Building a Better Bikeway

The photos were taken by Justin Harter. Penn bike lane, showing obstruction of the lane by a vehicle.

Just over two years ago, Indianapolis built its fist “parking protected bike lane.” The purpose behind this bike lane was to demonstrate that parking could be used as a means of protection from moving traffic on Pennsylvania Street and was constructed between St. Clair Street and Washington Street when Penn was resurfaced.

Parking protected bike lanes are not new concepts. They have been successfully implemented in cities all around the United States. However, the Penn Street lane has presented substantial challenges. These challenges stem from the removal of signage for roughly half of each year during the winter months, gaps in the plastic posts, and a lack of enforcement to curb the abusive use of the bike lanes for illegal parking and storage. These challenges present a hazard to all street users and should be addressed.

It wouldn’t be fair to call the Penn Street bike lanes a failure. This our first try at a parking protected bike lane and there are lessons to be learned that we can apply to future bike lanes in the city. We can continue to become a good city for pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers alike. However, we can only do this through learning and growing. In the near future, Strong Indy will be exploring manners and partnerships to improve these bike lanes for everyone. We are hoping that these ideas can be expanded to future parking protected bike lanes throughout the city.


If you are interested in submitting ideas or being a part of the team to improve these bike lanes, please feel free to visit our website and contact us at

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