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Safety advocates asking for change after instances of 8 cars on the Monon Trail

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — There were at least eight instances of cars driving or parking on the Monon Trail from February 28 to March 1.

Trail users report these incidents to the website and Twitter account “Indianapolis Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety Crisis,” but others outside these eight could go unreported. The photos show vehicles ranging from pickup trucks, work vans and trailers utilizing the trails as roadways and, in some cases, fully blocking the pathway.

One trail user at the E 54th Street intersection was upset there were cars in a dedicated pedestrian and bicyclist space.

“I couldn’t believe it. We walk here every day and I would be shocked if I saw a car on the Monon,” Marley Gamble, an Indianapolis resident said. “I just would never expect a car to be there so I just would never be looking out for a car.”

Connie Szabo Schmucker, the Advocacy Director at Bicycle Garage Indy said cars on the trail are a safety issue.

“There are things that you expect to happen on a trail. You expect to encounter walkers or bikers, bicyclists or dogwalkers or people pushing strollers. You don’t anticipate a car driving toward you,” Szabo Schmucker said. “Some of the construction contractors that have been blocking the entire trail.”

Advocates are asking for bollards to protect trail users.

“Put in temporary bollards while you’re studying it. It doesn’t cost that much to put in temporary bollards,” Szabo Schmucker said. “Until such time that you can put in collapsible ones or ones that you deem are going to be better used.”

The mayor’s office said bollards are now coming to some spots after multiple issues on the trail.

“There are bollards being put up. I mean the bollards weren’t originally part of the plan because our own DPW trucks have to get on the Monon sometimes but we made the decision to put the bollards in because some folks who drive don’t want to follow the signage that says no motorized vehicles,” Dan Parker, Mayor Joe Hogsett’s Chief of Staff said.

The mayor’s office said the Department of Public Works ordered smaller maintenance equipment so they will not need to use full-sized trucks on it in the future.