Placemaking In Meridian Kessler, part II

Time for the next installment of Placemaking. The following are 10 places that don’t work in Meridian-Kessler

1. Former video store at 52nd and College. Suburban design that requires an unattractive illuminated street sign in order to see what is in the store, because the building is set back from the street much farther than the rest of the commercial buildings on the block.

2. No bike lanes (yet). This is less of an issue because the area is served by the nearby Monon Trail.

3. Cheap Fast Food restaurants near 38th and College. Unfortunately, these are the only places in the area that many nearby residents can afford, which leads to health issues that are well known.

4. No official parks. It’s actually amazing that there are no neighborhood parks in such a large, relatively dense geographic area. Canterbury and Tarkington Parks are both located on the periphery.

5. Former KFC at 49th and College. Again, not an appropriate design for the location.

6. Fresh Market. I shop there because it’s so close, but it is disappointing in its lack of local produce. The walkway along the west of the building includes a large column that requires a deft move by a pedestrian to avoid, especially if they are carrying groceries. I also don’t care for the parking in the front. Fortunately, it’s not a total loss: the use of stone is nice, and I’m glad that they have the rooftop parking. The best news is, as commenters mentioned in my last installment, Locally Grown Gardens is just 3 blocks away if you want to buy local produce.

7. Intermittent Sidewalks. Not all streets are as blessed with sidewalks as my street is. 54th Street east of College is a frequent complaint (and makes the walk from Fresh Market to LGG somewhat challenging).

8. Church at 46th and College. Inefficient use of land, in contrast to the fine older churches in the neighborhood.

9. Decaying post-industrial area along Winthrop next to the Monon. This is also an opportunity.

10. A few 1960’s era windowless mid-rise buildings: AT&T building at Kessler and College, and the United Way at 38th and Meridian. Fortunately the neighborhood has been lucky to avoid most of these monoliths.

Comments 11

  • Whoa!

    "Decaying post-industrial area along Winthrop next to the Monon."

    What do you have against old discarded mail trucks, floor covering warehouses, and former sex clubs?

  • Kevin, if you hate the lack of sidewalks, you and my wife would be best friends. haha we lieve just east of the monon in the 50th street area, and about a 4 block stretch of our street has no sidewalks, where north and south of it, they exist. I wish I could get this changed. Another good list.

  • 54th may not be the best example of sidewalk gap. The only gap on the north side of 54th between Meridian St. and American Village is the 100 yards centered on the Monon…which is really odd when you consider it. But there is sidewalk on the south side of the street there.

    Butler-Tarkington (west of Meridian) and the neighborhoods east of the Monon are far worse-served with sidewalks than Meridian Kessler.

  • Actually, the south side of 54th is more intermittent than the north side. But you're right, there are worse places in the city for sidewalk coverage.

  • Great list. I would say one of the most disappointing aspects of Indianapolis in general are the boring, lifeless, and mundane streetscapes. College Avenue warrants better infrastructure and street amenities to distinguish itself as one of Naptown's future 20 hour strips. I'm still dreaming of the College Avenue lightrail system that connects Broad Ripple with Mass Avenue some day. What a great opportunity.

  • Great Post!!

    If you want to be a part of making these changes happen I encourage you to look into CAN DO, College Ave Neighborhood Development Org ( They are currently doing visioning sessions for the future of College ave. Also, check out There is a lot of great info on the site. It leaves a little to be desired esthetically, which is another project we're working on.

  • Okay…now I'll complain.

    Since when did urbanites adopt the "if it looks bad, I'm not going there" attitude embedded in the "Anonymous" comment above?

    Of course it doesn't look like Carmel or Fishers or Zionsville or the Circle. It's not supposed to.

    City 101: part of the buzz of a city is its reinvention of itself. That formerly office/industrial strip on 54th east of the Monon has been reborn as a place to be. Yes…there's 100 yards of sidewalk missing between your house and where you want to go. Yes, you have to walk past some run-down stuff. That's part of the value of the reinvention: you have to make a conscious decision to go despite a minor obstacle or a lack of polish and shine, in order to get something worthwhile.

    Few may believe it, but Broad Ripple Avenue was in a similar place 20-25 years ago. And even today, with narrow and crumbling sidewalks in the village, and a few vacant and raggedy shops, it thrives (and has become a special place) in spite of its deficiencies.

  • Thundermutt, I can always count on you to complain. Grin.

    My picture posts normally feature abandoned commercial buildings, so I know where you are coming from regarding urban grit and imperfections.

    As I mentioned, the area along Winthrop is an opportunity. I'll talk more about that in the next post.

    As far as sidewalks go, there's a lot more missing in the neighborhood than 100 feet on the north side 54th Street (not to mention the longer stretch on the south side of the street), I was just using that as an example of something that can be worked on. Winthrop north of about 55th Street, and many of the numbered side streets to the south of 54th and east of College are also missing sidewalks. Fortunately, the traffic is so light there that it is mostly not a big deal.

  • Kevin, I wasn't aiming my remarks at you. I am quite certain you look past the strip of ugly stuff on Winthrop south of Mama Carollas, and The Bottle Shop, and the vacant Movie Gallery…

    And I agree with your list of places that need improvement; I agree with the need (often stated by The Urbanophile) to build on the good and improve the good places in Indy beyond "good enough". I think it's absurd that there are missing sidewalk segments in otherwise highly-walkable places. (Another really glaring example: missing links between Meridian and Illinois along both sides of 56th and the south side of Westfield, effectively requiring walkers from M-K to the very pedestrian-friendly shops at 56th & Illinois to walk in a relatively busy street.)

    I'm more aiming at those who call acceptable or okay places "bad" because they allow one or two things they don't like to overwhelm all the good. I've never noticed you doing that.

  • Thundermutt, what ANON are you referring to because I'm a bit confused by your comment: Anon WHOA! or ANON Great List?

    Fortunately, College Avenue will NEVER become disnified (like Carmel) because it is probably the most community oriented strip in all of Indy, mainly because of it's diversity. It will definitely develop organically…Thank goodness! I hope the city will build upon this and take into consideration of the potential College Avenue has in moving Indy closer to the realm of a 'worldclass city'. It's not going to do this by trying to be NYC or Chicago.

  • Great list! Thanks to Bryan for pointing out the CAN DO! sponsored College Avenue Envisioning Sessions. Please check out the website at: for more information. Anyone interested in the College Corridor redevelopment is highly encouraged to participate in these sessions and provide input. It is the best way to insure that the mentioned monoliths and other undesireable development does not happen and that residents and businesses define the desired changes on College Avenue.

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