I noticed signs on Main Street that prohibit bicycles on Main Street in the Arts & Design District. Why the change?

There was a time when riding your bike on the sidewalks along Main Street was just fine. But as the popularity of Carmel’s Arts & Design District – especially its art galleries, gift shops, restaurants and pubs – has grown, the area has continued to draw thousands of visitors from all over central Indiana and the Midwest. The residential neighborhoods in all four directions from this district has also increased substantially, from apartments to condos to beautiful houses.

But for the congestion on the sidewalks, it has brought on some issues we used to not worry about.

That has led to an increase in the number of pedestrians walking on Main Street as they search for a place to eat, shop or check out some art galleries. For our small businesses in the Arts & Design District, that has been a wonderful development. But for the congestion on the sidewalks, it has brought on some issues we used to not worry about.

In July of 2020, the Carmel City Council approved Ordinance D-2534-20 establishing a Bicycle Dismount Zone along Main Street sidewalks between 1st Avenue East and 4th Avenue West. This order was done to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists.

This summer, as crowds began to return to the District after the pandemic closures, the City of Carmel installed new sidewalk markings on Main Street to remind bicyclists that they must dismount and walk their bikes when on the sidewalk in the most congested areas of Main Street in the Arts & Design District. New graphics were painted on the sidewalk in an effort to make them more noticeable to bicyclists.

It boils down to this: The sidewalks on Main Street are often filled with families, children, the elderly, baby strollers and many other obstacles to a safe place to ride your bike. There are restaurants with seating along Main Street, which add to the congestion. That is why we want bicyclists to temporarily dismount and walk their bikes through these more congested areas.

It’s all about safety, not just for pedestrians and visitors, but also for bicyclists.

Authored by Laura Campbell, Sue Finkam, Kevin Rider, Jeff Worrell, Sue Finkam, Bruce Kimball, Miles Nelson, Anthony Green and Adam Aasen.