Thursday September 25, city leaders, members of the IndyGo executive board and MPO will hold a ground-breaking ceremony for the new Downtown Transit Center.Â Situated on the Southeast corner of Washington and Delaware, the transit center will be the new hub for buses that travel downtown.Â This edifice will be a much needed and welcomed alternative to the current cluster along Ohio Street.Â At this point, only certain details regarding the design, costs, and retail center have been released to the public.Â The center will have 20 bus bays, bicycle racks, and general seating inside.Â However, details regarding which routes will go to the center, operating hours and what the retail center will consist of are still up in the air.Â One can hope that it will at least be open to the public for the same span as IndyGo service hours, but that remains to be seen.Â IndyGo is still accepting public input via online surveys as it sorts out the aforementioned factors.Â Perhaps a look at how 3 comparable cities operate their transit center will help in hashing out the final details.
- Bloomington Transit Center; Bloomington, IN
The Bloomington Transit center opened on August 18, 2014.Â Like the new transit center in Indianapolis will have, the Bloomington Transit Center has an indoor waiting area with Wi-Fi, canopied outdoor waiting areas, LED screens showing real time bus information, and bike racks and lockers.
The building is two stories with a large multipurpose room for employee training on the first floor and police dispatch offices with uniformed police personnel on the second floor.Â There is also a passenger services booth centralized on the first floor.
- Riverfront Transit Center; Cincinnati, OH
The Riverfront Transit Center in Cincinnati opened for service 10 years ago.Â The center is unique in that it is underground under 2nd Street and is adjacent to Great American Ball Park, home of the Reds, and Paul Brown Stadium, home of the Bengals.Â The center can handle up to 500 buses and 20,000 commuters per hour during sporting and other events.Â The transit centerâ€™s special occasions only usage has come to the chagrin of many local residents.Â The center has 20 bus bays, which are used predominately by private charter buses that drop off game day spectators.Â The center is not a regular public space, as posted by the centers rules and regulations which state there is to be no eating, drinking, smoking or loitering in or around the center.
Currently, Cincinnati utilizes a landmark known as Government Square as a transportation hub in the downtown area.Â Government Square is bound by 5th and 6th streets to the south and north and Main and Walnut streets to the east and west.Â This area is slightly comparable to Indianapolisâ€™ usage of Ohio Street, though it boasts large, attractive bus shelters and a booth with planning and scheduling information.
- Charlotte Transportation Center; Charlotte, NC
The final city on our list, Charlotte, is unique in that the city has smaller transit centers designed to fit certain neighborhoods in addition to its main center in uptown Charlotte.Â The Charlotte Transportation Center is the main multimodal hub in Charlotte for the cityâ€™s bus and rail routes.Â The center is open to the public during regular transit hours, 4:50 AM to 1:30 AM daily.Â Shops and restaurants within the center are generally open during normal business hours, 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM on weekdays only.
The Eastland Community Transit center, located at Charlotteâ€™s Eastland Mall, opened in October 2006.Â The open air plaza is spread over 1.5 acres and comes complete with covered passenger waiting areas, a small building which houses the driver comfort station, and up-to-date passenger information.
The SouthPark Community Transit Center was the first transit center to open in Charlotte in December 2004.Â This center is actually located in the parking deck of SouthPark Mall between the Belk and Dillards stores.Â The waiting area is climate-controlled, displays bus routes and schedule information and is monitored with video surveillance at all times.
The fourth and final, as to date, transit center in Charlotte is the Rosa Parks Place Community Transit Center.Â Nestled in one of the most transit-supportive neighborhoods in Charlotte, the Beatties Ford Road area, this center allows neighborhood residents a nice, safe and weather-protected facility to board buses.Â The center opened in 2006 and is served by 4 routes. Â It also has on-site surveillance during transit hours and attractive sidewalks and landscaping like Charlotteâ€™s other transit centers.
With Thursdayâ€™s ground breaking ceremony, Indianapolis will be taking one step closer to incorporating transit into the values of the city and its residents.Â A look at the aforementioned cities would leave many scratching their heads as to why Indianapolis, a city with approximately 900,000 people and a metro area of over a million, took so long to create something as useful and necessary as a transit center.Â To that, the simple response is â€˜better late than neverâ€™.Â With its sleek design, the new downtown transit center has the potential to be the initial spark of energy into the newly dubbed Market East neighborhood.Â Perhaps once it is established, the center can spawn off neighborhood transit centers around the city.Â Imagine what a neighborhood transit center could look like at any of the cityâ€™s malls.Â Imagine what could become of abandoned corner areas in Center Township; 38th and Arlington maybe (if a gas station doesn’t get there first)? Â Who knows how far transit will go in the future of Indianapolis.Â At least itâ€™s finally leaving the station.
Wetterich, Chris. (2013). Deserted downtown transit center may get new life. Â Cincinnati Business Courier. Retrieved from http://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/news/2013/04/23/deserted-downtown-transit-center-may.html?page=all