Urban Velo

Cross-Country Route Partially Blocked By One City

Let me apologize to the country for the city of Greenwood, Indiana. In full disclosure, this is the city I lived in when I first moved to Indianapolis back in ’94 and it has never been seen as a beacon of forward thinking. Actually, it’s known primarily for it’s heavily trafficked, multi-lane roads and large mall, but that’s about it. No progressive-minded hipster ever considers the South side of Indianapolis, where Greenwood is located, as a legitimate place to live and any cyclist in their right mind knows to never even consider taking a bike ride in that direction. There just aren’t many good options for commuting and we all ride like mad when heading South to get to the safety of the rural roads that lay just beyond.

With that said, it’s unsurprising the city did not give approval for a route created by the US Department of Transportation and bike advocacy groups that would run from the Canadian-Michigan border all the way to the Gulf Coast. Despite any tourism benefits cyclists would lend to the city, the route was rejected based on “liability concerns”. I find this absurd and indicative of stodgy, old-school thinking (“get off my lawn kids!!”), but was shocked even further when they proposed an alternative route that would lie a few blocks over on US 31, which is ABSURDLY busy and dangerous.

This decision is not going over well with local cyclists and is not in concert with the general perception of cycling in the surrounding area as Indianapolis continues to move forward with cycling amenities and infrastructure. But fear not touring cyclists, the route will continue on even if it has to be routed around Greenwood, Indiana. Maybe it’s for the best.

Another article about the issue located here.

Photo above is the actual Old Greenwood town center where the route would pass and is the reason the committee blocked the proposal fearing the smaller streets with slower moving traffic would become a liability to the city.

About Scott Spitz

Commuting, touring, kid hauling, couriering, mechanic work, sales, advocacy, fixed, free—Scott has had his hands in it all over the years.

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9 Comments

  1. DanApril 3, 2012 at 9:27 am

    The horror that a captive audience will flow through town looking for a place to spend their money!

  2. Hunter @ Bike Lane LivingApril 3, 2012 at 9:28 am

    The people of Greenwood, IN should dismiss their local government. This decision is unbelievable, especially when local governments all over America are screaming for revenue. Ironically the Crossroads of America (Indiana) is building a new interstate (69) primarily to boost economic activity. Bicycle tourists stop and stay longer, spending more money than motorists driving through. Greenwood needs to look to the future and stop killing its economy.

  3. BenzoApril 3, 2012 at 11:07 am

    Screw it, ride through anyway. It’s not illegal to ride a bike there yet is it?

  4. brentApril 3, 2012 at 11:31 am

    And my parents wonder why I refuse to return to the state I spent the first 24 years of my life….

  5. Joe PeraltaApril 3, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    There are pockets like this scattered around, cutting themselves off to wither in dreamland. The good news is these people are dying off and not being replaced.

  6. RyanApril 4, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    We have been battling a similar incestuous closed-mindedness here in Pueblo….we are starting to win though.

  7. AHApril 6, 2012 at 5:14 am

    With enough heat, maybe Greenwood will come around. Obviously other city’s have managed to resolve their concerns with liability so perhaps representatives from other places on the route can convince Greenwood to do the right thing. I live in Indiana. I love many things about my city and state but I hate the politics (extremely conservative). For those familiar with the governor – He’s not my man.

  8. MacApril 30, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    I live in Greenwood. It actually isn’t that bad of a city to bike around. Kind of odd that I found this story on Urban Velo instead of the local papers, I am guessing they just ignored it.

  9. NolanApril 30, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    I agree with Greenwood’s decision. The route Indianapolis tossed together right before the Super Bowl on Madison Ave is dangerous. Without widening Madison Ave, they managed to squeeze in a bike lane. This bike lane gets squeezed until it disappears at every stop light, at which point cyclists get to bike amongst the autos. If cyclists were using these lanes, someone would have been hit already by a 40 MPH auto.

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