Indianapolis: Emerging Bicycle Cities

Indianapolis, Indiana

Population: 829,718

Area: 963.5 sq km

Density: 861/sq km

Indianapolis is a midwestern city known worldwide for its famous Indy 500 race, but behind the adamant support of Mayor Greg Ballard, Indy is racing to become one of America’s most bicycle-friendly cities. When Ballard was elected in 2007, Indianapolis barely had one mile of cycle lanes. Today, there are 120 kilometers of cycle lanes in the city and Mayor Ballard has promised to increase cycling infrastructure to more than 320 kilometers by 2015. In addition to being a vocal advocate with a position to make changes in city government, Ballard takes to the streets to lead and participate in all kinds of community cycling events.

The Indianapolis Cultural Trail

Perhaps the most impressive piece of cycling infrastructure in Indianapolis is the Cultural Trail. Roughly 13 kilometers, the Cultural Trail brings cyclists and pedestrians safely through downtown Indianapolis and connects a myriad of cultural institutions and districts in the heart of the city. Wide and separated from traffic, the trail was created by removing traffic lanes from roadways and converting them entirely to cycleways and walking paths with pleasant landscaping. This beautiful and functional piece of infrastructure is highlighted in this Streefilms’ video (above).

Indy Cultural Trail

Although Indianapolis is not a city featured in the 2013 Copenhagenize Index, it is undoubtedly an emerging bicycle city, especially in relation to its North American counterparts. As demonstrated by Mayor Ballard’s commitment to bicycle advocacy in Indianapolis, strong leadership can help bolster a community’s cycling culture. Cape Town can follow in Indy’s footsteps… Speak to your councillors and let them know you expect them to support bicycle initiatives. Without strong leadership, we are all cycling an uphill battle.

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