The much-maligned planter boxes installed last year along Range Line Road could soon be getting a makeover.
The City of Carmel is working with Carmel-based Wilkinson Bros. design studio to improve the look of the boxes installed to provide a barrier to protect people using the new bike line.
“I do not like the way the planter boxes look either, along with most of the community,” Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard said. “I don’t think anybody was happy with them, but they do protect the bicyclists, so we’re looking for wraps that make them not look so off-balanced like little trolley cars.”
The city has spent $4,100 for Wilkinson Bros. to design a more attractive way to present the planters. The total cost for the upgrade is still to be determined.
Brainard said he would have preferred to install permanent, concrete planters, but Carmel’s boxes need to be movable to make way for the floats and other large groups that march in the Fourth of July parade. The current planter boxes are designed to be able to be lifted up and moved by a forklift.
City officials have considered several upgrade options, including magnetic wraps that hide the box structure but can be removed when the planters need to be relocated. Once a final decision is made, the city may place one on a box and gather community feedback before installing more.
In addition to receiving complaints about the look of the planters, city officials said they have heard that residents think the boxes are flimsy. Brainard said they are more solid than they look and that one suffered only a little damage when a vehicle recently ran into it.
The city is planning to expand the bike lane and add more planters in the future as it continues with the transformation of Range Line Road.
“Most cities don’t put anything up to protect the cyclists, and I thought it was important we do that,” Brainard said. “We’ve just got to get something that looks better.”