September 17, 2021
Since its installation, the new Monon bridge, which crosses over State Road 32, has increased the Monon Trail’s length to a remarkable 25 miles.
This is 25 miles of car-free walkway, cutting through woods, the Carmel Arts District, and major shopping locations in 3 cities. The trail is well maintained which makes it a common location for cyclists in the area looking to practice. It took close to 2 years to build the bridge over State Road 32 and the small continuation north. Now the end of the trail leads pedestrians close to Grand Park.
“I live two miles away,” freshman Addyson Halsted said. “This bridge is a direct route for me to bike to school that I didn't have before. It makes a 2 mile bike ride every morning feasible.”
Others see the trail as beneficial from an economic standpoint. Grand Park is a massive source of revenue for the city as a whole. When Colts training picks up in late summer, that potential for revenue triples.
“Every restaurant on State Road 32 benefits from the traffic moving in and out of Grand Park,” manager at Grindstone on the Monon, John Crossley said, “Not to mention that this entire business [Grindstone on the Monon] sprung from the Monon's presence.”
Because of its proximity to the high school, the strip of businesses on State Road 32 has become a large contributor of jobs for high school students. With this new piece of the Monon, working students have a direct and safe path from school to State Road 32. This allows for more flexibility with work especially for students who do not drive.
“After school I walk to my job at Culvers,” sophomore Bella Rose said.
Now the city has its sights set on expanding the Monon's conjoining trails even further through the city. The Weaver Woods and the Midland Trace trails branch off the main Monon and reach further into shopping centers and recreational areas.
“Walking trails through this city will increase accessibility for those who can’t drive, decrease traffic in congested areas, and make our city more hospitable,” Rose said.
Westfield is a rapidly developing area. In an article titled “The Value of Urban Trails” published by Indiana’s remodeling and construction department, models for urban trail networks like Manhattan and Anchorage were cited as having a beautiful and well used system of paths.
“Thousands of people are incapable of driving, have no access to public transportation, or simply cannot afford the cost of owning a car or paying for bus tickets,” sophomore Courtney Smitley said. “The new bridge and trail open up the city and create opportunities for these people.”