Saturday, May 21, 2005

Monon Trail expansions

The Monon Trail is one of the best enhancers of the quality of life in Indianapolis -- I'm convinced of it. For those not from here, the core Monon Trail is the old Monon railway easement that runs north/south right through the middle of the city. The original builders created a non-profit and raised money to buy the easements back from land owners as the railroad went defunct and pulled up the tracks. With bridges and crossings already in place, it's made for the perfect paved trailway allowing walkers, skaters, bicyclists, strollers, joggers, runners, and all. Over the years, as various organizations have developed the Canal Tow Path Trail, the White River Trail, Fall Creek Trail and others, walkers and bikers now have 100s of miles of options in trails that link up all around the city. (See the Indy Greenways site for a great map.) The Monon Trail extension has been working its way north for sometime (it now goes 10 miles north from Broad Ripple and at least that same distance south to Massachusetts Avenue) and it looks like there's more to come. Additionally, the city is looking at extending the existing Fall Creek Trail all the way out to Geist eventually. Currently, it ends at the trail head about 54th and Emerson. Planned extensions:

• Monon extension -- Planned in Westfield from 146th Street to 216th Street.
• Cool Creek North Trail -- Planned as a spur off the Monon that would wind through Carmel's northeastside.
• Polk Hill Trail -- Greenwood's first official greenway, which opened last month, runs from Craig Park east to near the Valle Vista Golf Course.
• Fall Creek Greenway -- Indianapolis hopes to extend the trail from its current trailhead east of the Monon all the way to Geist Reservoir.
• Farm Heritage Trail -- An agricultural-themed trail that would connect Lebanon to Lafayette along an old rail line.
• RiverWalk -- Noblesville's planned path along White River that will connect the downtown to its existing White River Trail.
• Midland Trace Trail -- Planned along the old Central Indiana Railroad, it would run from Boone County through Westfield to Noblesville.
• Vandalia Trail -- Work has begun on the greenway planned between Amo and Coatesville. The trail will be part of the larger, 150-mile cross-state National Road Heritage Trail.
• B&O Trail Association continues plans for a trail that would stretch 65 miles from Speedway through Hendricks County all the way to Parke County.

Off to get my bike out for the first long ride of the year. Plus, I'll most likely beat parking and ride up to the Broad Ripple Art Fair to beat parking and take advantage of the Pedal and Park bike corral. More on Trail development from today's Star.


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