Bikes, vehicles share the road via new style of protected lane

CARMEL, Ind. (WISH) – There is a new way for bicycles and vehicles to share the road along a busy Carmel street.

The city has unveiled the first nearly completed phase of its Cycle Track project.

The protected bike lane will stretch two and a half miles on Range Line Road when finished. Space for bicyclists to travel both north and south is reserved next to the farthest eastern lane of the road.

Large sections of the lanes are painted green and have dotted lines to indicate bicycle travels in both directions. Planter boxes will be installed to provide a barrier between cyclists and vehicles.

The design is part of what the city is calling a “road diet.” According to Mayor Jim Brainard, the amount of drivers did not justify the five lanes of travel once available on Range Line Road.

A roundabout replaced a stoplight and created space for the Cycle Track.

National rankings have placed Carmel as one of the country’s top bike friendly cities. Brainard says the infrastructure has a greater impact on the overall success of the community.

“Central Indiana doesn’t have mountains or oceans, so it’s about what we build. We build a quality of place where people have choices. (They) will choose to raise their families here and move here and conduct their business here and that’s how we’re going to compete economically,” Brainard said.

Carmel is nearing 200 miles of paths and trails connecting almost every neighborhood to an option like the Cycle Track, the Monon Trail or multi-use paths that have been constructed above the curb line.