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Safety improvements possibly coming to Monon Trail's 86th Street crossing

Advocacy groups filed permits for 'tactical urbanism' project
Monon Trail 86th Street crossing
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Posted at 9:48 PM, Mar 12, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-13 09:25:32-04

INDIANAPOLIS — The Monon Trail is a popular place for a bike ride, but some bicyclists remain afraid to cross 86th Street after a deadly crash in 2021. Advocacy groups are working on plans for a safety solution at the intersection.

Nora Alliance, with the support of bicycle store Bicycle Garage Indy has filed permits for a 'tactical urbanism' project at 86th Street and the Monon, which are temporary changes for pedestrian safety such as rumble strips and wider sidewalks. The groups anticipate the changes could be installed next month if the permits are approved.

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"I've been focusing on, 'What can we do right now?'" said Connie Szabo Schmucker of Bicycle Garage Indy. "Even if we had the money tomorrow, a bridge over 86th Street isn't going to be built for years."

Frank Radaker, an employee of Bicycle Garage Indy, died at the intersection in October 2021 when a car hit him while on his bicycle. A wreath in memoriam to Radaker remains at 86th Street and the Monon to this day.

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"When I remember that somebody was killed here, it's rough," said Aaron Spiegel, an avid Monon bicyclist who knew Radaker personally. "Somebody else is going to die here. It's just a matter of when."

The Indianapolis Department of Public Works tells WRTV the city installed signs banning turns on red lights and retimed the signals at the intersection so Monon users have more time to cross 86th Street. They also say they applied for money to build a bridge over 86th Street through the Indianapolis Metropolitan Planning Organization, but were "unfortunately not successful."

Szabo Schmucker hope's Radaker's death is enough to inspire even more safety changes at the crossing.

"I don't think anybody going through that intersection says, 'I feel comfortable crossing this road,'" Szabo Schmucker said.