Walk a Mile in the Shoes of Indy Residents

Walk a Mile in the Shoes of Indy Residents
The Indianapolis Cultural Trail connects connects neighborhoods and cultural districts throughout the city. (Photos courtesy of Indianapolis Cultural Trail)

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Recently named one of the top 50 most walkable large cities in the United States, Indianapolis, Ind., has just placed the final pavers on its Indianapolis Cultural Trail, adding to its walkability.

The 8-mile bike and pedestrian path connects neighborhoods, cultural districts and ends within a half block from the door of most entertainment venues in the city, including major hotels, theaters, universities and the famed Lucas Oil Stadium.

“Construction started in 2007, and the trail was built in segments,” says Kären Haley, executive director of Indianapolis Cultural Trail, Inc. “People love it.”

Residents use the trail for recreation as well as a peaceful route to and from work. The linear park includes approximately 200,000 square feet of green space, flowers, trees and other green infrastructure to prevent stormwater runoff.

“Stormwater from the street is diverted into planters along the trail,” says Haley. “The plants are designed to absorb as much water as possible. They work fantastically. They fill up when it rains, then the plants slowly absorb the water. It keeps the water out of our storm sewer system, which is good because the city is working on improving our CSOs.”

The City of Indianapolis is under a consent decree with the U.S. EPA to upgrade its stormwater sewer system by 2025. The city’s largest capital infrastructure project is currently ongoing to upgrade all of the sewer systems.

Stormwater projects implemented by the city to see what techniques work for stormwater control include:

  • Piloting different types of green infrastructure, including permeable sidewalks
  • Piloting permeable curbs and gutters
  • Installing rain gardens in parks
  • Installing stormwater planters from success at the trail
  • Installing permeable concrete alleys

“It’s the best bang for the buck in terms of operations and maintenance costs for green elements,” says Haley.


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