According to the latest issue of Urban Times, South Meridan Street has begun to make a push to attract more visitors. They’ve added a new Farmers Market on Tuesday evening, which is a good idea to serve the people who can’t make it to the typical lunch-hour markets around the city. One look at the street configuration of the South Meridian district displays what the promoters are up against:
The red line is the path one has to travel to get from the Slippery Noodle on Meridian to Iozzo’s Garden on Meridian. The other angled street between McCarty and Merrill Street feed in to Illinois, which is one-way northbound, so that is not an option. Alternatively, you could head south on Madision and turn right at McCarty, but you’d better pay attention or otherwise you would find yourself on the Interstate. This, unfortunately, is a common theme for streets on the near south side of downtown.
Another issue is that its location is just far enough away from the downtown core to discourage visitation by foot, but too close to justify the fare for a bus trip. The best options for a quick lunchtime visit are by automobile or bicycle. Even worse, the residents of the surrounding Babe Denny neighborhood are treated with little respect, and most of them live on the equivalent of named alleys. Their streets have been disconnected with the interstate feeder streets, not to mention the southern half of the neighborhood.
This commercial block is very fortunate to contain Indianapolis icon Shapiro’s Deli, which has been in business for over a century, and can be used as a landmark for navigation. I fear, however, that without a major investment in street realignment, the neighborhood will have to continue to battle against confusing navigation and a lack of visibility.