Last July, Urban Indy brought you the 30,000 foot view of the newly announced 16 Tech Plan. We asked Develop Indy a lot of questions about the project which would take a currently underutilized tract of land on the NW side of downtown and turn it into an office/industrial park for the urban core.
Urban Indy specifically pointed out the nature of developments such as this, and that being the large amount of required parking. We asked what was being done to address this since large surface parking is already an issue downtown; an issue which the city is purposefully trying to eliminate. Develop Indy responded by stating that structured parking would be, “encouraged and required.”
At the time, this sounded like the best approach. At Urban Indy, we constantly debate the merits of parking and it’s non-contribution to the urban built environment. If required, structured parking is the best way to go about it from the point of view of utilizing the limited and valuable urban core land. It could be argued that initial costs are more expensive for building structured parking vs surface lots but long term efficiency tells us structured will win out.
So, it was with a large amount of disappointment when I saw the latest document from the city that divides the land for 16 Tech into individual parcels, with a complimentary parking layout. Obviously, absent from this document, is any mention of the aforementioned structured parking. Indeed, it resembles a suburban office park instead of an urban employment cluster as was originally sold when the announcement was made last year. So what happened? Was the wrong team of designers assigned to tackle the project initially? With a lack of properly focused planning and no policy in place to support ab urban style land use, theÂ existing zoningÂ will result in more of what we are used to seeing.
In my original post, I mentioned what we would NOT like to see, additional large surface parking lots. It appears that if things proceed as the city has laid out, we will indeed get more of it. This presents a fantastic opportunity to change the direction before any earth is moved, to co-locate all the planned surface parking into one structure and plan for additional uses of the land that do not include expensive and wasteful automobile parking.