Planning and implementing a trail and greenway system is complex. Indianapolis stands as a case study of leveraging resources and dollars to create a successful network of greenways and trails, often being cited as a national example of successful greenway implementation. As such, Indy Parks is well positioned to begin the next phase of planning for their system. However, this plan must be different than previous efforts. Much has changed since the 2002 plan was completed. The economic climate in 2012 is drastically different and there have been significant advances in both the bike and pedestrian facilities in Indy as well as the attitudes towards these types of facilities. This plan will need to respond to these changes and provide the “new blueprint” for the Indy Greenways system and how it fits into the context of all of the current initiatives underway in the region. In the coming weeks, we will be exploring different components of the greenway system:
- CONNECTIONS TO THE COMMUNITY: Indianapolis is more connected now than ever. How can the greenway system connect Indianapolis’ neighborhoods to places people work and places they want to go? How can the greenways provide both a functional transportation role as well as a recreational role? How can the greenways system become a part of the daily lives of our residents?
- PUBLIC ACCESS AND SERVICE: This plan needs to address additional greenway development in underserved areas of the City, especially in the southern townships. Where should future greenways be developed and how can they be connected to populated areas to broaden access to the system?
- INTEGRATION WITH OTHER INITIATIVES: Several significant initiatives are underway in the community that will impact Indianapolis for generations. How does this plan coordinate with the ongoing development of bike facilities, the regional bike and pedestrian plan, the Reconnecting to our Waterways initiative, and the City’s other ongoing initiatives? How can the greenway system be effectively integrated into other bicycle and pedestrian facilities planned in Indianapolis? How can the greenways, bike lanes, and other new bike facilities be better connected and function as a unified system? How do they interface with public transit and future improvements to the community’s transit infrastructure?
- ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: This plan needs to focus on how greenway development can be a driver of economic development. How can the greenways foster economic growth, connect to commercial centers and become a positive advantage for local businesses?
- IMPLEMENTABLE STEPS: This plan needs to have a focus on implementable steps—what can be built? How much will it cost? What benefit does it bring to the community? How can it be constructed and maintained within available funding? And what is the priority of building new greenways when compared with other City efforts?
- COLLABORATION OF CITY AGENCIES: The attitude towards trail development has changed since the last master plan was complete in 2002. Today, more agencies are involved with the development and operation of trails and bicycle facilities. How does the greenway system fit within this context and how is it coordinated with other agencies? How can other agencies benefit from the greenway system and how can the greenways benefit other initiatives?
- SUSTAINING A WORLD-CLASS TRAIL AND GREENWAY SYSTEM: The presence and quality of the City’s trails and greenways is a contributing factor to attracting people to Indianapolis. How can the greenways contribute to the perception of Indianapolis as a world-class city—attracting families and decreasing the “brain drain” being experienced by so many other Midwestern cities?
This effort needs to produce the next generation of greenway master planning for the system. Indy Greenways is a significant part of the City’s overall strategy…for transportation, fitness, recreation, community growth, and economic development. The Indy Greenways Master Plan must engage and excite residents while fostering these objectives. We are eager to get your thoughts on the direction of the greenway system.
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