Broad Ripple’s Cornell Ave Improvement Project


Cornell Ave, Present Day (image credit: Curt Ailes)
Cornell Ave, Present Day (image credit: Curt Ailes)

Indianapolis DPW is planning an improvement to Cornell Ave, located in Broad Ripple Village, just north of the Central Canel. The project aims to repair damaged streets and sidewalks and mitigate long-standing drainage problems in a project that should yield more than what might otherwise, in some cases, be simple remedial improvements.

The project scope is defined in terms of improving drainage, walkability and ease of parking. The project area is defined as Cornell Ave from the Central Canal to 67th Street at the Indianapolis Art Center.

Cornell Ave Project Detail (image credit: Indy DPW)
Cornell Ave Project Detail (image credit: Indy DPW)

According to plans obtained by Urban Indy, the entire project will  be conducted in 5 phases starting immediately north of the Canal and will repave the roadway, repair sidewalks, add new sidewalks where none exist and improve existing storm drains in the area. Additionally, the Broad Ripple Village Association has worked with DPW to secure conduit installation along the right of way for future lighting improvements that would be implemented in the form of more pedestrian scaled fare versus tall mast lighting.

Cornell Ave, Present Day (image credit: Curt Ailes)
Cornell Ave, Present Day (image credit: Curt Ailes)

Tom Healy, President of the Broad Ripple Alliance for Progress, has also begun fundraising for Phase 1 of Art 2 Art parallel to this project. According to Tom,

“On behalf of the Broad Ripple Alliance for Progress, I applied for and was awarded a $17500 challenge grant that will be used in the area from the Art Center to the Canal along the Monon Trail.”

“…We’ll work w/ KIB to plant trees. Collaborate w/ Davinci Pursuit & Indpls Art Center to install and repair artwork and establish the Bill Brink Memorial Gardens.”

Along with the improvements, modifications to the existing angle in parking will be made. Where nose in parking is located on the east side of Cornell, north of 65th street, reverse angle parking will be implemented. Locals will recognize this as the same type of parking located on Michigan Street downtown near the Athenaeum. Additionally, new public parking will be added on the same side of the street and north of the existing spaces to compliment what is already a congested area in the evenings and on the weekends.

Cornell Ave Project Area (image credit: Indy DPW)
Cornell Ave Project Area (image credit: Indy DPW)

Taken as a whole, this project should transform what is currently a busy corridor into an even more bike and pedestrian-friendly Complete Street. Additionally, the underused space near the Canal will be much more enticing as an event space. According to Healy, the area immediately north of the canal could be used as programmable space for music, street performers and public art events.

Cornell Ave Project Detail - Note new sidewalks & striping (image credit: Indy DPW)
Cornell Ave Project Detail – Note new sidewalks & striping (image credit: Indy DPW)

Perhaps the biggest change for users who frequent restaurants in this area, will be the addition of sidewalks along Cornell, as well as new access from the Monon at 64th & 65th street. Currently, pedestrian access from the trail to Cornell is via roadside dirt paths. This will make for a much nicer pedestrian experience. Additionally, striped crossings will alert motorists to what is already, a heavily foot trafficked area. Perhaps most importantly, the opportunity to begin implementing portions of the Art2Art project is a huge win for Broad Ripple as well as the team pushing for this cultural enriching project.

Cornell Ave, 64th St & The Monon (image credit: Curt Ailes)
Cornell Ave, 64th St & The Monon (image credit: Curt Ailes)

A public meeting / open house will be held Wednesday, June 5 @ 6:30 p.m. at the Broad Ripple Park in the Family Center Building (former Library building). Anyone interested in viewing the plans can see them on display and speak with DPW personnel regarding the design of the project.

Comments 18

  • This looks great. As someone who lives down the street in Butler-Tarkington, this area is my stomping ground. I’m up there often either at the MoFoCo, Brewpub, BRICS, or even shopping at Rusted Moon. Traveling by car or bike is a test of your internal organs as the road is pretty beat up, and there aren’t a lot of exits off the Monon into this shopping/dining strip.

