Local News outlet Fox 59 recently published an article about a local restaurant at 54th and College, which contends that the city is being unfair in its Red Line plans. The restaurant currently uses a head-in parking lot configuration found nowhere else in Meridian Kessler. Given that this structure was historically a gas station and a grocery store, that’s not too surprising:
A closer look at the property shows that the parking lot basically spills out into the right-of-way to the north and east side of the property:
The article contends that the restaurant will lose its parking lot access from College, but according to IndyGo (and the Red Line’s project engineer), there still will be an ingress, right at the corner:
A decent argument could be made that the current configuration is quite dangerous for pedestrians. Being forced to walk behind parked cars along a busy street is far from ideal. The only other business in Meridian-Kessler with head-in parking along the street that I could think of was Cafe Patachou, at 49th and Penn:
Note how the parking is set off of the corner quite a few feet, and that there is still a proper sidewalk for pedestrians. This works better for everyone, and makes the Patachou corner appear lively with their corner patio. I realize this is a bit of an apples-and-oranges comparison, and that Pennsylvania Street doesn’t have near the traffic issues. But it’s a more approachable property.
Perhaps someday the 54th and College parking lot argument will look silly. Perhaps maybe the owner might even look to that asphalt at his backdoor and think of other uses for it, such as bocce ball or other outdoor recreation. I have little doubt that if the owner is really worried about his property value after the Red Line is constructed, some new enterprising owner may look to capitalize even more on the southwest corner of the intersection.