City-County Councilor says green bike lanes on Illinois Street may be problematic

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – There’s a new way for bicyclists to get around the Circle City, however there are some who say it’s making things worse.

“It’s confusing, potentially dangerous,” said City-County Councilor Jefferson Shreve of District 16. “It just further constricts the flow of movement up through Illinois through our city.”

Shreve is referring to the bike lane IndyGo moved from Capitol to Illinois Street. It’s all part of the Red Line project. IndyGo added bollards, green pavement markings and traffic signals to direct bikers on the lane.

“All components that help drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists understand where their movements are safest, when to move through the lights, when to turn, so hopefully we’re avoiding some of those potential interactions between cars and bicyclists,” said Lauren Day, the director of public relations for IndyGo.

The possibility of cars and bicyclists interacting is Shreve’s concern. Due to the bike lanes, vehicles now have to park along the lanes on Illinois Street. Shreve says it appears that vehicles are parked in the middle of the street.

“I was down here with a buddy going to a restaurant and I said, just park here. He said, in the middle of the street? I said yeah, that’s how we’re doing it in Indy,” Shreve added, “A lot of people aren’t downtown every day and so your first time down and you pull into one of these floating parking spaces, you’re not quite sure what you’re doing.”

Councilor Shreve sent out a questionnaire to his constituents in District 16 about the parking along the bike lane. It asked, “Do you like the changes?”

Of those who answered, 58% responded yes and 42% said no.

“I think it’s wonderful. We were commenting on the life of downtown Indianapolis and biking just gets more people on the street, it gets people out of the box of their car, experiencing the city,” said Paul DeMaio, an avid bicyclist.

“I’m really, really concerned about it,” said Lisa Bohannon, who works downtown. “I don’t know which light I’m supposed to check and then there’s a bike light, it’s green and then I get a red light. I feel like it’s very confusing to all of us.”

IndyGo says its goal was to find a safe solution for bicyclists downtown and it’s asking everyone to just be patient.

“We recognize there’s a learning period,” said Day. “Just pay attention to the signage and pavement coloring that really helps distinguish there’s a different usage on that area of the road than another.”

IndyGo hopes the lanes will move the city and bikers in the right direction, as for Councilor Shreve, he believes it will have bikers hitting their brakes.

“We could do better on the communication,” Shreve added.

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