Letters of Support for the Red Line

Due in part to some of the recent pushback on the Red Line proposal, I have been asked by a fan of Urban Indy to write a letter to the President of the Meridian Kessler Neighborhood Association, Nick Colby. He can be reached at: ncolby at colbyequipment dot com. Here is the letter that I have prepared:
Red Line support

If you are a resident of Meridian Kessler and a fan of Urban Indy, I encourage you to write your own letter of support for the proposed Red Line.

Comments 173

  • Great idea Kevin!

  • I find it interesting that there is so much pushback against the Red Line in MK. In Fletcher Place, a place with a super annoying NIMBY streak, the Red Line is enjoying nearly 100% support from all parties in the ‘hood.

    • Not sure if this fully explains it, but Meridian Kessler has basically been in stasis for 60 years, ever since the last streetcar was removed. Plus there is a lot of old money there.

      The only major change that I can think of in the past 15 years was the Atlas closing and being replaced by the Fresh Market. That and Napolese, which people freaked out about for some reason. Someday maybe property values will drop enough at 49th and Penn for us to be able afford a house there, according to the freak-out. But I’m still waiting for that day.

      Fletcher Place has seen a lot more recent change, and has a better mix of new transplants. I’m glad to hear that it is supported by most of the neighborhood, though.

      • Meridian Kessler has been in stasis for 60 years and that is exactly the way they want to keep it, hence the Red Line opposition. As a transplant to downtown Indy (in FCP), the invisible gate across 38th street has always amazed me. MK wants to keep that gate erected and knows the Red Line will be blowing right through it. I don’t see them going along without a fight.

        • I’d say the neighborhood is split closer to 50/50 than firmly against it. I believe the more letters in support of the Red Line that we send to MKNA, the better chance we’ll have of support from this influential organization.

        • Carlie – Not sure of your inference regarding a “gate” at 38th street, or whether you even live in the neighborhood, but clearly yours is an editorial comment about its residents that I would reject.

          The positions on Red-Line in MK range from:
          * Lets at least have a referendum, to
          * Opposition to no-left turns in the neighborhood, to
          * Lost parking spaces for our small, local businesses, to
          * Skepticism regarding ridership estimates and whether current redline plans will really correct ridership problems.

          I think your characterization feeds a negative view of residents and the entire debate.

          Just my two cents.

      • I don’t think that’s a fair characterization, Kevin, and so I’ll push back respectfully. It’s a 95% single-family residential neighborhood, and that just doesn’t change much on its own.

        Yet it HAS changed pretty significantly.

        From the 80s to today there has been a lot of investment in rehab, remodeling, and expansion of houses in the neighborhood. Attached garages, master suites, and family rooms are now common features of MK houses, and they most certainly weren’t 30 years ago. The last few vacant lots were built on also, and a parking lot has been converted back to single-family residential use (46th & Central).

        A new library and fire station were built at 42nd and College; St. Joan and Immaculate Heart expanded and upgraded. So did School 84.

        The commercial districts have changed significantly since I moved to MK in the mid-80s. Sullivan’s Hardware and a new strip mall were built near 49th & Penn. What used to be a variety of different neighborhood-serving businesses at the nodes on College is now almost exclusively restaurants and taprooms.

        These newer uses have the same footprint as the old uses…but they are much more intense uses, drawing more people (on foot, bicycle, and in cars), for longer periods, later in the evening. For those who live very near, it is really an issue, just as parking and puking are issues for folks living in the residential parts of Broad Ripple near BR Ave.

        And MK really is not “old money”…I don’t think you’re old money, and neither am I. I bought a house there at the age of 27, because my then-wife (not from old money either) grew up there. My neighbors were a mix of different ages, and there were a bunch of kids on the block…not suburban levels, but still kids on the block. Typically when a much older householder finally sold their outdated/run down house, someone like me bought it and fixed it up. It’s fair to say that most folks live there because they really want to live on relatively quiet, tree-lined streets with sidewalks and mature trees.

        • Woah, that’s a lot of comment 🙂

          I wasn’t saying as much as you implied.

          My point of clarification: Fletcher Place has seen at least as many major new developments in the past 5 years as Meridian Kessler has in the past 60. I don’t know if that’s even debatable. MK’s changes have been more evolutionary, so maybe that’s why there’s more of a push back against something that marks a true change, such as the Red Line.

          • It’s just not a good comparison. Fletcher Place was always an old-style CITY neighborhood, with factory, commercial, and residential all mixed in. FP was not streetcar suburban like MK.

            FP had fallen on really hard times because there’s an interstate through it, and the commercial/industrial buildings went obsolete. Lilly gobbled up a bunch of it, too. MK never has gotten quite as run-down, except parts of the SE quadrant (east of College, 38th to about 46th).

            The recent surge there is related to all those factors plus the catalyst that is The Cultural Trail. There is no large run-down part of MK on a busy street. Spots on College, yes, but certainly not most of it like Virginia in FP was 5-10 years ago.

            On-topic, I think there are some serious concerns about the interruption to the street grid that will come with the Red Line dedicated lane on College.

            Currently a driver going to or from the neighborhood can access any numbered cross street by turning left off College, but that will change. I think it will negatively impact Central the most, but also any parallel street within 1-2 blocks of College.

            College handles ~18,000 cars per day; Central handles ~4,000 and is exclusively residential/church/school. If even 20% of College traffic shifts to Central, that will double traffic on portions of Central. Not good.

          • Well, I was just going off of what AHOW said about the differences between his neighborhood and ours.

            Also, if the Red Line can replace, say, 100 cars per hour due to better frequency and design, that can help offset increased traffic on neighborhood streets. Other stuff to consider: How often do you drive behind a bus on College? I do all the time. That won’t happen any more.

            Will traffic on these other neighborhood streets increase? Probably. Will it be a disaster? I don’t think it will be. I’m not willing to dilute the planned Red Line due to a potential increase in traffic on other streets. This is the best chance for an improved transit network we desperately need as a city.

  • Outside of the comments on the Red Line preview UrbanIndy column and the usual stuff at IndyStar, I haven’t seen much vocal and certainly no organized opposition to the Red Line. I’ve been away for a while but I’m still trying to keep an eye on Indianapolis. Is there something that I have missed as of late?

  • Kevin:

    As a 36 year resident of Meridian Kessler living on College Avenue, let me explain a few things to you:

    1. Meridian Kessler is not in stasis. It is a vibrant, stable, mostly homeowner-occupied area that is walkable, bikable, and with well-maintained homes and gardens and interesting little shops and restaurants. Areas like Villages of West Clay are trying to copy what we have. It is one of the few areas of Indianapolis that has homes near or more than 100 years old that has not suffered urban blight. That may well change soon.

    2. Red Line was originally supposed to go down Keystone Avenue, but for unexplained reasons, the focus was changed to College Avenue. Keystone goes past, among other employment and shopping destinations, Wal-Mart, Target, Meijer, Macy’s, Glendale Town Mall, 2 Walgreens, 2 CVS stores, Keystone at the Crossing, Woodfield at the Crossing, Aldi, Marsh and Kroger. If the line turned at 38th Street, riders could access the Indiana State Fairgrounds. College does not have density, nor any major employment or shopping destinations. It does not connect to any universities or health care centers either. The ridership numbers claimed by IndyGo will not come from this area. The only logical reason for the switch to College Avenue is that it is being driven by developers.

    3. The TOD Strategic Plan for Red Line calls for density (pack’em and stack ’em), and affordable housing (Section 8, public housing, etc). This Plan was not disclosed until after MKNA was induced to change the Land Use Plan to support Red Line and density. Stakeholders had NO advance notice of this. We still don’t know if MKNA did. If they didn’t, the plan should be withdrawn.

    4. The mandatory median down College Avenue, left turn and (still unexplained) parking restrictions were not disclosed until June of this year, even though IndyGo has been working on this since 2012. More recently-disclosed information: 256 buses every single day, all stops along College Avenue eliminated except at stations. This line can only burden area residents, not help them.

    5. Those residents of my neighborhood who did receive meeting notices actually got them AFTER the meetings. Only two meetings were in our immediate area, and only one of these was in the evening, so working people could attend. This is not community involvement–it is shoving an agenda down people’s throats while attempting to make the claim that there was disclosure. The notices did NOT mention the median specifically, or the number of buses.

    All of IndyGo’s publicity efforts have been to tout the alleged advantages of Red Line, most of which depend on dubious factors, such as approval of a referendum by Hamilton County. An express bus from Hamilton County directly to Downtown Indianapolis failed due to lack of interest, so running a bus more often with more stops will not change this.

    6. If you don’t think the traffic diversions will be problematic, talk to the President of the Forest Hills Neighborhood Association.

    Massive changes like these that will forever change the character and quality of a neighborhood should come from within the neighborhood, not from outside urban planners with an agenda. Residents should be involved and be fully informed of all the details before the project proceeds to the grant seeking stage.

    While City-County Councilor Christine Scales was attempting to schedule another meeting with IndyGo, so that residents could voice their complaints, IndyGo nevertheless proceeded with filing their grant application. Does this sound like community involvement?

    Does this answer your questions? If not, let me know. I have more.

    • Clarification to #2: the Red Line was never projected to go down Keystone through Midtown.

