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Week after installation, vehicles have struck bollards intended to increase safety at a dangerous crossing



Indianapolis, Indiana – In less than two weeks after their installation, automobiles have already struck more than half of the bollards at the Monon Trail crossing at 86th Street.

”I don’t know how that happens,” said Connie Szabo Schmucker, holding up a battered and bent bollard that used to be along 86th Street before it was hit by a mystery driver.

Of the thirteen that were put in place less than two weeks ago at the 86th Street and Monon crossing intersection. These days, only four remain.

”To have that many hit and taken out is pretty disheartening and quite frankly I thought drivers would be a little bit better than that,” Szabo Schmucker said.

We spoke with a rider who had even witnessed one of the bollards fall.

”She ran over that post, like the very first day,” said Terry Fletcher. “And was honking because there was somebody turning this way. It was crazy.”

Szabo Schmucker has been involved in the development of this tactical urbanism effort to assist make the Monon crossing at 86th Street safer in his capacity as the advocacy director of Bicycle Garage Indy.

The tactical urbanism project painted the sidewalks, installed rumble strips alongside the roads, and placed bollards around the crosswalks and sidewalks.

All the cyclists we spoke with regarded this crossroads as one of the city’s most hazardous.

”You could sit here and just watch people going through the red all the time,” said Fletcher.

”It’s just very difficult to walk if you are a pedestrian,” said David Tufino.

Szabo Schmucker has already conducted safety and traffic studies at the crossing. According to data, turning right at red lights poses more of a risk than changing lanes or speeding, she said.

Although there is a no-right-on-red zone throughout the intersection, it is rarely observed. The purpose of the bollards and extra street markers is to hopefully increase motorist attention before turning.

”We’re hoping that by making the curves a little bit sharper, people will actually be more at a right angle when they turn so they’ll see if there are people in the intersection,” she said.

Leading the tactical urbanism project were Bicycle Garage Indy, the Nora Alliance, and numerous volunteers. The initiative was made feasible by local grants totaling thousands of dollars.

It is scheduled to end in September. Szabo Schmucker stated that they will start a traffic and safety analysis using the new infrastructure in roughly a month. To give pedestrians and drivers a month to acclimate to the new features on the roads, they are delaying their implementation.
According to Szabo Schmucker, the bollards will be reinstalled on Tuesday of next week. Of the nine that have been brought down, eight have been located. Eight of those can be put to further use. One of them is irreparably destroyed.

Bike enthusiasts are pleased that action has been taken, despite the collapsed bollards.

”They did an incredible job,” Fletcher said.

”I’m happy to see something is being done since there have been so many fatalities up this way,” added Curt Jones, another cyclist out Friday morning.

There’s a yellow wreath on the south side of 86th Street, reminding anybody who walks by the location of cyclist and Bicycle Garage Indy employee Frank Radaker’s bike death in 2021.
Szabo Schmucker, a former colleague of Radaker, is optimistic that these modifications will improve intersection safety and stop any more fatalities.

Schmucker requests that the missing bollard be brought back to Bicycle Garage Indianapolis if you know where it is.