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Public Works plans safety upgrades for pedestrians, bicyclists; critic calls for more

Public Works plans safety upgrades for pedestrians, bicyclists; critic calls for more

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indianapolis bicyclist and pedestrian safety advocates are calling on the city to do more to protect all road users while the government leaders note the Department of Public Works is preparing for its largest budget in history and planning for projects to increase road safety.

Eric Holt is the founder of the Indianapolis Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety Crisis website and social media accounts.

“We’re continuing to see a monumental number of people walking and biking being hit and unfortunately killed,” Holt said.

Holt uses the platform to track and discuss safety incidents in the city.

“Unfortunately it’s just not a great place to walk to bike in a lot of areas,” Holt said. “Unfortunately the connectivity just isn’t there for people that are trying to get someplace that is not doing something on the trail specifically.”

Brandon Herget, director of the Indianapolis Department of Public Works, said the city has built-in funding for sidewalks, bike lanes and other pedestrian-focused projects as a part of the Complete Streets Policy.

“We have just this year, at the intersections identified by our engineering staff, for vehicular traffic on our trails and greenways both on the Pennsy and the Monon, you saw the installation of bollards just his year and you saw the installation of bollards along bike lanes in other parts of the city,” Herget said.

Holt said what is planned is not enough.

“There is definitely a lot more that we could be doing,” Holt said. “I think we need to shift our viewpoint from these longer-term projects to what we can be doing today that has a short-term impact.”

Holt suggested more “no turn on red” intersections, longer pedestrian cross times, bollards to protect bike lanes, and the creation of a team to make quick changes immediately after a crash.

Herget said this type of team is already in the works.

“I think the most important one is the creation of the fatal crash review team,” Herget said. “So now in the unfortunate event of a fatality anywhere across our network in the county, we have a team of experts that are meeting to look at and review the details of those incidents and make recommendations that then our engineering team and operations team work to implement.”

Public Works saw a $100 million increase to the capital budget as a part of the five-year $1.2 billion Capital Improvement Plan for the city.