      There was a series of meetings in early 2013 — including one very near Meridian Kessler on March 5, 2013 at the Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation — where the Red Line routing was announced, substantially as it is today.

      A routing study released concurrent with those meetings did consider Meridian to Westfield to College through Midtown, but that route was rejected. They also considered College to Broad Ripple Ave to Keystone, but that was also rejected.

      Use of Keystone was never considered south of Broad Ripple Ave.

    • Why do you keep harping on Keystone? The College Ave corridor was shaped by the transit line that used to run down it. The majority of the buildings were literally designed 70-100 years ago based on this type of transit system. Keystone is an auto based street and all of those business have large parking lots which cater to people in cars 100%.

      Pack em and stack em? Really? Indy has almost nothing but low density housing but we can’t even build 4-5 story apartment buildings on a busy corridor? Why? If you don’t want to live in oen of these places then don’t, no one is coming for your yard. Density is not the end of the world and is much less of a problem than you make it out to be, especially when well served by quality transit (which is the whole point of this)

      All of your points are just all so overblown and dramatic. You are throwing unsupported opinions at the wall and attempting to get them to stick as facts. Can you name a neighborhood in this country that became blighted over a modern transit system going in?

      This line also spans a long way, all the way to MY HOUSE as well. It affects many more people than just the MK residents. Does Meridian Kessler have a veto button on any city plan because they are so damned important?

      • Paul:

        I quote from the February 22, 2013 Meridian Kessler Neighborhood Meeting Notes:

        “Jerrey updated us on the Indy Connect Plan. the Red Line is being considered for Keystone, College, or Capitol/Illinois. It will be a BRT (bus rapid transit) line, with large buses outfitted with WiFi, bike racks, and other amenities. The line will be distinctive as ‘rapid transit’ by virtue of its size and amenities, fewer stops (about every 1/2 mile) to ensure rapid transit, and by the ability of the operator to coordinate traffic signals en route to ensure a direct route. TIF funds will not be used to fund the actual route, but may be used for the BRT Stations……

        This was a little more than 2 years ago. Councilor Scales was correct.

        • You can continue to ignore facts all you want. It’s a fact that Keystone (through Midtown) wasn’t even selected for Tier 1 screening (let alone Tier 2 or Recommended Alternative), therefore it was never a serious option.

          I highly suspect that the MK meeting notes from 2013 is a misinterpretation of the Cap/Ill (to 38th) to College (to BR Ave) to Keystone routing that was, in fact, studied. But again, the use of Keystone was only north of BR Ave and NOT an alternative to using College through Midtown.

      • Hey Paul, because Natacha claims College Avenue has ZERO DENSITY…unlike KEYSTONE AVENUE?!? Lol

        • Ashford at Keystone has 454 apartment units, including 1, 2, and 3 bedrooms. I’d bet more people live in this complex alone than all of College Avenue from 66th Street to 38th Street.

          Also, there are more and smaller homes on streets adjacent to Keystone–more density.

          BRT is supposed to be about connecting people to jobs and shopping, too. Keystone will do this better.

          • I can assure you there are vastly more residences on College than in Ashford. College Court condos at 54th/College alone has 48 units. Even including the parking lot in back, College Court has more than 3 times the residential density per acre as Ashford (about 39 vs. 12 DUA).

            Density is what you need, because transit is most useful to people and destinations within 1/4 mile of a station. If you look at Keystone, a significant amount of the corridor literally has no residences within 1/4 mile of the street.

            In fact, you’ll note that the dominant land use along Keystone is, by far, parking lots. There is no density of anything on Keystone except parking spaces, which are useless to transit.

          • Do you understand what density means yet?

          • …that was obviously for Natacha

    • The red line will be most successful if it stops at phase 1 and never extends up to Carmel or down to Greenwood. Those communities aren’t set up to take advantage of a transit network where you actually need to walk to a stop to use it. All that would do is add tremendous cost with little in return by way of increased ridership. In that vein, running the line down Keystone would render it largely useless. There’s less of a population nearby to actually use the line; College and the neighboring blocks were developed along a streetcar and are oriented to make use of that type of transit option.

      I don’t understand the complaints about interrupting the grid. How many people turn left from one of the intersections that aren’t 42/46/49/52/54/57? As it is College is too much of a car sewer to turn left safely. If traffic were calmed and traveled consistently at 20-25 mph that might be a reasonable argument, but as it is the grid is already severed by the way College was stroaded to make way for fast-moving traffic.

      • I sorta disagree on Carmel. I do think Greenwood will be a tougher sell.

      • Adam:

        I have lived on College Avenue for 36 years, so I’m sort of an expert.

        Other than rush hour, College buses are almost empty. BRT will not change that. There are not large numbers of riders in this area, other than commuters, and their needs are being met with the present system. This area does not have population or employment density, but Keystone Avenue does.

        How many people work and/or shop at: Wal-Mart, Target, the soon-to-come Meijer store, 2 Walgreens, 2 CVS stores, Aldi, Family Dollar, Dollar Tree, Marsh, Kroger, Keystone at the Crossing, Woodfield at the Crossing, The Fashion Mall, Macy’s, Glendale Town Center, and all of the other businesses on Keystone Avenue, plus all of the events at the Indiana State Fairgrounds? All of them are possible passengers, to say nothing of the apartment complexes along Keystone, such as the large complex at 65th & Keystone. What does College Avenue have in comparison? Nothing.

        I totally agree about Hamilton County. They aren’t interested. That has been established.

        As to left turns, how about everyone with a driveway, such as myself and my neighbors? As to parking restrictions, which we still don’t know about, what about those who park on College Avenue?

        Red Line is ill-conceived and will not accomplish the stated goals. But, it will cost a lot of money.

      • Suburban commuter BRT in greater Indy, like commuter rail in other cities, will have to rely on park and ride. I think park and ride could work in Greenwood, but the proposed Red Line to the Greenwood Park Mall along Madison probably isn’t the best place to put the line for any reason other than ease of getting ROW. I understand that it would be harder (or impossible) for CIRTA to grab a middle lane in the US31 or SR135 ROW, but that’s where it ought to be to serve choice riders.

        So here’s my point. The residential center of suburban Johnson County is west of US31, so a Madison Ave. BRT line won’t serve most of “greater” Greenwood very efficiently, and certainly not the higher-income “choice” riders heading to downtown jobs.

        The MK-equivalent section of Greenwood for income/home value is the Center Grove area west of 135 and south of Smith Valley Rd. It takes those residents 15 or 20 minutes to drive to the mall (where presumably they would park and ride), but if they just drive north on 37, 135, or 31, they can be at 465 in that same amount of time. Even at rush hour.

        So you’re right: selling BRT on Madison to prospective choice riders in Greenwood will be hard, not because of any inherent bias, but because the service wouldn’t really offer a good choice.

      • Like the Redline in Indy, it’s route in Carmel is designed to to deliver and pick up passengers to the city’s denser business and residential districts. Carmel’s core is rapidly changing to a live, work and play enviroment where transit is a natural compliment. Elsewhere on the UrbanIndy site you will find a discussion of Carmel’s planning and its multimodal study. The future success of transit in Carmel will be no accident but the result of year’s of planning and building infrastructure where alternative transportation is a reality.

        • Then why did IndyGo’s express bus (i.e., no stops at all) to Downtown Indianapolis fail?

          • The express bus failed because it depended on a park-and-ride setup from a Meijer parking lot in Carmel.

            It failed for exactly the reason that Keystone is a poor choice for BRT: it is difficult to successfully shoehorn transit into auto-oriented corridors.

            By comparison, the Red Line follows a traditional transit corridor through densely populated areas and may eventually extend into areas of Carmel with a dense, urban layout.

  • Paul:

    There is no “corridor” other than in the minds of urban planners. College Avenue is just an extra wide, residential street with a few corners having small businesses that incidentally used to have an interurban line. Other examples where there are corner businesses: 49th & Pennsylvania, 56th & Illinois, Westfield and Illinois and multiple other places on the northside. There are bus lines on many other streets in the area. College Avenue is busier at rush hour, that’s all. It is not a highway, nor will it become one.

    College Avenue is a residential area, with almost completely homeowner-occupied houses. That is what makes this a stable, desirable area. That is what has created the value for this neighborhood that developers so desperately want. Of course, after about 15 years, when the apartments become run down and have been sold repeatedly then more Section 8 tenants will move in. By then, it will be too late. The developers and urban planners will have long since moved on.

    No, we don’t want your 4-5 story apartment buildings. All this can possibly do is hurt this neighborhood and the quality of life built up over the course of 100 years. Only developers and starry-eyed urban planners who think they have the right to take over other people’s destinies want this. No one should have the right to dramatically change the character and quality of a neighborhood unless that is what the residents themselves want.

    The opinions that are overblown and dramatic are those submitted by IndyGo and urban planners who believe they have the right to force their visions on other people. Double residential and triple business land values? Really, especially if there is Section 8 and public housing? My neighbors and I are not squatting on land that could go to better use. These are our homes, and we will fight to preserve our property values and way of life. 256 buses per day that those of us living here cannot conveniently use, no left turns and parking restrictions will dramatically affect our lives.

    If the goal of BRT is to connect people to employment, shopping, and colleges, then why not run the line where these things are found, like Keystone Avenue, which is closer to U of I than College Avenue?

