Mayor Greg Ballard on Friday outlined plans for an additional 75 miles of trails and bike lanes to be built throughout the city by 2015.
The plan announced at a press conference is part of Ballard’s citywide connectivity initiative that includes bikeways, greenways and trails. Ballard was joined by community leaders, residents and trail users at Eagle Creek Park for the official opening of the 71st Street Connector Trail.
Ballard said the planned construction will connect with existing infrastructure, neighborhoods, commercial centers and destinations citywide, expanding Indianapolis’ current greenways and bikeways network by nearly two-thirds—and reaching a total of 200 miles by 2015.
The project will be funded by $20 million in RebuildIndy money, part of the proceeds of the city's sale of its water and sewer utilities to Citizens Energy Group.
“The 71st Street Connector Trail is a crucial segment of our long-term plan for a network of greenways, bikeways and trails that will enhance the connectivity of our neighborhoods, our city and even our region,” Ballard said. “The next 75 miles of infrastructure are planned with the same level of strategic connectivity in mind.”
The 0.8-mile-long 71st Street Connector Trail joins up Eagle Creek Park and its extensive trail system with the trail network on nearby Intech Park’s 200-acre grounds.
The Connector, Ballard said, allows pedestrians and cyclists to safely enter Eagle Creek Park from 71st Street and provides access to the nearly completed 13 miles of new bike lanes along Lafayette Road and White River Parkway, linking New York Street downtown to the county line.
Federal stimulus grants provided 85 percent of the funding for the Connector Trail, with the city spending roughly one dollar for every six dollars of grant funding applied, city officials said.
The trail incorporates five boardwalks built above wetlands, and features benches constructed from Indiana limestone.