COVID-19: The Recovery will Happen in Public Space

Road Diet Case Study: Trailing Along the Triple Bottom Line

Jan 31, 2020
Jan 30, 2020

↵ Back: A Placemaker's Primer on Road Diets

Top: West Walnut Street before road diet and the Indianapolis Cultural Trail (2007). Bottom: After road diet (2017).
The installation of the Indianapolis Cultural Trail in Indianapolis, IN, truly acknowledges the potential of the trail as an interactive system to provide solutions with people, profit, and planet in mind.

The Highlights

  • Over 95% of surveyed trail users felt safer
  • 48% of businesses surveyed saw an increase in revenue
  • 68% increase in property value were along and near the trail
  • $300 million of new developments sprouted in the years since the road diet

The Details

When the City of Indianapolis took a hard look at its transportation safety record, it attributed concerns from users across various modes to wide lanes, speeding vehicles, lack of bicycle infrastructure, and poor connectivity between neighborhoods and points of interest. From its inception, the City saw the public-private investment of the Indianapolis Cultural Trail as an integrated strategy to address many of these concerns, while also revitalizing the downtown.

To accommodate this new eight-mile-long biking and walking trail, the City implemented a series of road diet projects along adjacent streets. The last stage of the trail, completed in 2012, was accompanied by multiple roads that underwent a substantial reduction of lanes—from five or six lanes to three lanes, in most cases. The installation of the trail along with road diets has increased visibility and foot traffic for nearby businesses. In the end, the cultural trail has served a threefold purpose as a greenway system, a pedestrian buffer zone, and an economic development tool, hitting the three basic principles of sustainable urban design: people, planet, and profit.

Word on the Street

"Cyclists and pedestrians move around without traffic. Had it not been for the Trail, I would not have visited the City Market, and would have driven for errands."
Trail User (Assessment by Indiana University Public Policy Institute)
"We opened the business with the intent of being in a building somewhere along the Cultural Trail. Doing this has been an advantage in attracting pedestrian and cyclist traffic."
Trail User (Assessment by Indiana University Public Policy Institute)
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