When Stephanie Scott runs on Greenwood’s Tracy Trail, she often wishes she could get to Craig Park, but she hasn’t found a safe way to cross U.S. 31.
“I love that we have a lot more trails and sidewalks around here than we did when I first moved here, but I really do wish there was a way for me to get from one side of 31 to the other because it’s too hectic for me to just cross,” Scott said.
Greenwood has more than five trails that go through the city, including along Worthsville, Smith Valley and County Line roads. Many run east to west and cross U.S. 31, but are lacking crosswalks and pedestrian bridges, an issue residents and city officials have discussed in recent years.
Story continues below gallery
At the same time, there have been complaints about a lack of crosswalks on State Road 135 — especially because of the number of businesses along the road people want to walk to, but don’t feel safe crossing the busy highway.
But on both roads, which are owned by the state, officials say there are no immediate plans to add crosswalks because the Indiana Department of Transportation has to make the decision to do so — not the city.
Greenwood city officials considered pedestrian bridges in the past, however, nothing was ever finalized, and there is no timeline for if or when a project could be done.
State Road 135, south of County Line Road, is also an area where some residents said they’d like to see crosswalks. There are currently no crosswalks for pedestrians crossing State Road 135 in Greenwood.
Becky Franks lives within walking distance of many retailers on State Road 135. Although she doesn’t currently walk to them, she said if there were crosswalks, she’d be more apt to.
“It’s a pretty busy area with a lot of businesses and if I wanted to walk and grab a few groceries or some ice cream, I’d feel safer,” Franks said.
But Franks was also concerned about whether crosswalks would make the busy route safer to cross.
“The question would be if people would wait to cross until the traffic slows down or if the traffic would ever slow down enough,” Franks said.
That was also a concern for Alex Heyman, who drives on State Road 135 every day to get to work.
“I’m all for adding trails and sidewalks so people can walk the city, but 135 is so congested and fast paced that I don’t think drivers would slow down around the crosswalks because really, we wouldn’t be used to them,” Heymen said.
Currently, the state does not have a plan to add crosswalks along State Road 135 or U.S. 31, said Harry Maginity, INDOT spokesman. The state is planning to add curb ramps to sidewalks on State Road 135 so people using wheelchairs can easily access the sidewalks as part of a paving project.
Rob Taggart, director of Greenwood Parks and Recreation Department, said although INDOT has the final say about what changes and additions are made to U.S. 31, the road is a big divider in Greenwood and something city officials are talking about. For example, Greenwood officials have talked about adding crosswalks or pedestrian walkways across U.S. 31 that would give more residents access to parks and trails in the area.
“It is something that we are constantly trying to look into — no matter if it is going over U.S. 31 or going under,” Taggart said. “It is a hurdle for us because of the lack of trails connectivity.”