This the follow-up post from the one I wrote on October 22nd.
Indianapolis doesn’t have a lot of money to throw around at our various issues, and that money may be dwindling as I type. My number one money saving idea is simple: No more widened roads in the name of “improvement“. The phrase “If you’re in a hole, the first step is to stop digging” comes to mind here. But, consider that a widened city road:
- Costs more to maintain than it did previously. One mile of 2 lane road costs $312,000 just to be resurfaced.
- Places land into the public Right-of-Way which can no longer recover property taxes.
- Does not help property values.
- Induces more congestion.
- Hurts aesthetic value and walkability.
- Makes driving more dangerous by increasing the potential points of conflict.
- Devalues the potential of mass transit. (Editor’s note: I found this article after I’d almost finished the post, and it basically says what I was trying to say and more. It even had the same “stop digging” trope that I used.)
- And finally, most hurtful for the purpose of this post: Spends money on pavement which could be spent elsewhere in the city.
Of course, most of this list this would go double for any possible brand new roads that may be in the works in the name of traffic flow. I’m not familiar with any at the time, but I don’t think it is out of the question either. I’ve always held a wary eye to the potential Holt Road extension just east of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, for example.
Especially on a limited city budget, every choice we make is also a differentÂ choice we are eliminating. Let us choose to not spend more money on what will eventually be another maintenance burden, and spend it on infrastructureÂ like sidewalks, transit, bike paths, and street trees.
I’m open to other ideas that readers that may have for nuts-and-bolts style improvement in the urban core. Please mention them in the comments.