This blog talks frequently about density and sustainable development. I thought that some visual aids help to bring the point across.
This area is not far from the proposed Northeast Corridor, which as Curt Ailes astutely pointed out, is not very dense. Notice almost all of the buildings are commercial in nature. Of course the roads are congested, there’s simply no other way to get around than by car. The dwellings are all on the periphery. Suffice it to say, if the northeast corridor is intended to be a commuter train to downtown, few people will board who actually live within this square mile.
Congestion is just one of many issues with this type of development. All of the resource-heavy infrastructure for paved parking lots, sewer and water lines, and wide roads are an expensive drain on our city. It’s no wonder municipalities around the country are going broke.
Now let’s look at a square mile in the heart of the East Side:
This square mile is not far from the proposed East Washington Street light rail line. The potential for transit ridership is about as high as it gets in Indianapolis. The walk or bicycle ride to the transit corridor would be direct and logical for most people, while reducing the need for expensive and land-heavy park-and-ride facilities.
Crafting transportation advancements based on traffic congestion ignores the greater problem with suburban development patterns. I hope that the MPO will figure this out before setting the Indy Connect plan in motion. I will still support Indy Connect as a rule, as the improved bus routing and frequency are too crucial to pass on. But I hope that it can also give us an awesome light rail network based on housing density and sidewalk networks.