    Before I answer your question, define “modern transit system” and “blighted”. You can’t compare rail to BRT, and you can’t compare the Euclid Avenue Health Line in Cleveland, which was a slum to begin with, to Meridian-Kessler. In other areas, these systems have required massive taxpayer subsidies, tax abatements and other diversions of tax dollars to keep them going. Show me a study directly comparable to our area. I’m interested in seeing it.

    Anyway, according to Midtown, Meridian-Kessler is already blighted, so we need a BRT to snap us out of it, so says Mike McKillip of Midtown.

    What about the tax increases and public subsidies that could go to other uses that will help our neighborhood? Don’t we have the right to be considered in tax matters and how our tax money will be spent?

    The people most directly affected by this have more right than anyone else to veto this because we will bear the burden. The critical details were not timely disclosed and the meetings were not calculated to inform people. That is simply wrong.

    • The “developers” and “urban planners” who think they have a right to take your “destiny” are most likely the property owner. You seem to be very interested in restricting people’s property rights. This comes off to me as pure entitlement. If you are so concerned with the use of all this property that is not yours then you should busy yourself buying it all up. If not, then maybe you can learn that living in a city involves other people building stuff you may not happen to like. Change, it is part of life. This transit line will not do any of the people who live near it undue harm. Oppose it out of principle if you must, but please stop with the dramatic destiny destroying language.

    • “the right to take over other people’s destinies”?

      “No, we don’t want your 4-5 story apartment buildings”?

      That NIMBY attitude is what has created this mess of a transit system that we call IndyGo.

      • IndyGo could be improved without the cost and infrastructure damage Red Line would cause. GPS could be used to let riders know when the next bus will be, there could be kiosks to sell bus passes at the proposed locations for the “stations”, sort of like Blue Indy, and buses could run more often.

        As far as development of Kessler and College, no one I am aware of would object to something that looks like it belongs in the neighborhood–traditional design, not too tall, sort of like the apartments further down on Kessler–Golden Strand at Carrollton and Monon Apartments just east of the Kessler bridge.

  • Hi Kevin, is there a timeline somewhere to know what is coming up next in the process of building the Red Line?

  • Paul:

    You don’t live on College Avenue, now, do you? How would you like to not be able to turn into your own driveway, or experience the sheer number of 256 buses flying by every day? How about being forced to walk 2 or 3 blocks to catch a bus, rather than 4 houses down to the corner? How would you like it, if you were a Forest Hills resident, to have large numbers of bypass cars going down your street every day? I’ll have to do that if I’m coming from north, to get into my driveway. My neighbor, Holly, across the street, will have to turn down side streets if she’s coming home from anywhere south of her house and approach from the north. These are not minor inconveniences, and we will not benefit from them.

    Studies show these BRT “stations” also bring crime into an area.

    How about our tax subsidies? This system can’t hope to even cover half of the cost. Probably not even 1/4 the cost. Shouldn’t I have some say so in how my tax dollars are used?

    Where does the “property right” come from to put a median down the middle of my street, restrict parking and left turns and run 256 mostly-empty buses past my house every day?
    What are my rights, according to you?

    The entitlement mentality comes from urban planners and developers who think they have better land use ideas that should be forced on people. The idea for Red Line did NOT come from residents of this area. It is part of Plan 2020, that did not originate with citizens.

    • No, I do not live on College, but i live close. Overall I take issue with your frivolous claims that seem to come from your overall distaste with this project but are not legitimate concerns.

      – 256 buses? This is a street that carries 18,000 cars a day and already lots of bus trips and this is supposed to be a huge detriment to the enjoyment of your house? Give me a break.
      – Now you have to walk 2-3 blocks when before you could walk 4 houses. The buses come every 10 minutes for 20 hours a day vs 30 minutes (maybe) for 12 hours. That is an objectively higher level of service. If you can walk 4 houses, you can walk 3 blocks. That’s just senseless whining.
      – The property rights comment was mainly about you complaining about developers. But now that you bring it up, the street is not your property. It is city owned and to be used to the benefit of the city, not just you. I live farther north and am certainly affected by the chosen use of College Ave, you’re not the only person here. Certain people may disagree with how a certain street is used but that’s part of life.
      – The tax use argument is certainly a legitimate concern as a city, state, and federal tax payer. I would welcome you to make some solid arguments about that without returning to dramatic emotional language.
      – I do sympathize with the logistical problems that you will face. It does not do anyone any favors however to blow them out of proportion and say there will be a wall or people can’t cross over this median, like you have said in the past.

      The problems I have with the MKNA and opposition to development in general is the reliance on emotional and subjective arguments. Just because something is happening that you may not personally like does not mean you should scream so loud about how you don’t like it that it should be stopped. Find a good logical reason or realize that sometimes things happen and although you own a home, you are not in control of everything around you.

      • I have a far more basic question: shouldn’t major changes in Land Use come from those who actually live in the area affected, rather than outside?

        NO ONE who lives on or near College Avenue wants this.

        The costs of Red Line will be massive, and are unknowable at the present. It will require multiple millions of dollars to build and operate.

        Shouldn’t those of us who pay taxes have a say?

        • With all due respect.

          I want this. I live in the affected area. I pay taxes. I even bought a home in the area for exactly these types of walk-able and bike-able amenities.

          And, thanks to the Redline, my family will likely become a 1 car family.

          • Why don’t you just go ahead and ride the existing College Avenue bus and sell your car, rather than forcing the rest of us to pay higher income and property taxes? You can access the schedule on your cell phone. I guarantee you that you won’t find the buses very crowded, except at rush hour.

      • Paul:

        Indy ReZone is designed by developers, for the benefit of developers, for the express purpose of making it easy to build whatever they want without nearby residents having any right to object, so long as what they build falls within intentionally vaguely-worded broad descriptions of land use. NO resident of this area asked for or approved this. It will be the first zoning law of its kind. What does that tell you?

        Just a basic observation: Meridian-Kessler is already fully developed, except for a few parcels of land. What is being proposed is a total re-design, with large apartment buildings (density) and mass transit.

        Red Line and taxes: the amount will be massive, and to fund this, county income taxes will have to be raised anywhere from 0.1 to 0.25% above current levels. This is because the Governor disapproved of having business taxes increased to cover the cost. I’ve read estimates of $100 million, plus an unknown amount to sustain it. In other cities, such as Portland, OR, it has taken large amounts of tax subsidies, tax abatements and outright gifts of valuable public lands just to keep the system running. There was no clear overall benefit from building this, other than to those who design and build such systems. Claims that mass transit resulted in improvements in land values have been questioned by knowledgeable experts.

        IndyGo fares at present only cover 17% of operating costs, but they claim they’ll not raise fares, even though one requirement is that the system cover at least 25% of operating cost. The numbers simply don’t work. Why should I be forced to pay for a system that I don’t want and won’t use?

        The President of the Hamilton County Council already said there is no interest in this line going to Hamilton County because the cost will not benefit enough riders to make it worth the tax increase needed to cover it. Therefore, only my neighborhood will be burdened by a line that is less convenient to use and which will result in traffic problems, inconvenience and expense.

        The arguments people make against both the TWG project and Red Line are neither emotional nor subjective.

        People accuse us of being against change. Change is inevitable, such as less use of the interurban over time because more people began owning their own cars, with the interurban eventually being abandoned.

        The kind of neighborhood and transportation redesigning being forced on us by Red Line and TWG are not occurring because of evolutionary changes that happen with the passage of time as lifestyles change and evolve, nor by demand of the people most directly affected. Such changes should only happen by demand of the people.

        There is no evidence that either Red Line or the TWG will do anything other than cost money and change the quality and character of our neighborhood for the worse. These are not emotional or subjective arguments. There are studies on deaths of neighborhoods that were once high-quality. Deterioration begins with large numbers of rental units, apartments, or subdivided houses. Large numbers of transient tenant-occupied housing does not improve the quality of an area that is mostly homeowner occupied. Downtown Indianapolis is not comparable, because there were not large numbers of homeowner-occupied house there to begin with.

        The word “wall” running down College Avenue was used by Kevin Kastner. I copied the entry before he changed it to read “median”. I’ll send you a copy, if you want, but that claim is a non-starter. I didn’t exaggerate.

        • Focusing strictly on the funding issue:

          Phase 1 of the Red Line will not be funded by a local income tax increase. Construction will cost $60M and be funded primarily by federal transportation dollars (I believe that’s 75%). The remaining portion will come from a Central Indiana Regional Cities grant.

          The income tax increase you are referring to is the funding referendum that will (likely) be on the ballot fall 2016. It will fund future phases of the transit plan, such as the Orange Line BRT route on Keystone. The taxation issue will be decided directly by voters, the most purely democratic way possible.

          • The Indianapolis Star reported that the cost will be $100 million, with only half of that coming from the FTA. The rest will come from taxpayers. I’ve not seen any challenge to this number which may even be low.

            If the federal government wants to borrow another $50 million from China, why not use the funds for something that benefits everyone, like infrastructure improvement, education or something that people actually want and support, rather than the vision of “urban planners”?

