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What’s for Cincinnati to Learn From the Indianapolis Cultural Trail?

When Indianapolis elected Republican Mayor Greg Ballard in 2007 the city had virtually no on-street bike lanes. Due in large part to Mayor Ballard’s leadership, the city now has more than 70 miles of on-street bike lanes, and is on its way to 200 by 2015.

Unlike Cincinnati, Indianapolis has wide streets. The streets are so wide that there is room to do some neat things within the right-of-way with regards to non-automobile forms of transportation.

As a result, Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard (R) made it a priority of his administration to not only support the eight-mile Indianapolis Cultural Trail, but to create a city-wide bicycle network that he hopes will have 200 miles by 2015.

It’s a steep change for a city that had virtually no on-street bike lanes in 2007, and only 70 to 75 miles of on-street bike lanes now.

“It feels different when you’re riding a bike, because of how it’s been built and what’s underneath it,” Mayor Ballard told Clarence Eckerson Jr. from Streetfilms. “It’s the part about connecting up everything that’s really made a dramatic impact and is getting the international attention.”

The $63 million project was largely funded through private contributions, and has now created a physically separated pedestrian and bicycle facility that connects many of the city’s significant attractions and center city neighborhoods.

As Cincinnati works on developing a bicycle network of its own, complete with physically separated facilities like the Cultural Trail, what do you think the Queen City should do the same or do differently?

By Randy A. Simes

Randy is an award-winning urban planner who founded UrbanCincy in May 2007. He grew up on Cincinnati’s west side in Covedale, and graduated from the University of Cincinnati’s nationally acclaimed School of Planning in June 2009. In addition to maintaining ownership and serving as the managing editor for UrbanCincy, Randy has worked professionally as a planning consultant throughout the United States, Korea and the Middle East. After brief stints in Atlanta and Chicago, he currently lives in the Daechi neighborhood of Seoul’s Gangnam district.