In 2005, I moved from Indiana to attend college in Boston. Next came Philadelphia and Princeton to pursue a job and a masters degree respectively. When I returned to live at College and Kessler in 2014 though, I was anxious. Big east coast cities have a lot to offer a young professional, and I was worried that Indianapolis wouldnâ€™t stack up.
What I quickly found, however, was just the opposite: when friends from New York would call and complain about â€œthe grindâ€, I found myself talking about how hospitable and friendly Hoosiers were. When former colleagues in Philadelphia and DC complained about apartment prices and traffic, I talked about living in an affordable house with easy access to Broad Ripple and the Monon Trail.
In fact, besides the absence of a good cheese steak place, the only thing Indianapolis lacked was adequate public transportation. Riding the T in Boston or SEPTA in Philly was about more than just saving money on a car (and the related parking, insurance and maintenance costs). It was about making a place I loved less polluted and congested. It was about getting to know my neighbors and sharing a ride with them. It was about feeling engaged, about feeling connected to a place and its people.
I understand that change is difficult, that it takes time and resources and even some sacrifice. For me though, and for countless millennials like me, living in a community that values sustainability and connectivity is essential. If Indianapolis is going to continue to be a place that attracts and retains young professionals, these values must be reflected in our transportation system.