            There has been nothing democratic about either TWG or Red Line. Meeting notices, vaguely worded, arrived after the meetings. Parking restrictions have still not been disclosed, but there is little doubt that businesses like Habigs, Fat Dan’s Sam’s Gyros, Yats and the Jazz Kitchen will be destroyed due to no customer parking. People will simply not walk multiple blocks to patronize these businesses.

            The median was not disclosed until June of 2015. The MKNA is nothing more than a voluntary group. Its Board was not elected to represent Meridian-Kessler residents, nor does it purport to speak for us. Residents were not asked to approve this in advance. It is being rammed down our throats, and most who hear about it are furious.

          • The Indy Star is incorrect.

            See here, an August 13, 2015 IndyGo budget presentation with a page on the Red Line cost and payment plan (p8):


            Total cost is $60M, with 80% covered by a federal grant and the remainder covered by a state-level Central Indiana Regional Cities grant.

            Future phases of the Red Line and other parts of the Indy Connect plan may be paid by an income tax increase decided by ballot referendum in 2016.

          • No, if this were democratic, citizens would have some say-so before this ever got started. Even squandering our tax money for the planning of this is undemocratic. Demand for such a system should begin with citizens, instead of them being the last to know.

            Anyway you slice it, taxpayer money is being used for this. The federal government is enough in debt to China as it is, without borrowing more to fund what is a foreseeable failure. This will never go beyond 66th Street to the north.

          • 1. IndyGo received a 2014 TIGER grant from the Department of Transportation for the planning of the Red Line:


            2. There have been dozens of public meetings regarding mass transit planning in general and the Red Line specifically. That you have not been engaged prior to now is not anyone else’s fault and doesn’t make your voice any louder or more important than others’.

          • This is a tiny amount of money compared to what the federal government, state government and even city government pay for roads and highways. Private car ownership is one of the most heavily subsidized things in this country directly through road costs, right-of-way acquisition, subsidies to keep gas prices low, etc. This model of spending only on roads is a major reason why we Americans are so obese, so unhealthy and so very socially isolated. It’s time to start undoing that to balance out the ways in which we travel and the way in which we design our cities. Roads encourage sprawl, walking, bikes and public transit do not. Cars encourage isolation, walking, biking and public transit encourage the opposite.

        • People buying lots and building denser housing is organic change no matter how you want to parse it. Downtown was once owner occupied houses but back in the day there were no zoning laws and things changed, demand increased and land use intensified. That is naturally how cities grow. Zoning by and large stands in the way of this process. Also, why we are at it, the evolution of car use in America may have been welcomed but it was certainly not organic, demand driven. Parking minimums, roads maintained and expanded out of general funds, eminent domain to raze neighborhoods and build elevated freeways…..

          I understand your point about the more rental units can be a sign of decline. I think you are confusing two different paths about how neighborhoods reach this statistical point. A lot of times when they are a proliferation of rental units it can be a sign of disinvestment in the neighborhood. This is not the case here. Someone is investing 10’s of millions because they beleive there is demand for this area. Look at the north side of Chicago. Plenty of areas with many rental units and a balance of owner occupied units. This works perfectly fine and even at densities approaching 10X MK.

          • Zoning laws exist to protect the rights of people who have sunk their life savings and a substantial chunk of their income into purchasing their home–maybe you’ve heard of “The American Dream”? People have every right to object to land uses in their area that threaten the value of their property and quality of life. Zoning laws exist to protect citizens against exactly what is happening.

            Downtown did used to have homes, and these were purchased and torn down as the Downtown grew. That’s not what we’re talking here–Downtown’s change was a natural evolution. Here, we have developers wanting to take a residential area and turn it into something like Brooklyn, N.Y. This is not natural evolution, it is not wanted, and those of us who live here vehemently object.

            My neighborhood doesn’t exist for The Whitsett Group to make money. Oh, and don’t forget they also want TIF money. If the City is going to borrow money, use it for something residents actually want, not to subsidize millionaire investors.

            Meridian-Kessler is not Chicago. The Whitsett Group wants to build here because they think they can make money. That is because the value of my neighborhood was created by individual homeowner-occupied homes. It is an attractive, walkable community with thriving small businesses, all of which are being threatened. Also, contrary to popular belief, the Downtown apartment/condo market is not thriving as much as people would have you believe.

            Those apartments The Whitsett Group wants to build will not be luxury units–mostly one bedroom.

            This can do nothing other than drive down the quality of life in my neighborhood and home values.

          • You completely ignored Paul’s point. Land use naturally intensifies. This is a sign of a productive and vibrant place that people want to be. Why would you restrict that through zoning laws other than to artificially keep the price of your home high through forced protection.

        • Indy ReZone is designed by developers, for the benefit of developers, for the express purpose of making it easy to build whatever they want without nearby residents having any right to object, so long as what they build falls within intentionally vaguely-worded broad descriptions of land use. NO resident of this area asked for or approved this. It will be the first zoning law of its kind. What does that tell you?

          First of all, Indy ReZone was not designed by developers. It is form-based codes, which were made by planning and urban design professionals and probably some engineers as well. It is made to mix various uses into a single neighborhood, including things like grocery stores, single family housing, multi-family housing, shops, restaurants, bars, and pretty much anything else but (heavy?) industrial. Diversity is good. Economical activity relies on it.

          Second, Indy ReZone is about as far from the first of its kind in the US, and certainly way behind many parts of the rest of the world where mixed-use and form-based design is standard operating procedure.
          Citation: https://books.google.com/books?id=xfNqBgAAQBAJ&pg=PT76&lpg=PT76&dq=locales+using+form+based+codes&source=bl&ots=vZSTHOgKAt&sig=lDdiUum8JU8xFq2RbMuH-68ziag&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CEAQ6AEwBmoVChMIn66QxcC_yAIViJWACh1Ftw5h#v=onepage&q=locales%20using%20form%20based%20codes&f=false

          • Ugh, economic activity, not “economical”.

          • When did the citizens of Indianapolis seek the advice of so-called “planning and urban design professionals” to re-design one of the most successful and thriving neighborhoods in this City?

            As to IndyReZone not being the first of its kind, why do articles written about it say this?

          • Natacha — it’s difficult to say why any of the information you post is correct or not when you cite nothing.

    • Studies show these BRT “stations” also bring crime into an area.

      Citation? This sounds like the same argument that people used to oppose suburban sidewalks, then multi-use trails like the Monon. Now those same concerned citizens cite their close proximity to the Monon as a selling point.

      Moreover, (real) studies show that public transit stations do not bring crime into an area: http://www.citylab.com/crime/2014/12/the-myth-that-mass-transit-attracts-crime-persists-in-atlanta/383609/

      • Here’s a nice study (done by IU!)about the increase in crime that will happen if the giant cement board monstrosity The Link at Kessler is crammed onto the AT&T Lot at Kessler and College


        We already know that The Link is charging a monthly parking fee on top of rent which will mean potentially hundreds of cars (and guests) will park on neighborhood streets nearby. We already know (admitted at the meetings) that traffic will increase dramatically through the neighborhoods as people use the alley behind The Link as a cut through for the development and the frustrated College drivers ditch right down our streets to avoid the mess Red Line will bring (U-Turn signals at Kessler and College!!!) It is not okay to add thousands of cars daily down residential streets not designed for them. Tell us how it is right that the power brokers of the city have spent all this money and time planning but have not managed to order a single traffic study at Kessler and College to gauge the impact of the increased bus traffic,lane restrictions, complicated signal system (again, U-turn signal!), and the cars exiting and entering a 204 unit development mere feet away? And as The Link has been planned to feed the magical Red Line (same architectural firm, AXIS, is designing the Link and the new bus terminal downtown, hmmmm…), it cracks us up that we are portrayed as NIMBY fanatics who oppose any changes. It is not “frivolous” to assert that these two projects together, The Red Line and The Link at Kessler, will have a monumental and negative impact on the whole neighborhood.

        Did you know that one of the required Red Line turn streets,57th, runs between two grade schools that neighborhood kids walk to every school day? Did you know that the owners of Fat Dan’s and Yat’s are both opposed to this and feel like they haven’t been in anyway informed of the Red Line impact? Did you know that no street parking on College at 52nd will RUIN Habig’s business (according to the owner who might kinda, sorta know where his customers park). Our concerns are valid and please do not insult us by screeching that we are racist. That is a cheap attack and untrue. We support reasonable self-sustaining development and an improved transit system but we do not support the loss of safety, property values and peace that the current plans for the Red Line coupled with The Link would inflict on our great neighborhood.

        • Because every European city that most people love visiting, implementing 4-7 story multi-tenant buildings as well as BRT systems, trams, subways, regular bus service, all have more crime and terrible property values and far worse crime than our US cities. /sarcasm

          • Ohhh, now I get it. The Red Line/Links is designed to attract visitors from all over the world to the College Corridor? Never mind the people who have lived in the neighborhood for years and spent time and money keeping it beautiful. The profit driven Indy political-powers-that-be think College will be the Paris or Prague of Hoosierland! That will totally work./better sarcasm.

          • Visiting these cities was not the point of what I was saying. The point is that millions love to visit these cities because they have a built environment, with a mix of old and new, that isn’t auto-centric. They’re cities that millions love to call home. They don’t suffer from massive stretches of ugly parking lots, obesity of their population, nor the intense social isolation that auto-centric design creates. Spreading things out so that we can all drive everywhere instead of walk, bike or riding public transit kills property values and the vibrancy of a place.

