Avon Gathering Alternative Ideas for US 36

The picture above is obviously not Avon (note the hill), but the built environment doesn’t look much different. US 36 is basically the only option for a person driving from Danville to Indianapolis, and it might be the best (worst?) example of unplanned sprawl in the metro area. This article in the Star mentions that the town is gathering ideas for alternative options for US 36. One can sense a backlash against sprawl in the article:

AVON — Town officials, business owners and residents said Wednesday they hope to avoid a future of heavy traffic, busy signage and sterile strip mall construction along Avon’s major roadway, U.S. 36.

Avon Planning Director Christine Owens Wednesday led a meeting to generate ideas for building guidelines, known as an overlay district, for the section of the highway within the town’s limits. The guidelines would set standards for building architecture and landscape in the district.

About 15 people attended the Town Hall meeting. Participants said they liked the use of landscaping, decorative lighting and crosswalks, but they disliked busy signage, strip center layouts and giant parking lots.

“When you own a business you want to make sure your sign is out there,” said Dawn Eising, who owns the Subway on the much-traveled roadway. “U.S. 36 is a busy thoroughfare, so people only have a few seconds to see that sign. From a residential standpoint, people who live here, they don’t want the buildings to be billboards.”
Those at the meeting brainstormed ideas that were straightforward, such as reducing traffic flow and improving communication with the Indiana Department of Transportation. Other ideas were more imaginative.

“I would like to see 36 with a monorail system going all the way to Danville and to Indianapolis, with a spike to the airport,” said Joe Shimrock, an Avon resident who owns property along U.S. 36.

Can US 36 be saved? It would take a huge investment to change the suburban nature of the road. The fact they are looking at other options speaks well for them. I just hope it’s not too little, too late.

Comments 6

  • Avon is known for its poor planning and politics. The trouble was that they felt they were losing the housing war with Hamilton county and therefore let developers come in and build 4+ houses per acre.

    Never once did they try to upgrade or build a new infrastructure even though they knew roads were restricted by the train yards. There is only 2 places in a 5 mile stretch to access 36 from Plainfield and so the real headaches have become the secondary roads and thats the problem the really need to address.

  • Interesting point about the housing war, which is something I’m not familiar with.

    And you’re right about the secondary roads too. That whole area is a traffic nightmare.

  • BTW, you probably knew this was Doyle. I haven’t started the new blog yet.

  • Keep in mind that Avon did not exist as a town until the late 90’s. And even today there are quite a few developments that haven’t been annexed. I believe a good chunk of the housing and commercial developments along Rockville were approved by the county, not the town.

    I’m not going to defend Rockville too much, but there are plenty of other examples almost exactly like it: East Washington St. in Marion County just beyond the expressay, West Washington St. (Main St.) in Plainfield, US 31 and Meridian in Greenwood, etc.

  • Ya, I know there are plenty of other examples that look similar, but that stretch is pretty much unavoidable, which is why I called it the worst. Maybe it’s just the most frustrating. When I drive up US 31, I generally head down Madison through the town of Greenwood. There is no old town in Avon, so no way to get your bearings.

  • Avon is ugly, uninspired, souless, and annoying. Just like most cities outside of 465.

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