Converted from paper version of the Broad Ripple Gazette (v04n10)
Straub looks to enhance and expand trail usage outside the Monon - By Ashley Plummer
posted: May 18, 2007
Even though it is the most used trail in the City, Karina Straub, the new Indianapolis Greenway directors, wants area residents to know there are more trails for them to use than the Monon.
"My main priority is to enhance the city's trail system in general," Straub said. "There are so many other amazing trails in the area, and we are working to connect them for the benefit of Indianapolis residents."
Straub's position is a part of a branch of the Indy Parks Department. As an employee of the Indianapolis Greenways system, she works to operate and maintain the city's 39 miles of greenway trails, 26 miles of blueways, and a variety of conservation corridors.
The Greenways system also encompasses streams, old railroad and utility corridors and historic locations, like the 1836 Canal Towpath. The future hope is to eventually contain more than 150 miles of interconnected trails throughout Marion County.
Straub, who just recently landed her new role as the Greenways Director, has a very positive outlook for the city's trails system-a system that is consistently recognized locally, regionally and nationally for its premier public service to Indianapolis citizens. Straub said that she began her career in the public service sector, initially working in Mayor Bart Peterson's communication department, before taking a detour to help finance Melina Kennedy's campaign for county prosecutor.
"I was able to help raise $1.2 million dollars for the campaign in about 16 months," she said. "But afterwards, I knew I was still very interested in getting back into the public service sector."
Straub continued by explaining that when the position at the Greenways opened, she felt that she could help enhance the new systems with her background in public relations and her dedication to thinking outside the box to promote and discover new ways for citizens to discover city trails.
"Fundraising is always a challenge, and creativity is a must in a time where budgets are constantly being cut," she said. "We are constantly working with the Greenways and building a good rapport with the Greenways foundation."
Straub said that what many residents don't realize is that it can take anywhere from $800,000 to $1 million to build one mile of trails, and that the city needs about another $50 million to finalize their overall plan of connecting all the trails in the area.
Including the Monon, there are currently ten trails in the city that the Greenways staff is working to connect. These include the White River Trail, The Central Canal Towpath, The Fall Creek Trail, Eagle Creek Trail, Little Buck Creek Trail, The Pennsy Rail-Trail, Pleasant Run Trail, Pogue's Run Trail and Town Run Trail.
Obviously the most familiar to Broad Ripple Residents, the Monon has become somewhat of a love-hate situation for numerous area residents.
"The Monon is the most used trail in the city, but somehow, even though it's in the busiest area, it receives the most vandalism," Straub said. "We also hear the most complaints about traffic on the Monon than any other trails in the city."
Straub explained that she and her staff are currently working on a campaign to promote safety on the trail for all methods of traffic-cyclists, walkers, runners and rollerbladers.
"Trail safety has become a big issue, but we hope that people will always be cognizant of trail etiquette," she said. "The Greenways have rules, and they are for everyone-I won't be throwing cyclists off the trail anytime soon, but I won't be throwing walkers off at any point either."
When questioned about night safety on the trail, which has recently become a big issue in the Village area, Straub explained that while she understands that people want to have the trail lit up at night, the Greenways must follow current Indianapolis Park Department laws of only being open from dusk till dawn.
"It will be a future issue," she said. "But for now, we are more concerned with the current project of connecting the trails to create a better recreational source for Indianapolis residents. When we start looking at the trails as simply modes of transportation, then we can hopefully focus on providing more night safety and access."
For current up to date information on the trails, or for maps and other activities involving the city parks, check out www.indyparks.org and click on the Greenways heading.