Earlier this week, I was fortunate enough to stay for 3 nights in downtown Chicago. A Chicago trip always trips my urbanist triggers, and this time was no different. Comparing Indianapolis and Chicago is a futile pursuit, but that doesn’t mean I don’t do this while I’m there. Fortunately, I’ve come away with some inspiration that can apply to our city.
- Each Bus Stop has the map of its route posted. This would be a nice way to give people an idea of where the buses travel without needing to find a guide or the internet. Still, we probably should re-design our routes first before enshrining them on bus stops.
- Green Roofs. I actually saw 2 different green roofs from the vantage point of our hotel room. This was a nice, unexpected surprise, and gives the visitor a positive impression on the direction of the city.
- A dirt cheap solution for bicycles. One particular street had a painted outline of a cyclist on the street, and a sign warning that drivers are to yield to them. That’s all there was. No painted bike lane. I’m not sure if I’m endorsing this or not, but if we’re looking to cut costs, we could look in to this.
- Our main Library trumps Chicago’s in both functionality and attractiveness, especially on the interior. I attempted to spend some time in Chicago’s Library and felt somewhat oppressed. We need to find a way to promote our Library as a special place where a person can learn and feel inspired.
- Trees on the street can make a huge difference. In my neighborhood walks in Chicago, the streets with street canopies were almost invariably more pleasant. Keeping Indianapolis Beautiful’s recent tree plantings will hopefully pay dividends in the future.
I’m sure that there are more somewhat simple ideas out there that we can apply to our city. This is just a small sample.