parking demand.

In the Indianapolis context, Kastner thinks protected bike lanes might get a smoother reception than painted bike lanes:

I’ve recently wondered if part of the controversy behind painted bike lanes is that drivers can easily see where they used to be able to drive. That’s not a problem when the lanes are separated by concrete and grass medians. If the street undergoes some fundamental transformations, it’s less obvious that this used to be a speed track.

Here’s another look:

How hard is that? Not hard. Photo: Austin Gribble, Urban Indy
Instead of parking, this street space will be used for biking and waiting for the bus. Was that so hard? Photo: Austin Gribble/Urban Indy

More recommended reading today: Bike Portland reports that the city won’t back down from its goal of 25 percent bicycle mode share by 2035. And Urban Milwaukee lists nine ways Wisconsin tried and failed to raise more revenue for transportation, all while plowing ahead with a very expensive set of highway expansions.

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