        • Savearestreets,

          If you read the entire article released by IU SPEA, it suggests that socioeconomic factors have far more to do with crime than density alone. Until recently, Indianapolis had no high density affluent areas. (And, by most metrics, it still has virtually no high density areas of any income level, mainly because Indy is so low density.) These days, there can be no question that downtown and the surrounding high income neighborhoods are safer than, say, Martindale-Brightwood, which isn’t even medium density because of significant depopulation. In fact, the highest crime areas are nearly always low-income but are usually also growing less dense by the day.

          Your argument that The Red Line and The Link will cause a monumental change is absolutely true.

          Your argument that The Red Line and The Link will cause a negative change is speculative, and your arguments (crime and think-of-the-children) are the same ones that objectors used 20 years ago with the development of the Monon. And now look at how people respond to the Monon.

          Clearly I’ll never change your opinion (nor will you change the opinion of UrbanIndy regulars), but let’s hope you at least have the integrity to acknowledge that it was NIMBYism that nearly stopped the Monon Trail, and the rising property values there would suggest that most people now see that “monumental impact” as a positive one.

          • The Monon Trail argument is apples to oranges. Hundreds of cars don’t park and drive on the Monon right next to the residences that align it. The Monon Trail is pedestrian traffic and they keep moving. The Links/Red Line will cause thousands of more cars to pour through residential neighborhoods nearby and hundreds of cars of the Lynx residents/visitors to use the streets nearby as their parking. This will be 24 hours a day. The Red Line rep admitted at one of the meetings I attended that Washington, Central, Pennsylvania and the streets crossing them would see a significant increase in traffic. This is not the same as the Monon Trail and you know it.

        • Amazing! You post an article that basically refutes your entire argument. Thanks!

    • ‘Where does the “property right” come from to put a median down the middle of my street’?

      What makes it YOUR street? The street belongs to the city, and by extension, the hundreds of thousands of taxpayers. What would benefit thousands of those taxpayers you would deny because of your misconceived notion that it would hurt your property values?

  • Just to be clear, are we returning to the 1950’s and 1960’s arguments of not allowing “those people” access to certain areas of a City?

    • I certainly don’t intend to take that tone. I’m looking at it from the perspective of someone who lived within several blocks of College for 25+ years and used the cross-street grid to navigate the area. I don’t like forcing neighborhood folks off of the major arterial (College) and onto neighborhood streets.

      I also understand the view that the proposed new development on the AT&T site SW of College/Kessler will compound the impact of the Red Line and force a lot of traffic onto 58th, the alley west of College, Broadway, and probably also Central.

      Quantifying the impact before it happens seems to be needed. If the Red Line “forces” as little as 20% of College Ave. traffic onto Central Ave., that would double the current traffic on Central. Two public and two parochial schools are on Central between 42nd and Kessler, and doubling traffic through all those school zones would have an impact on safety.

      • I believe this is per IndyGo presentation to MK:

        College currently sees approximately 1000 northbound cars/hr at 4-5pm and 5-6pm. Taking a northbound lane to create the dedicated BRT lane on College is expected to reduce that by 25%.

        Of that reduction, 100 cars/hr are expected to be diverted to MK neighborhood streets. That’s 1.67 cars/min diverted to ALL streets.

        To put that in perspective: say 4 streets primarily absorb that, that works out to 2 cars per street per 5 minutes.

        • Thank you for bringing numbers and statistics into arguments that are full of hyperbole.

        • It’s hard to take those IndyGo traffic numbers seriously when the neighborhood request for a traffic study regarding the impact of the Red Line/The Links/and complicated proposed traffic signals at Kessler and College(separate left turn, U-turn, proceed straight signal) has been denied. “Too expensive,” we were told, so why should we take IndyGo’s word for it?

          • The hourly traffic counts of College are fact.

            The projected changes are an educated guess by professionals.

            For the sake of thought experiment, if 100% of traffic northbound on College were diverted to 4 adjacent streets, each of those streets would experience 4 cars per minute.

        • 25% (250 cars per hour) reduction on College but only 100 cars per hour “move” to parallel routes. This seems to assume 150 cars disappear from the corridor altogether.

          Is this the estimated ridership impact on traffic?

          • The 100 cars is just those expected to be diverted to MK neighborhood streets.

            I haven’t seen exact numbers, but Keystone is expected to get a large portion of the rest of the diversion. Presumably some would also go to Meridian and some will disappear onto the Red Line

          • I suspect that number is low.

            That’s why a traffic study is necessary…understanding how much traffic currently originates in Broad Ripple, SOBRO, and MK now that uses College that will divert for a few blocks down one of the side streets.

          • That number could be low, and I’m not opposed to studying it.

            But consider the example math I’ve posted. There’s no way a traffic study is going to show carmageddon on adjacent streets when 100 diverted cars/hr onto 4 streets works out to 2 cars per street per 5 minutes.

            Even if you bump it up to 250 diverted cars, that’s about 1 car per street per minute.

            That’s just not that big a deal. I live on a near-north neighborhood street that’s a parallel alternative to Delaware. We typically see very few cars, but it probably jumps to 1 or 2 cars per minute during rush hour. You hardly notice.

            Further, cars diverted off College would likely have a destination somewhere within MK or BR. If their final destination is further north, it doesn’t make much sense to divert off College only to get back on when you have to go north of the White River. If we can’t allow usage of neighborhood streets by neighbors, what are the streets there for at all?

            And what’s the end game here anyway?

            Do we really want to maintain the street sewer status quo on College and nix a top notch BRT plan?

          • Chris, I actually think that removing all the left turns between lights on College between 38th and BR will turn it into something a whole lot more like Delaware between 12th and Fall Creek Parkway…speed zone.

            To be clear, I agree that those diverted over to Central or Broadway are likely to be neighborhood residents, along with residents at TWG’s new development. But that doesn’t change the fact that those streets will get more than a little busier…I think noticeably busier, and in school-walking zones to boot.

      • I know this wasn’t your argument. I was referencing the old “Section 8” toss out.

    • Some of the arguments sure seem to have that tone.

  • I’d like some documentation on the “professionals” that came up with those traffic counts. A Forrest Hills resident stood on College on September 17 for two hours during those times and actually counted the vehicles. His numbers:

    “I just spent 2 hours counting vehicles (excluding buses) going northbound on College at 58th Street. Total vehicles were 1,966. This EXCLUDES the 46 vehicles that turned right (east) on 58th Street during that timeframe. I did not count the number of vehicles turning left from College onto 58th (but estimate this as a dozen or so).”

    His numbers represent an almost 2X increase in IndyGo’s estimated vehicle traffic count (AND excludes the proposed development The Links’ owner’s vehicles).

    See why an actual independent traffic study might clear things up?

    • The resident got 2x the count by counting for 2 hours. The IndyGo 1000 number is PER HOUR.

      The numbers are the same — the Forrest Hills resident has provided exactly the independent confirmation that you’re looking for.

      • Chris: my neighbor and I both attended that IndyGo meeting. The representation was 900 cars during ALL of rush hour, which no one believed at the time that was said.

  • Apologies, you are correct. But it still does not shed any light on the impact of the lane restrictions, bus lane traffic, proposed U-turn lanes at Kessler and College, and nearby entry and exit traffic at the 200+ unit Links at Kessler that will be crammed in the AT&T lot. IndyGo also moved the bus station from the Northwest side of Kessler and College to in front of The Links and bumped it up to a district level station. One common sense response to all these new additions to that intersection would be to do a traffic study taking those proposed changes into account.

    • I would certainly favor a traffic study of the Kessler and College area in order to ease the concerns of nearby residents.

      I’m reasonably certain that the study would show no traffic concerns given the 9/16/15 re-design presentation for The Link. The proposal now shows a light-controlled, dedicated left-turn lane to enter the garage. The previously proposed alley access to the garage has been removed in response to neighbors’ concerns.

      The presentation:


      • Let’s see if I have this right: Red Line will allegedly stop for all traffic signals, so it will stop for: Kessler, the TWG and also 57th Street? Three stops in 3 blocks, when federal regulations require stops every 1/2 mile?

        • No, that’s not how bus rapid transit works. The Red Line will utilize Transit Signal Priority (TSP), just like light rail does. These signal systems will allow BRT vehicles to travel through intersections unimpeded by motor vehicle traffic. The “stops” you speak of aren’t stops at all, they’re stations. Federal regulations do not mandate that they be every 1/2 mile. The plans for the Green Line and northern section of the Red Line call for some station pairs as far apart as two miles.

          • No, I think there is a more logical explanation–trying to defuse legitimate objections to this entire scheme.

            IndyGo did say, at the last meeting I attended, that it would stop wherever there was a traffic signal. Of course, they say a lot of things.

    • It seems somewhat premature to do a traffic study based on a “links” proposal that’s in the process of being redesigned.

  • If residents of the proposed apartment complex have to pay extra for parking, what are the projections of number of cars that will be garaged at the complex versus those that are parking on the street? The financial projections of the project may have a baseline assumption of how many residents will pay extra. That would be an interesting number to see. If the residents choose not to pay extra for the garage, where will these cars be parked and how many will there be?

