Indianapolis has largely succeeded in transforming its downtown from a sleepy no-man’s land to a place where people want to be. It’s not perfect, but it’s a downtown that can stand up among its peers. Throughout all of this focus on downtown, Indy’s neighborhoods have largely maintained a similar trajectory with regards to their built form for the past century.Â Broad Ripple and Fountain Square have probably seen the most new development, but almost every new structure has had to include a nod to off street auto parking. This raises the cost for development, increasing the square footage of the structure. Unfortunately, that cost also usually leads to developers cutting corners regarding design and materials for the structure.
The overriding fear with regards to new development in neighborhoods is that the buildings will keep increasing in scale as the city looks to add more residents. However, the real problem for developers right now is primarily that it is expensive to build quality smaller structures. Every nod towards the car means another curb cut and a lower quality project. Developers have to build taller and wider to get a return on investment.
Indy has been missing a reliable, frequent transit service. This is what BRT will provide when it is implemented, starting next year with the Red Line.Â It will take some adjustment. Residents are encouraged to support local businesses affected during construction. I believe the change will be worth the investment. Infill development can once again be neighborhood oriented.
Editor’s Note: I’m going to turn comments on for now. Please be civil and respectful.