    Could you help me with where the old library building is? Not super familiar with the park layout minus the bark park.

  • Thanks for posting Curt. Strictly speaking the DPW is holding an informational open house rather than a formal public meeting. Plans will be available for viewing and staff will be on hand to answer questions but there will not be any presentations. People can come and go as they please. I should add that DPW has been great to work with on this project. It helps to have a Complete Streets ordinance and a great Envision Broad Ripple Plan to guide community recommendations and having engaged property owners is always a benefit. It’ll be a bit of a mess this summer (what construction project isn’t!?) but the results should be worth it.

    • Tom & all – I do plan to present a quick 15-20 minute powerpoint at the beginning, mostly to discuss the maintenance of traffic plan. I want to hear from folks to figure out how we can best minimize the disruptions of the block by block road closures. After that, it will be an informational open house until 7:30pm.

  • Much-needed work to one of the most interesting parts of Broad Ripple. Great to see.

  • I would argue that a true complete street would also encompass green infrastructure and diverting at least some of the surface flow to roadside swales or gardens along it.

  • Nice reporting, Curt. Let’s hope this is a start to an incremental overhaul of the long-underperforming streets of Old Broad Ripple, one block at a time. These sort of nuts-and-bolts repairs could really change the attractiveness and maybe even boost the desirability of owning a business/home in the neighborhood.

  • What is the timeline for this to start/estimated completion?

  • Wonderful project and long-needed. This will make Cornell and the Monon into one very nice public space for which I can see lots of uses. Kudos for reverse-angle parking on Cornell!

    I (selfishly) hope KIB does not plant trees within the secton of the trail where Pedal & Park parks bicycles for the Broad Ripple Art Fair. Nonetheless, I applaud this project and, if trees get planted, we’ll adapt. Perhaps I could help site them?

  • Follow Up. I attended last night, albeit late so I missed a couple things. Quick notes/highlights:

    -Most of the non-street work is going to involve the west (commercial) side of Cornell. There should be a continuous sidewalk that runs from the canal up to 66th st, maybe 67th. Can’t remember.

    -Electrical conduit will be run underneath the above sidewalk, but no additional lighting will be installed, primarily due to budget. They mentioned that BR could use TIF funds or seek a grant like Irvington did to pay for lighting.

    -There will be a sidewalk that runs from 64th/Monon and 65th/Monon to Cornell so people won’t have to walk along the street itself. There will also be a couple paved paths from Monon to parking lots along Cornell, but I can’t remember exactly where (they are outlined in the plans).

    -Bidding begins today (6/6), and rerouting of gas/water/electrical being done this month. Actual hardscape work is estimated to start next month. Major portion of work should be completed in October, with final touches extending into November.

    -Sidewalk and flat work will begin first on a block-by-block basis so as to minimize disruption. Then, the entire street strip will get reworked in one large strip to save time and costs and make things as continuous as possible. Therefore, the streets will stay ugly most of the summer, but the pedestrian sections will see gradual upgrades.

  • Clarification: Conduit on west side of Cornell. Monon side will still be dark.

  • Greetings from Monon Row. Thanks for all the info. A very welcome project indeed.
    Quick question: Any thought in there about making Cornell one-way going North? At least to 66th similar to Ferguson being one-way south from 66th. Seems to work well during the Art Fair to keep things moving. On regular weekends it gets tough to get through Cornell and you have to wait and adjust to sneak by oncoming traffic. And I’m sure it would be incredibly difficult for an emergency vehicle to get through if needed.

    Just curious. Thanks again for the updates. Much appreciated.
    Looking forward to a cool project.

    • Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think Broad Ripple would want additional one-way streets. Generally speaking, anything that makes cars move faster also tends to make an area more hostile toward pedestrians and bikes. If BRVA really does intend to make Broad Ripple more bike/ped friendly, one-way streets don’t help. You make good points, but I don’t think it matches the direction that the village seems to be moving.

  • Miller pipeline seems to be doing some
    prep work today.
    Is there a start date for the project yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *