2017: The Year of Civic Engagement

Almost a decade ago, I set out to talk about urban planning issues in Indianapolis on a website. I didn’t know where it would go, or how many people would read it. I had no idea if it would fade away after a few months like so many other blogs, but it seemed to find a small niche. On April 11th 2017, Urban Indy turns 10. There would be no way this would have been possible without finding this niche.

However, there’s still more work to be done. There’s a veritable wonderland of blog posts on this website now (many of them not written by me) to draw inspiration, and to take action. The easiest place to get involved is at the local level, so I contacted the Meridian Kessler Neighborhood Association about joining the Land Use Committee. Amazingly, they let me in on the first meeting after I contacted them.

Meridian Kessler has quite the reputation in the city for being stodgy. I’ve seen it referred to on here as the Land of the NIMBY. Absolutely, that element is pervasive within our boundaries, but there are also many people who are supportive of positive change. See also: the vote on the Transit Referendum, which passed in every precinct in the neighborhood:

This screen capture proves that despite all of the hand-wringing and fear, transit was a success at the ballot box. And it’s not just transit improvement that is popular within the neighborhood. Last night at the Land Use Meeting, we reviewed the application to turn the old Double 8 Foods at 46th and College into a restaurant. One committee member did air the common concern about the lack of parking. And then a miracle happened: the neighbor to the south spoke up about how many people in the neighborhood walk and bike places, and that they seem to have plenty of available parking on site.

We are getting somewhere, Indy. Let’s stay involved in these processes. Advocate for positive developments. Engage in public and neighborhood meetings. Join the Strong Indy facebook group. I no longer want to sit on the sidelines, and wish that I had done more.



Comments 7

  • As someone who lived in Butler-Tarkington, the identical sister to MK, homeowners are mostly concerned with the land-use issues (aka don’t apartment my SFHs), while being relatively progressive on transit/parking compared to the rest of the city.

    The gridded, slower-moving, sidewalked layout of the neighborhood enables people of all ages and abilities to move about sans car, and I think they definitely value that amenity.

    • I mostly agree Jon, but what is lacking are more nodes of commerce among these areas. Sure, there are plenty of sidewalks and a couple of bike lanes, but what can people easily walk to? That’s true walkability. Without being able to walk to restaurants, grocery stores, dry cleaners, breweries, etc, it’s not real walkability. Sure, all of these things exist in the somewhat immediate area, but they’re just out of reach of a walk. If it’s not within 3/4 of a mile walk, people just aren’t going to do it on a regular basis. So that’d be my one suggestion for improving the land use of Butler-Tarkington and MK.

  • I wish you’d been at Monday night’s MKNA Land Use meeting, wherein the proposed Mush development at 46th & College was discussed. The neighbors who attended were essentially PIMBY’s (Please, in my back yard). Perhaps some of that’s a function of some wild hope that TESLA’s will accompany all meals, but more likely it’s a function, both of age, and of the level of satisfaction with what you already have. 46th & College currently has three vacant quadrants and the neighbors who attended appear to look forward to experiencing the vibrancy of intersections to the north in Meridian Kessler.

  • I heard that Robert Evans one of those Stop The Redline NIMBY folks joined to. Enough already. That type of backwards thinking is the problem in this city.

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