Column: Changes in store for Monon Trail
By Pete Smith
It looks like the southern portion of the Monon Trail that runs through Carmel will get a facelift sometime this year.
Carmel Clay Parks and Recreation Director Mark Westermeier said the trail will be resurfaced with new asphalt due to normal wear and tear over the past 15 years.
But before the work can begin, the parks department – which manages the trail for the city – needs to construct a temporary detour route for runners and cyclists.
And need isn’t an overstatement, Westermeier said.
In his experience, there have been multiple instances where trail users refused to stop moving forward.
The first was when construction equipment was placed on the trail and surrounded by a temporary chain link fence. “Mononers” proceeded to cut through the fence with bolt cutters and run through the zone like an obstacle course.
The second was when a utility pipe had to cross the trail, requiring a temporary trail to be cut and some fresh asphalt to be laid at night. The repairs took a little longer than expected and the asphalt was still drying by the time some early morning bicyclists refused warnings from workers and the visible construction barriers. They then cussed out the workers when the fresh asphalt damaged their bikes’ tires.
The last was when some trees had to be cut down adjacent to the trail. The trunks were laid across the trail while waiting for a truck to come haul them away. By this point Westermeier wasn’t surprised when he saw some Carmel citizens walking toward the trees with chainsaws.
There are also plans to add more visible stop signage at Monon Trail intersections to try to prevent people from wandering into roads without stopping. These might include stop signs, signs that warn cross traffic doesn’t stop, painted “stop” language on the pavement, rumble strips or mini speed bumps.
Hopefully trail users will keep the chainsaws at home when they see the changes.