Saturday, March 03, 2007

Update on the Indianapolis Cultural Trail

According to today's Star, it looks like work on the trail will begin in May. Though $14 million of the $50 million project still needs to be raised, bids are being taken on the first phase of the trail.

Indy Star Article

There is now a website for the Trail (well, it's new to me anyway).

Here's how the web page is describing what the trail will be:

"A world-class urban bike and pedestrian path that connects neighborhoods, cultural districts and entertainment amenities, and serves as the downtown hub for the central Indiana greenway trail system."

I wonder who else has built a "world-class" urban bike and pedestrian path, and how that differs from a "national-class" one.

Is anyone else bothered by everyone in the city using "world-class" to define a project here?

These images may have been posted before, but I'll put two up here from the Cultural Trails web page:

Before: Looking east on Washington Street from Capitol Avenue

After: Looking east on Washington Street from Capitol Avenue

10 Responses to “Update on the Indianapolis Cultural Trail”

Carla said...
March 3, 2007 at 6:25 PM

Hopefully it's just poor terminology, but this repetitive striving to make everything in Indy "world class" has the appearance of insecurity and desperation.

It also encourages a top-down approach where we automatically look elsewhere for an identity to copy, rather than figuring out who or what we can be. It is easier and more predictable to cut and paste our culture from pre-approved sources.

I'm not saying everything must be home grown, but that there seems to be a weird psychology at work. Greater credit is given to what and who is from elsewhere, and it skews our perception of ourselves.

Christopher said...
March 3, 2007 at 11:23 PM

Carla - in general I agree with pretty much all of what you said.

In regards to the Trail specifically (and I'm certainly not a trail expwert), I do think it will be something special. All I can say is that in my limited travel I have never seen anything like it.

There are bike friendly places like Amsterdam, and here in the States, I think of great trails like those in Chicago around the lake and in Miami down the beach. But in terms of true urban trails, I don't know any and that's why I think this could be special.

From what I've learned, I'm excited about the very 'green' friendly design the architects are planning (and how odd to hear Indianapolis and green friendly in the same sentence - no one even recycles here!), I'm excited about some art projects that will hopefully be made public knowledge soon, and I'm excited to ride my bike to work and not need to compete with automobile traffic as I cross downtown.

Will this trail transform this city and have everyone immersed in culture and higher learning? Probably not. Will this trail have people excited about and want to spend more time downtown? Yes I think it will. And if they see some art and stop and think a little, all the better.

Richard said...
March 4, 2007 at 9:33 AM

I too am enthusiastic about the potential of the trail.

I'm hoping that the art projects involved will be more challenging than the images shown to date, and that the "green" aspects of it will give it an added dimension. I don't think the drawings on the website give any sense of that so far -- they give the impression of the trail having decent pathway developments: decorative brick and concrete and well-appointed plantings.

In any event, I think it's just as important that the trail raises awarness of car drivers about bikers and walkers in this city. It's a strange city in that way; if you are walking or riding your bike here you can't help but feel like a second-class citizen. I don't mean this in a joking way. There have already been at least 2 hit-and-run deaths to bikers this year. Story here:

And the "world-class" thing has to come to an end. You hear it everywhere about everything. Radio stations, government, advertisers, editorials ... maybe it's just a personal pet peeve that's driving me nuts, but I think Carla has hit the nail on the head we are operating in an era of false arrogance.

Carla said...
March 4, 2007 at 6:08 PM

Bike trail - good.

The general need for predictable successes as dictated by 'world class' barometer - bad but inevitable, and also, understandable.

nicki said...
March 5, 2007 at 12:04 AM

there was an article in the November issue of DWELL magazine regarding our cultural trail. it painted indianapolis in a nice light.

i am actually pretty excited to have this trail running infront of my salon/gallery.

also...if i am not mistaken, this trail will be a first of it's kind.

Anonymous said...
March 6, 2007 at 1:30 PM

My, how embarking into the unknown draws reaction from the insecure.
Suppose the "trail" fails to find favor on the world stage as the holy grail of multimodal paths?....then so be it...the result is that we have an improved sidewalk/alternative upon which bikers,pedestrians, rollerbladers, and moms with strollers can migrate around town with greater ease. It seems many are afraid of stepping onto that world stage,however,...afraid of the thought that their place, their idea, their implementation of an old idea,etc.... might gain favor in the eyes of the world... which is what "world class" actually means in my humble opinion...not that we are copying other great world achievements...but that we are setting the standard for the world...which to some insecure citizens must be a bad have the entire planet voice an opinion in favor of an idea that our city promotes..
Lastly, what fashion designer didn't "look elsewhere" before blowing our socks off with a new twist on an old lapel?

The trail...will be, for better or worse, "world class" whether we like it or not...since at present, there is nothing else quite like it... on the planet.

Carla said...
March 6, 2007 at 7:56 PM


My point is let's have a great bike trail for its own sake.

And that our overuse of the term "world class" is dopey.

Richard said...
March 6, 2007 at 11:26 PM

Hello, Anonymous .

I for one am pretty secure in what Indianapolis is and the reasons I live here. It's not a remarkable city, but it's on par with many other Midwestern cities and there's opportunity here.

I certainly don't think questioning the use of "World Class" for this trail and all the other absurd uses that seem to be going on here is a sine of insecurity.

Just because the city makes and effort to make walking on the sidewalk more comfortable, and perhaps engaging, certainly is not a major milestone. It’s pretty cool, though.

On the other hand, if the city were able to find a way to construct the bricks out of red J-ello, or if the city were able to suddenly provide affordable healthcare for all of its citizens, that I would find rather remarkable, and might even call "World-class.” Because, to my knowledge, making bricks out of J-ello has never been successful accomplished in any use such as this, and healthcare really isn’t affordable.

Perhaps you know a lot about the trail: I only know what's been printed in the paper and on their web page. But the drawings I've seen seem, well, pedestrian.

Richard said...
March 6, 2007 at 11:34 PM

Sorry, but you got to try googling "World Class Indianapolis"

Man, that's good times.

These are some things that are now "World-Class"

WTTS, 92.3
An Ice Rink
Our BDSM group
Some Escorts
Our recently merged police department
A. Arnold Relocation Services
White River State Park
The Zoo
A scale racing group
The symphony
That new hotel downtown

Maybe I'm missing it ... or maybe this should become a World Class Blog!

That's it.
A world class blog. Suddenly, I'm feel a lot more confident, comfortable and optimistice about life.

Anonymous said...
April 2, 2007 at 12:47 AM

Make sure it is skateboard friendly...

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