Jun 8, 2022 - News

City finds Indianola Ave. compromise in bikes vs. cars dispute

A car speeds by local businesses on Columbus' Indianola Avenue.

The Indianola Business District will be reconfigured to include bike lanes, street parking and safer pedestrian crossings. Photo: Courtney Hergesheimer/Columbus Dispatch/USA Today Network

A busy Clintonville thoroughfare is getting a major makeover in an effort to appease local bicyclists and business owners.

Why it matters: The debate on how to best reconfigure Indianola Avenue (Route 23) shows the difficulty in designing accessible streets within a car-dependent city.

State of play: Bicyclists have long sought the installation of bike lanes along Indianola to better connect Morse Road to the north and downtown.

The other side: Business owners have expressed concerns that doing so would come at the expense of parking spaces serving their shops, restaurants and the Studio 35 Cinema and Drafthouse.

The latest: After months of back and forth, the city announced a compromise last week that will cut down a lane of traffic to add bike lanes while retaining 48 on-street parking spaces.

  • The project, set for construction in 2024, will also feature redesigned sidewalks and crosswalks for improved pedestrian safety.

What they're saying: Tanya Bils, a local advocate for bike accessibility who has organized group rides around town, is mostly glad with the final plan, though she wishes progress was not so incremental.

  • Individual project disputes like Indianola take up so much oxygen, she tells Axios, while entire swaths of the city elsewhere lack safe and adequate bike infrastructure.
  • "The growth predictions for Columbus are pretty amazing over the next 25 years," she says. "If we address those things now, and we create infrastructure that deprioritizes cars, we won't have as much gridlock."

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