Cultural Trail takes shape

October 22, 2007
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Cultural TrailHow much will the Indianapolis Cultural Trail affect real estate downtown? What do you think of it? The $50-million bike and pedestrian path eventually will connect downtown's five cultural districts. Funding comes from private donations, including $15 million from Gene and Marilyn Glick, along with federal grants. The project has attracted tons of national attention, including a mention on Streetsblog, a popular transportation and urban planning blog in New York. The blog says Indianapolis is "making what could be the boldest step of any North American city towards supporting bicyclists and pedestrians." A map of the route is available here.
  • I'm a huge supporter of this project. I think it is a great investment and am looking forward to seeing it's completion.
  • I have ridden by bike a few times on the finished part of the trail, and I just think it is amazing. I can't wait until it is completely done. I know I will definitely use it.

    Kudos all around
  • The Cultural Trail is simply going to be an amazing amenity for the city. It is by far the best thing going on from a development perspective in Indianapolis.

    I think it is no coincidence that this was a grass roots effort. We should be looking to make more great ideas like this come to life.
  • I love it! This is the best project to grace downtown Indianapolis in quite a while.

    The Cultural Trail truly deserves the World-Class title that the Peterson administration has set as a goal for our city's future. Hopefully it is the first of many projects equal to its caliber, vision, and boldness in downtown Indy.

    Regarding real estate, perhaps it will garner enough international attention to draw some new development blood downtown. If we get another project like the Waverly or Firehouse Square, I'm going scream!
  • I think this is one of the most exciting projects in Indianapolis. I don't know of any other U.S. city that has done anything comparable to this in their central core. The only pedestrian/bicycle right-of-way that I have seen that is comparable is one in Vienna. They have these great pedestrian/bicycle paths in the city. They are wide and user friendly. This is much better than bicylce lanes that are frquently built next to busy roads. I am a bicyclist but I would never ride on one of those bike lanes. The Cultural Trail will be a great assset for the city for many years.
  • I started walking on the Monon when the first section was paved. Trust me, back then few could see what the true impact would be. Though it's always been great for exercise, the positive development has been just as big. Hope the same holds true for the Cultural Trail.
  • Maybe one of its spin-off benefits will be increased pressure for redevelopment of the MSA site.

    Note: an IU SPEA study showed positive real estate effects (i.e. positive change in market value above the regional mean change) for only some, but not all, Greenways/Trail corridors. Link:

    haha j/k, i know it's privately funded!

    i LOVE the lights they are using to line the trail. I hope budget funds get met so that it actually makes it to fountain square!
  • It should be no surprise the project is garnering national attention. The idea behind this project is bold and brilliant (thank you Brian Payne!) and will be a great recreational and cultural amenity for downtown.

    It is difficult to predict the kind of economic impact the trail could have given its uniqueness, but i would venture to guess the positive impacts (in terms of economic, recreational, cultural) will be more noteable than any of us can imagine at this point.

    It seems the general public in Indy has yet to understand how impressive and highly regarded this project is for the City (or maybe i've been refering too much to the Indystar forums). In any case, i think the results of building this trail will help us to get past the idea that soley building stadiums and roads will solve all our social/economic problems.
  • Any name --- I mean ANY name - would have been better than the Cultural Trail --- in a city that lacks it almost entirely. How pretentious! NO disrespect intended here, but let's call a spade a spade... Indy is a clean city, a new city, a nice city, a growing city, etc... --- but one of its main flaws (gasp - yes, Indianapolis HAS flaws folks - or have you never left the state long enough to realize?) is nearly a total lack of culture. If you call the low/mid tier Symphony and low/mid tier art museum and what passes as a Broadway Series, etc.. culture - then you're deluding yourself.
  • I think there are many people both within and outside the city that would disagree with on that point. If you want to see a complete lack of culture I suggest a trip to Orlando, FLorida . Indianapolis has developed a reputation as a city that supports the arts. There are many great things happening. It sounds more like you have an axe to grind and are deluding yourself.
  • Dwirth,

    I think you may be confusing the meaning of the word culture in this case. It seems you adhere to a strict meaning of the word culture and associate it with excellence in world music, art, and theatre. To do this is to limit the use for the word.

