Indianapolis wasn’t known for it’s transportation options or bike friendliness until recently – when everything changed direction. It has quickly become a city to watch; and with good reason.
In the spring of 2006, construction began on the eight mile Indianapolis Cultural Trail, which took 12 years to plan. This project, which opened in 2013, winds through six cultural districts and is a dream come true for bicyclists and pedestrians. Built for $62.5 million through private donations and federal grants with no tax dollars used, this project was an enormous boost to the city that had no on-street bike lanes when Mayor Greg Ballard took office in 2007. By 2013, there were 70-75 miles of bike lanes with the goal being 200 by 2015.
Just under a year after the opening of the Indianapolis Cultural Trail, Indiana Pacers Bikeshare opened in April 2014 with 250 bikes and 25 stations available through an annual membership or a daily pass. It’s a great way to explore the trail and the beautiful Canal Walk!
If that wasn’t enough, the city has just announced that it’s partnering with Indianapolis Power & Light Company to launch an electric car-share program called BlueIndy. This venture will put 500 electric vehicles on the street with 200 stations. Initially, 50 cars and 25 stations are set for a December 2014 opening, with the remaining cars and stations appearing by the end of 2015. One-time use and monthly memberships will be available.
There have already been economic benefits as a result of these endeavors; development has occurred in once-empty lots and neighborhoods are vibrant and thriving. The city expects the Indianapolis Cultural Trail to have a $864.5 million economic impact and to create 11,372 jobs. Keep your eye on Indianapolis!