    • Two things:
      1) If the building owners don’t charge separately for parking, anyone who owns a car is subsidizing the car owners in the form of higher rent. People living there are somewhat likely to NOT own a car giving there will be a vehicle driving past their apartment every 5 minutes and they are 5 minutes from a very nice bike facility, a grocery store, and plenty of restaurants and other entertainment.
      2) I think you underestimate how lazy people actually are. People will not want to find a temporary spot, unload groceries, cruise the ‘hood for a spot, then walk the two blocks back the the complex. This is especially true in the extreme cases: a person who rarely drives will not want to walk around the ‘hood pressing the panic button to find the car they can’t remember the location of anymore and the person who drives to work daily will not want to walk to their car either.

      Both of those situations are true from m (and my friends’) experience living in Chicago. We paid for parking, no sweat.

      • How do you know whether some unknown residents of a yet-to-be disclosed apartment building will or will not own cars?

        I think you underestimate how little people want to pay to park a vehicle, which is why that Broad Ripple garage is way under-used, far below “projections”, just like Blue Indy. People still prefer to park on the street, if it’s free.

        That’s the problem with all of this TWG and Red Line garbage–estimates, assumptions, guesses as to everything. Those of us who live here don’t have to guess what will happen with 205 transient household units are added, no left turns, U-turns, and long-time businesses, such as Habigs and others that will have no customer access due to no parking.

        • You keep bringing up Habigs. I remembered to check their parking situation last night as I walked past. They don’t have a single street parking spot in front or on the side of their business now. They will lose zero of their zero parking spots.

  • It’s hard to read some of these comments without hearing cries of concern during Hyperdrive or whatever the cute name was that we attached to Interstate closings that required major rerouting on to city streets. Low and behold, things seemed to work out OK after a few days while everyone created new commuting patterns that met their needs.

    Probably the only thing people on any side of this issue can rely on is that results aren’t 100% predictable and there will be consequences that may require additional modifications. Human beings rarely respond exactly the way planners and designers envision and given the sheer volume of vehicles and people involved here, some of the planning simply has to be “wait and see.”

  • Going way back to an old argument, but here’s a population density map from 2010. North College Avenue is a denser corridor than North Keystone Avenue.

    • Kevin:

      Are you counting that 454-unit apartment building at 66th & Keystone? This number is correct because I asked them. Some of these units are 3 bedrooms.

      Density is just one aspect–how about people accessing shopping and jobs, like, say, Wal-Mart, Target, Meijer, Glendale Town Mall, Keystone at the Crossing, Woodfield at the Crossing, IU Health at Glendale, 2 CVS stores, 2 Walgreens stores, Kroger, Marsh, Family Dollar, Aldi, Dollar Tree, etc., etc.?

      If a BRT were appropriate, it belongs on Keystone Avenue, not College.

      • Natcha,

        This just isn’t true. I live Downtown and would have almost no desire to ride this line if it went up Keystone. I’m guessing nothing that I say will change your opinion, but it’s crazy to think Keystone is a better option.

        It’s important for this line to have the support of everyone living Downtown because it has the highest population density (and growing). Target and Keystone at the Crossing are the only two reasons for me to ride the bus up Keystone. All of the businesses require one to walk across massive parking lots. That’s not an environment that encourages someone to ride a rapid transit line. Downtown already has multiple grocery stores, Circle Centre, hardware stores, and pharmacies. Why would I want to go through all of the hassle to access the same stores on Keystone?

        The businesses on College are more appealing to most of us young, Downtown residents. College Avenue and Broad Ripple Avenue have many of the best bars, clubs, and restaurants in the city. I know many Downtown residents who would be supporting businesses in both Meridian Kessler and Broad Ripple every weekend if they didn’t have to worry about driving home. I’m sure there’s also many residents living up north that would ride the Red Line to access Downtown as well.

        • What businesses along College? Habigs, Fat Dan’s, Yats, Sam’s Gyros, Yogu Latte, Mo & Johnnie’s, The Jazz Kitchen? They’ll be gone in short order because their customers will have no place to park. Others, like the Aristocrat and SoBro Café have small parking lots but still need on-street parking for their customers. They’ll be killed by this, too.

          There aren’t any bars or clubs on College Avenue, so you’d have to walk anyway.

          If you’re worried about driving, why not use Uber? Why saddle all of Indianapolis with $100 million in taxes, plus permanent tax increases to pay for you to ride to your entertainment venues? Why saddle College Avenue residents with inconvenience and 256 buses per day, against their will?

          Who wants to go Downtown from Broad Ripple, other than for business reasons? I don’t know anyone.

          The purpose of a BRT is to move people to shopping, jobs and health care. There are so many more shopping and jobs on Keystone than College. How many people work at the businesses between 38th and 96th Street on Keystone–thousands, not to mention customers for all of the big box stores. BRT isn’t supposed to be about drunk hipsters getting to and from bars.

          • “Who wants to go downtown from Broad Ripple, other than for business reasons? I don’t know anyone”

            It is clear from this you don’t understand the Broad Ripple demographic or really anything going on in this city. Not just entertainment but there are plenty of residents in Broad Ripple, and plenty of jobs downtown….. Also plenty of residents downtown….and jobs in Broad Ripple (with the hope of Broad Ripple attracting more offices)

          • I understand that a 70 year old, with health issues, wouldn’t want to park anywhere other than directly in front of a business. But, I think you grossly underestimate the capacity and willingness of most humans to walk a block or two to get to their destination. How many times have my wife and I drove past a business and said, “Well, there’s no parking right in front, might as well go home – we can’t possibly go there.” Never. Not once.

      • I’m simply using a map that’s publicly available. I didn’t make up the data myself.

        College is best for transit because it was built along transit. All of those vibrant, historic neighborhood nodes are there for that reason. Duplexes, apartments, houses on small lots, these are all features of College.

        I have no idea why Keystone keeps coming up, but if you want an expensive project to fight, making Keystone a reasonable transit corridor would cost many times more than the College proposal. This isn’t to say that I wouldn’t support the possible Orange line some day, but Keystone is a car-based road littered with curb cuts, utility poles in the sidewalks, parking lots, giant setbacks, etc. I think it’s safe to say that the people fighting the Red Line from this angle want it on Keystone simply because they don’t live on it.

        Another point: saying that nobody who lives on or near College don’t want it there is myopic. That would be like me saying that everyone wants the Red Line because my neighbors want it (which they do).

        Obviously you are fighting an uphill battle on this blog. I don’t know who you are planning on converting to your side, but maybe you’ll find better luck on a different website.

        • Kevin: the human body contains “nodes”. I reject urban planners confiscating this word for their purposes.

          There are multiple areas of Meridian Kessler and elsewhere that have corner businesses, such as 49th & Pennsylvania, 56th & Illinois, Westfield & Illinois. The argument that College Avenue was built for transit is untrue, if your definition is that there are corner businesses.

          Keystone is the only north-south street that makes sense for a BRT. If 100 Million Dollars is going to be spent on a BRT, plus permanent income and property tax increases to keep it afloat, then put it where it will take large numbers of shoppers and employees to their destinations. College Avenue won’t do that, but Keystone will.

          • Wrong again. The historic streetcars also went to Penn/49 and Illinois/56th Street.

            I’m not sure why I have tried. There’s nothing I can say to you that would change your mind. I invite you to start your own website.

          • A node is also defined as a stop in a transportation system, and the corner business areas you currently find in Meridian Kessler were, in fact, the stops on the streetcar system. Where transportation systems are created out of whole cloth, it’s still common to see commerce developed – people use public transpiration as an alternate to automobiles, and ideally, the public transportation makes stops within walking distance of their homes. Commerce develops around the stops to avoid the redundancy, where possible, of using public transit only to have to walk home, jump in a car, and pick-up the evening’s necessities of life.

    • As with all “maps” and illustrations produced by IndyGo and Midtown, it is unintelligible.

  • Well, then, run the line down Pennsylvania or Illinois Street.

    • It’s going on College, whether you like it or not!

      • I doubt that, but what you said is clearly how this mess got this far.

        • NIMBY Natacha,

          You don’t represent nor make the rules for all of us that live in this area. You spout off the same opinions disguised as facts and act as if you cry loud enough and often enough you’ll get your way. You have a right to your opinion, but try to recognize that the times are changing and things are looking up for all of midtown.

          • There is NO Midtown. This is a made-up organization created to help push through Red Line and changes to zoning to make it easier for developers to take over.

            My neighborhood doesn’t need to “look up”. Up to now, it has been one of the most desirable residential areas in the city of Indianapolis.

            Why do you need to resort to insults, anyway?

          • I am sorry if referring to you as NIMBY was an insult, but I think you frustrate a lot of people on here because of the mistruths and opinions you continue to post as if they’re facts. And there is a Midtown, just as much as there is a Meridian Kessler; both are neighborhood groups of sorts with Midtown being a group of several neighborhoods. I live just off of the Redline south of 38th Street. I’ll be impacted by it too, and I see it as a boon to my neighborhood which does need help despite being between Broad Ripple and downtown, two thriving neighborhoods. Why do you see your opinion as being so much better than everyone else’s? Why are the needs of one or two people the way the city should plan for its future?

