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Proposal to make pedestrian greenways in Indy safer passes committee, goes to full council for vote

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Posted at 4:23 PM, Jun 22, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-22 20:41:16-04

INDIANAPOLIS — An effort to improve pedestrian safety in Indianapolis is one step closer to becoming a reality after a proposal to make greenway crossing zones safer passed out of committee.

The plan would allow the Department of Public Works to look at traffic data at each trail crossing across the city to determine if safety upgrades are needed.

It comes at a time where Indianapolis saw a record of 40 pedestrians hit and killed in 2022, IMPD numbers show.

"The numbers do not tell the full picture. Really what I am worried about in addition to people getting hit is close calls. Because it's really easy for a close call to become an actual impact or an actual death," Councilman John Barth said.

Barth and Councilman Zach Adamson co-authored the proposal to tackle trail safety across the city.

A main upgrade would allow DPW to lower speeds in areas, essentially making it like a school zone at each crossing.

It's something cyclists like Connie Szabo Schmucker say is needed after a record 40 people were killed last year while walking or riding in Indianapolis.

"In school zones you have a school zone sign and people are supposed to go 25 miles per hour in a vicinity of a school and I thought that would be really good for trail crossings," Schmucker said.

DPW would assess trail crossing in the city, study traffic patterns, and data to determine if speed needs to be lowered.

"Better for everyone, so no one else has to suffer the same consequences of a family member dying. Or a beloved coworker or a friend," Schmucker said. "Our work will probably never be done, unfortunately, because right now we are going through a pedestrian and bicyclist safety crisis."

Schmucker lost her former co-worker Frank Radaker.

He was hit and killed by a car at the intersection of 86th and College near the Monon trail.

Radaker was biking to work, as he did for 25-years when he was hit.

"He was just so beloved, everybody. He was a character," Schmucker said.

Radaker was a father and a big advocate for cyclist safety, a mission his former co-workers have now taken on.

Intersections like the one Radaker was killed at could get added safety measures with the new proposal.

The proposal has already passed unanimously out of the Public Works Committee and will go to the City-County Council for a full vote.