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Indy DPW takes pedestrian safety into consideration as improvements begin on Monon, Pennsy Trails

bikers on pennsy
Posted at 11:25 PM, Mar 29, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-30 10:49:47-04

INDIANAPOLIS — The Pennsy Trail is Frank Anderson‘s primary way of getting around.

“Because of all the traffic on Washington Street. It’s safer to get to Walmart and Kroger," Anderson said.

But the trail isn’t just for errands.

“I’m using it for recreation. I’m watching the rabbits," he said.

For Kevin Crenshaw, biking the trail is about safety.

“I ride the trail. I got ran over. I got hit," Crenshaw said.

Three years ago, he was struck riding his bike near the intersection of 16th Street and Franklin Road.

Now, he exclusively rides the trails, but says even they can be dangerous.

“On the trail, there was an older gentleman and he wasn’t speeding, but nonetheless he was on the trail in his pickup truck," Crenshaw said.

Whether they’re lost or they’re trying to take a shortcut, it’s a common to see vehicles on the trails.

That’s something Indy DPW is hoping to fix.

“It’s time, as we continue to invest in that infrastructure, that we’re taking pedestrian safety into consideration as well. Our engineering staff did that due diligence and identified 22 crossings along the Pennsy and Monon where we’ve seen incidents of vehicular traffic. So, we’re investing in the technology to improve that infrastructure," Director Brandon Herget said.

Indy DPW announced Wednesday crews will begin working to install steel bollards at crossings around the city where safety is of greatest concern.

The project costs $115,000, including the cost of the bollards, construction materials and labor.

“In these specific intersections that we’ve identified, bollards are the right technology. Specifically these bollards have the ability to drop down. That’s important for a maintenance perspective and also a public safety perspective," Herget said.

Bicyclist Greg Spears is encouraged by the news.

“I don’t know if it’ll keep the golf carts or the off-road motorcycles off the trail, but at least it’ll keep the large vehicles off," Spears said.

He’s out on the Pennsy five or six times a week in the warmer months and is baffled that people don’t follow the posted signs.

“At pretty much every intersection, it says no motorized vehicles," Spears said.

Although installing bollards is one solution to the problem, Herget says it’s important to continue to report.

“I’d suggest contacting law enforcement. That’s one thing we tried to make everyone aware of all along is that it’s actually an illegal activity. So, making sure that you’re contacting the correct professionals that can deal with that is important," Herget said.

As construction begins, and throughout the entire season, bike and pedestrian travelers should expect partial closures of trails.

If residents witness a driver entering a trail with their vehicle, they are asked to report the incident to IMPD's non-emergency line by calling 317-327-3811.