    • Ha no principle at all!!! Just NIMBYism…… Just run it somewhere else!!!!
      From your willingness to throw Penn and Illinois into this it is clear that your Keystone arguments are really a disingenuous attempt to get it put anywhere but College. This makes sense because your arguments for Keystone are horrible and littered with proven falsities (like more people living on Keystone)

      • No one in my neighborhood that I know of would object to improved bus service, and there are much less expensive ways to do this without putting a median down the middle of a tree lined residential street that has no major employment or shopping destinations. Red Line will destroy many local businesses that require on-street parking, and for what reason? The College bus is mostly empty except for rush hour, and this won’t change.

        Density isn’t the only consideration–just one. Shopping and employment are also major considerations, and Keystone has way more of these.

        I don’t understand the density argument anyway. Midtown makes the argument that TIFs are needed because my area has lost so much population. Then they argue that my neighborhood has more population density than Keystone Avenue, which is much more logical to transport people to shopping and employment.

    • “Well, then, run the line down Pennsylvania or Illinois Street.”

      So then basically any street other than the one on which you live? (I refuse to say ‘any street other than your own’ because that would imply that you have sole ownership of a public thoroughfare.)

  • As a homeowner directly on College Avenue, my family welcomes the Red Line. I believe, based on numerous studies, it will increase the value of our property and make it much more convenient for my family to make it downtown.

  • Most of the people I know from MKNA are forward-thinking, innovative people. It makes me perplexed to see the emotional NIMBYism on here. Change can be scary but don’t forget that someone is trying to heavily invest in your community as a way to improve you and your neighbors quality of life. The biggest impact of this project will likely be the benefits it provides between Fall Creek and 38th. I sure care more about those residents having better access to jobs and education than you being able to make a left turn. Last year, that area was ranked one of the most dangerous in the nation and economic hardship undoubtedly plays a role. Stop making yourself the victim and have a constructive influence on the plan rather than trying to ruin it for everyone. That way there can be a solution where as many people benefit as possible.

    • “I sure care more about those residents having better access to jobs and education than you being able to make a left turn.”


      • What jobs and education can anyone access between 66th Street and 38th Street? None, of course, but placing the line where it belongs-Keystone Avenue, would accomplish these goals.

    • I can’t wait for this project to move forward, so that I can further reduce my dependence on a personal vehicle. Thankfully this line runs near my home (downtown), near my place of business (16th and Capitol), and near many places that I want to visit (Fountain Square, Downtown, Broadripple and everywhere in between). Currently I need to take multiple bus lines, and the home-to-business journey takes an hour or more. This is disappointing in a city the size of Indianapolis.

      Some of the changes that occur (organically, I believe) will inconvenience a few, in order to benefit the vast majority. For people who feel like victims, I hope they are able to find a support group. It seems like a very unhappy place, when progress occurs all around them, and all they can do is search for the injustice.

      • There is no “vast majority”. College Avenue offers nothing in the way of employment, shopping, health care or density sufficient to support this. This is not an “organic” change, but carefully orchestrated plan to shove an agenda down our throats by bypassing the democratic systems that are in place. Note that neither Hamilton County nor Johnson County wants this, and they will never approve a referendum to pay for it. The people who live in my area do not want it.

        You dare to mock us by calling us “victims”, but this speaks more to your arrogance and ignorance than anything else. We are citizens who weren’t notified of this until it was well-underway. Notices were intentionally sent out late so we couldn’t participate. Notices did not disclose key information, such as the median, no left turns, and still-unexplained parking restrictions that will kill local businesses that have been there for decades–i.e., Habigs, celebrating 63 years. Better shop there while you can–Red Line, which even if it is built, will eventually fail, will kill it. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. Habigs will not have died a natural, organic death, either, but it will be the victim of hipster urban planners who want to pretend they live in a more urbane place than they really do. They are the ones who need support groups to help them deal with their delusions of grandeur, lack of reality orientation and lack of integrity.

        Our tax dollars were diverted from more beneficial uses to plan this disaster, and we’ll have to pay higher taxes to keep it afloat. Why? Even if this mess goes through, you’ll still need to transfer to multiple bus lines to go to all the places you mention. Indianapolis is not New York City and never will be.

        Were “urban planning” and “mass transit” something taxpayers were asked to vote for? I don’t recall any politician having this as a plank in his/her platform. This was all planned within closed groups and strategized to obtain momentum before the majority of citizens, who will be burdened with the presence of this and costs, were any the wiser.

        • Wow, you are a real piece of work. I feel sorry for people that have to deal with you in the real world.

        • Did I get to vote to repave the numerous roads around your area? Of course not, but maybe I would have rejected it because I want Indy’s DPW to do preventative maintenance instead of reactive redo’s after a road surface completely fails. We don’t get to vote for everything in a line item fashion. We vote for certain people and they push certain agendas as best as they know how to represent the average will of the people.

        • Everything along Keystone was designed and built for automobile shopping. Everything along College Avenue was built for mass transit.

        • Perfectly said Natacha

    • Put the line down Keystone, where there are jobs, shopping and population density. The same educational access can be accomplished without destroying Meridian-Kessler.

  • I Live in MK… I am very excited for the Red Line. I have made sure my city-county council reps know. I KNOW that my property values will increase with this transit development.

    My thoughts: There is a large apartment boom in downtown… many people in those apartments will need larger homes in the future, but they like their less-car-dependent lifestyle. Well: Move on up to MK!!! Then we will let Supply and Demand take over. Some of the folks commenting on this site may actually make money, and be able to move to Mayberry, or where ever they think that things never change.

    Blue Indy, Transit Corridors, and increased density put MK (and BR, and others) into the perfect place to take advantage of the upcoming demographic shifts.

    • Yeah, Blue Indy has been a great success, hasn’t it? One-tenth of the usage needed just to break even. Also, businesses and property owners were involved in the decision to confiscate hundreds of the most-desirable on-street parking spaces, too, right? Just like Red Line.

      • Um, you do realize that Blue Indy JUST STARTED. I know you hate being bothered with facts, but its absurd to expect anything to break even within a few weeks.

        • The owner actually said that he expected the greatest number of people to sign on at the launch. It didn’t happen.

          This is again something that people who are most burdened by losing parking spots didn’t ask for and don’t want. It will most likely fail.

          • I wish home/business owners would stop thinking of street parking (metered or unmetered) as their parking spots. They belong to the city who do with those spaces as it sees fit. The only spaces you own are those that fall within your property lines (i.e. garages, parking lots, driveways).

            BlueIndy takes 5 parallel parking spaces away from the front of your business? Not your concern. In fact, your business should do better due to the increased traffic.

      • “Confiscate on-street parking spaces”??? Confiscate from whom? The city owns them, the city can bulldoze them if they want, or convert them to other uses. There is no need to confiscate what you already own. And, yes, BlueIndy has been a success already in its very short lifespan. I love it!

        • “The City” wasn’t asked. Mayor Ballard did this WITHOUT obtaining the approval of the City County Council.

          Giving exclusive access to parking spots on City Streets constitutes granting a franchise, which requires CC County approval.

  • Natacha much earlier said: “Zoning laws exist to protect the rights of people who have sunk their life savings and a substantial chunk of their income into purchasing their home–”

    No, they most certainly do not exist to preserve the personal investment choices of one set of stakeholders in a geographical area.

    • Well she isn’t wrong, they are used to do that a lot. The problem is that is not their intent nor should it be.

      • She is wrong for the different between what she said and what you said. That is not the reason they exist. That some property owners (residential or commercial) try to have them applied in a manner that benefits their self-interest is another thing. But nowhere am I guaranteed a profitable return on investment of my home because of the zoning laws in place at the time of purchase.

        I am guaranteed in most cases a public process in which I have the right to remonstrate or offer input to proposed changes that I believe will negatively affect the quality of life, property values, or other factors because of proposed construction or a change in zoning. Natacha and others who feel similarly have had and still have opportunities to share their perspective. We get voice, not vote, and I was opposed to this change (I’m not) I’d be spending far more time voicing my opinion somewhere other than here.

  • I am still weighing my stance on the red line, but would have to say I am very leery . I really don’t understand the push to make BR a “high – density ” area. I think it’s safe to say that if those of us that live here wanted that, we would have bought homes downtown. I ride Bus 17 occasionally and it is pretty empty until it hits 22nd street, so I’m just not sure where all these riders are going to come from. Coupled with the failure of the Carmel program, I’m even more skeptical

    That being said, I am in favor of improving public transportation and think there are changes indygo could try for improvement – fewer stops, wifi , etc. Do I think we need to spend $100M and completely turn BR into a traffic nightmare to do so? No, I don’t – particularly if the goal is to bring density to an area where I think it is largely unwanted .

    • Please explain how this will turn BR into a “traffic nightmare.”

      • TR5678— I gotta say, that is not a way to bring someone over to your side of the debate…. (some tact goes a long way)

        It all depends on your definition of a Traffic Nightmare. Will it be a pain in the butt while everyone learns how to navigate the street at first? you betcha! But, after the learning curve, I don’t think the traffic will be that bad… Some earlier comments break down the numbers of cars and put some perspective on the entire traffic issue.

