Lacking Options

Last weekend, I went down to Bloomington to watch the Oaken Bucket game. The trip from the north side of Indianapolis to Bloomington took around 3 hours total, with only one quick stop for gas and ice. Traffic was a mess, with a major back-up at nearly every major traffic light along the way. There is a great deal of angst on the IU Football Forum over traffic control issues as well as roads that can not handle the amount of out-of-town fans a big game can generate. Of course, as a general rule, people are calling for additional lanes to the roads to help the flow. This seems strange to take measures like this for 7 home games out of a 365-day year. The real problem, of course, is a lack of traveling options. A person going from Indy to Bloomington has almost no choice but to drive on State Road 37 south of Martinsville.

Fortunately, there can be a better solution. Imagine, if you dare, an electrified high-speed rail link between Bloomington and Indy. Not only would this be popular for game-days, it would also take people off the road, hopefully alleviating some of the massive traffic back-ups without widening the roads to accommodate for a paltry 7 days a year. I realize that a rail line would be much more expensive than new and wider roads, but its prospects for long-term sustainability are much greater than that of the personal automobile. We’re about to enter a new era, where cheap oil is but a memory. It would be a shame to continue down our path of widening roads, and leave ourselves without real options.

Comments 7

  • Kevin –

    I think you are right on, but let’s face it, the general public will not embrace anything other than building/expanding roads until we see strong leadership on the issue.

    Unfortunately, true leaders are a rare find in Indiana. There are so many opportunities for Indiana to be leading the nation in terms of sustainable living, but i don’t think we know how to be leaders anymore. We Indianans have become far too apathetic and we’ve forgotten how to be courageous and creative.

  • I did not go to the game last year, but did go two years ago. Traffic is a horrible mess. It always has been. More efficient roads and the I-69 extension should help significantly.

    However, to think out of the box. High-speed rail or at least some form of light rail should be considered to link Lafayette to Indianapolis to Bloomington. Much has been mentioned about how Bloomington resists any link with Indy or ,heaven forbid, Lafayette, but it makes sense to link the areas. True economic growth will be generated by the corridor.

    Alas it may never happen. Bloomington will resist all change and eventually be cut off. I think that’s just how they want it.

  • Thanks both for the comments. We really lack leadership from both sides of the aisle. The politicians from one side seem to concentrate on trivial wedge issues, while the other side does whatever they can to make the person in the other party to look bad without offering any ideas themselves. We’re asleep at the wheel when dealing with much larger issues in this state.

  • I agree 100%.

    I was stuck in that traffic and then I was routed down 17th street. It was a nightmare!

    Chicago has a great mass transit system that goes down the middle of highways. This could easily be done down 37.

  • Two challenges:

    1. The I-69 proposal, with its politics, likely moots any rail link. If I-69 is killed for some reason, then rail is possible. Otherwise, no problem.

    2. Bloomington/IU regards Indiana generally and Indianapolis in particular with suspicion and hostility. It is interesting how little demand for rail links to Indy and the airport there are in B-town, despite the generally left of center views that prevail there.

    Also, enhanced bus service could work just as well.

  • You’re right as usual Arenn. The enhanced bus service is something I saw a lot in Turkey. If they can do it, so can we.

  • The railroad from Indy through Bloomington is communicating with both the mayor of Bloomington and IU about passenger rail service between the two cities. Sounds like it only a couple years away.

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