    In the case of the Cultural Trail, i assume the word is used deliberately to highlight the fact that the trail connects the downtown cultural districts. But the word is even more appropriate considering these cultural districts are reflective of life in Indianapolis throughout history and today. The trail will pass by historic landmarks, museums, parks, cafes, restaurants, nightclubs, etc. that not only provide insight into the history of Indianapolis and its people, but also how we live modern life here. In essence, the trail will showcase the culture of Indianapolis.
  • Kevin.... you couldn't have said it any better. Dwirth apparently is from some place where a small, bug-infested appartment rents for $1500/mo. I've traveled across the US and to many European countries and can easily recognize that many of our arts-oriented organizations are first class. Unfortunately our Broadway Series did slip for the new season - hard to see biggies like Jersey Boys and Drowsey Chaperone go to nearby cities...but not to us.
  • Dwirth,

    Why is it that people whom have had greater degrees of cultural influence always seem to find a way to put down those that haven't had a similar degree of refinement? Perhaps those who live in this fine city appreciate what we have more than you do. Granted, we would like to see greater emphasis on those areas you mention, but that doesn't mean we have to pretentiously (your word) put down a step in the right direction. You say you mean no disrespect, however that is exactly what you show. We do know we have the flaws you mention, but we would rather see the glass as half full.
  • At least culture is accessible here...go to NYC and try to get tickets to anything...$$$$ and fighting the European tourists... Most people in NYC, while surrounded by world-class culture, would probably tell you they barely take advantage of it (assuming they are telling the truth). Here, it is very easy and not that costly.

    I think the cultural trail will be like the monon - wildly popular - and spur development in the downtown. hopefully that will help the buzz of downtown - which is already heading in the right direction, especially as the new convention ctr opens in 2010, which should bring more visitors and thusly more restaurants, bars, etc. I am encouraged by Indian Garden and BARcelona moving to Delaware St.
  • Thundermutt, thank you for the link to the report regarding greenways and property values. It statistically validates what I said about the Monon, even though the residential property value data was from 1999, just a few years after the Monon was opened.
    More impressive commercial property values could be tracked over the last few years, especially for Broad Ripple, SoBro, and Carmel.
    The Monon is especially popular because it's a neighborhood where people were already walking, like Broad Ripple. This bodes well for the Cultural Trail, which will allow existing walkers to travel longer distances, more safely, and linking together areas and amenities.
    Speaking of safety, the Cultural Trail will be much more easy to police than the Monon, which again, will only serve to add to its appeal.
  • The truth is that most people won't care about the name of this thing and will simply refer to it as the downtown trail or something like that.
  • Interesting link that's applicable to a lot of our discussions about density, redevelopment, transit, trails, walkability, etc.:
  • That's a great article, CDC Guy. Preaching to the choir in my case (we were talking about this 20 years ago when I was in architecture school - it's sad to see how little the status quo of development has changed since then!), but chock full of great statistics and common sense analysis. Thanks for posting it!
  • I think its funny that Dwirth calls Indianapolis uncultured and new.
    One, Indianapolis will be celebrating its 200th birthday soon, and Indianapolis is actually known for the manchoir, sports, its revived interest in arts, monumental architecture, etc. Of course, this wouldn't be found in an uncultured new city.
    Rant over.

    I rode down the cultural trail a few days ago, it was pretty sweet, I can't wait untill its completely finished, I truely believe it will connect our neighborhoods and areas. Hopefully it encourages more pedestrian oriented development within Indianapolis.
  • Let's see - tear out existing sidewalks and
    spend $50 million.

    How about not tear out existing sidewalks
    and spend $50 million on missing sidewalks
    along our arterial streets so that people
    truly have alternative ways to reach these
    cultural destinations - Just a thought.
  • This is a brick path to nowhere without trees and landscaping. Why are they creating a cement and brick pathway without the shade and green beauty to make it beautiful?

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