    • I guess I see it a little differently than you. As far as the density comment we should not be tripping over ourselves to subsidize high density in one place. However, if more people want to continue to move to Broad Ripple should we restrain people from building more housing units? Also, there is some nuance to what could happen here. We don’t go from around 2,000-4,000 people a square mile to around 40,000 (density of Brooklyn) over night (nor will we ever get there). We are talking about a gradually raising of the amount of people who live here. It will open up new opportunities in Broad Ripple for business as well. Broad Ripple is an urban neighborhood and cities need to be allowed to grow as demand grows in order to function well. We should not reject investment in our community in the name of keeping it the same.

      As for the BRT. Far too long Indianapolis has invested soley in auto oriented infrastructure. This has left us with large roads to pay for thru sparsely populated areas and a city full of large parking lots. This is not an efficient or productive way to build a city. Investments in mass transit allow people to conduct their business w/o a car and business to open w/o having to invest in a parking lot the larger than their footprint. We spend large amounts of transportation dollars on roads without blinking, we should start to see transportation as more than just moving cars through areas quickly. This view has failed Indianapolis and left it with large infrastructure liabilities in financially unproductive areas.

      • The charm of Broad Ripple is that it has a small town ambience. Putting in high rise apartments, not just at College & Kessler, but one that has been proposed for Broad Ripple itself, will destroy this. Broad Ripple will become a victim of its own success. The things that made it special will no longer be there. It might as well be Carmel.

        Have you ever been to Annapolis, MD? It is like Broad Ripple, only on Chesapeake Bay, and it has the Maryland State House and a Naval Academy, but it still has a small town feel, with little non-chain restaurants and interesting shops. They don’t allow tall apartments or any further “development”, specifically so that it can maintain its charm.

        Where would any new businesses open anyway? Broad Ripple is fully developed. It doesn’t need to be “built” any more than Meridian Kessler does, which is also fully developed. What you are advocating is a redesign of the entire area, which no one asked for or wants. There are plenty of houses for sale in the area also, so dense apartments aren’t needed.

        If residents of Indianapolis wanted the City to be redesigned according to a certain school of philosophy of urban planners, which has credible critics, then this demand should come from the people, not the urban planners.

        • Broad Ripple could only dream of having the land values of highly desirable tourist center like Annapolis. Besides, Annapolis is over 5,000 persons per square mile. Broad Ripple, one of the densest neighborhoods in Indy, is probably only about half of that. Annapolis downtown is filled with three and four story buildings; Broad Ripple is mostly low-slung. They don’t allow new development in Annapolis because they don’t need to; there are virtually no surface parking lots downtown, and certainly no abandoned gas stations, unlike Broad Ripple.

          Not only have you become a NIMBY–now you’re a BANANA (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything).

          The “credible critics of city planners” are uniformly anti-city. There’s plenty of non-city to go around in this huge country for the city-haters. Can’t you leave the cities to those of us who love them? If people rallied behind your cause, nothing would ever get built and Indianapolis would have no tax base left in a decade.

        • So now you are trying to compare Annapolis, MD to BRV, INDY: you are wasting everybody’s time on this thread. Wake up and move to the country or burbs.

    • Broadripple’s residents are nestled in the middle of a major University, a corporate-big-box-store heaven, a booming bar/restaurant/small shop tourist destination, the State fairgrounds, and a dancing man with a boombox. It’s not the suburbs. These changes are coming because that area is the definition of a place that is busting its seams to increase density. All along the Red Line route, there is opportunity for more vibrancy, more economic growth and diversity. The resistance to these changes sounds exactly like the Monon Trail development. The city should probably go ahead and rip that out, along with the Cultural Trail.

    • At MKNA’s council debate last night, our newest and like winner in next month’s election who will mostly represent the area in MK east of College noted that MK is doing “just fine.” He largely based that opinion on his last regular contact with MK, which came in the 50’s when as a kid he shoveled snow in the 5000 area of Central Ave., and, on statistics that show that both our per capita income and our home values continue to rise. What he fails to note, largely because he hasn’t been here much, is that the population in the MK area has shrunk by about 30% in that period (density) and that there’s a marked difference between segment of the area (largely north vs. south). As noted by the past two administrations, there’s a clear need to increase tax revenues from this area, not by increasing taxes, but by increasing the number of high income earners and high value properties in the area. If you add an average value home in Indy, occupied by an average wage earner, especially considering the homestead credit, you get a negligible bump in net value to the City’s revenue. Adding a $300K home, and/or a $50K wage earner, creates value.

  • Every poster who is calling for the red line, I have three, no four questions for you. When did you last ride a city bus? How many people were on the bus with you? And how many weeks did you ride the bus? And how much is bus fare?

    • A fifth. What is your zip code?

      (Mine is 46202)

    • I’m still somewhat ambivalent about the project – in many ways I think more frequent standard bus service that actually runs on time could be just as successful at connecting the neighborhoods between downtown and Broad Ripple along the route proposed for the red line. To me, the only way the red line makes sense is once it’s been established that the need is there for additional capacity. Build the place first and then support it with transit, not the other way around. I realize that won’t be popular here, but it’s what is most fiscally viable for the city.

      I last rode the bus on Monday and Tuesday this week. The bus was full on every single trip. I don’t ride often because it is almost never on time leaving downtown and, without GPS, I dislike waiting for 20 minutes after the scheduled time with no way of knowing when the bus will arrive. One-way fare is $1.75. ZIP is 46220 (I ride the 17).

      • I last rode the bus two weeks ago. It was about 5:30pm leaving East St by Lilly and going downtown on the 13. My zip is 46203.

        Honestly, I don’t ride the bus all that often because I live in Fletcher Place and all of the buses I could ride terminate in downtown and I have to transfer (aka pay twice). I use bike share for a lion’s share of my commuting. However, I would happily take the Red Line for the dozen or so trips to Broad Ripple that I make each year (to visit my accountant, my lawyer, hang with friends, BR farms market, etc). We actually might go up there a bit more if it was convenient-er than it is now.

        Just a heads up, Indy Go will have live bus tracking available starting in late-Nov/early-Dec and the data will be available via API, so app developers can make it available in trip planning apps.

        I’m holding out hope that there will be a transfer option when the new DTC gets built. That along with NFC, credit card auto refillable tap cards would get me to restrict my car use even further.

      • “That runs on time.” Therein lies the problem with shared lanes bus service, such as the one on College currently. What the Red Line will do is almost guarantee that the bus will be on time.

        You may be right about building the density first, then building the Red Line. But here’s the scenario I worry about: congesting a place with too much car traffic and a shoddy, infrequent bus. Then the city becomes desperate for funding from the Feds to beef up the service, which can be a dicey proposition depending on who is in office.

        We have to strike while the iron is hot, so to speak. The Feds say the funding is there for us in 2016.

    • You mentioned frequent, on-time bus service. The Red Line will actually fix these two problems, plus a third – speed. The Red Line will have a dedicated lane, so it will not be “in traffic.” It will also have signal priority so an individual bus can be sped up or slowed down so that you avoid “bunching.” How many times have you seen two IndyGo buses leapfrogging each other? I’ve seen it plenty when traveling on Meridian south of 38th. Finally, since the Red Line will not have to stop for most lights, stations will be further spaced apart, payments won’t be taken on board, and the boarding platform will be even with bus deck, I would imagine that the trip from Broad Ripple to the new transit center will be cut in half. Also, this will be the case regardless of whether it is rush hour or noon or 10pm.

      These are benefits that no amount of adjustments to a regular bus route can accomplish.

    • Rode the bus for the first time in a while this morning. It was 7:15 am when I boarded. The bus was pretty busy when I arrived downtown.

      Bus fare has been $1.75 for a while now.

      I used to ride the bus daily before children entered my life. Now it is a more rare occurrence.

  • I don’t want to lock this thread, but it’s getting close to happening again. I still encourage those who are against the project to start their own website. Website hosting is free or very inexpensive, and it would be a lot easier to do than arguing with us on here. Urban Indy has been a website populated with transit supporters from its inception. Simply put, we want Indy to be a city, and transit is a big part of that desire.

  • To those on our side, telling people to move to the suburbs or country isn’t helping our case. Let’s use logic and facts, not scolding.

  • I am all in favor of improving our mass transit. My one concern is the removal of parking at 52nd and College. We own the College Arms Building, where Luna Music is located. The Blue Line took five spaces away on 52nd from local merchants and tenants. The Red Line, as projected, will remove parking on both sides of College at this location which will take away all street parking in front of merchants. We only have a small five space lot at the rear with six merchants and seven apartments.

    • Having lived on College Ave previously, I would find it a relief to have less cars parked on the street. There were no less than 5 serious accidents right in front of my house at 3 in the morning or later, after bars closed (parked cars being hit by intoxicated drivers). I think people are creative, if they have to own a car, they will find somewhere to park it.

      • That is so true. I’ve seen a driver just plow into a parked car on College out of nowhere. I try to avoid parking on that street if at all possible.

        All this talk of small businesses dying because they lose a couple free public parking spots is very typical. If a business can’t survive due to this very small loss of parking, then surely another one come along who will be able to better market themselves to the riders of the Red Line. That is how cities work.

  • I just read that north of Broad Ripple, the Red Line will share lanes with the rest of the traffic. If that is the case, I cannot support this project. More poor planning from this city!

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