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Indy Connect Plan Looks to Bring More Transit Options to...

Indy Connect Plan Looks to Bring More Transit Options to Indianapolis

Indianapolis, Indiana is shaping up to be one of the greatest “little” cities in America. With a population of over 800,000 people, many argue that the only thing holding Indianapolis back from becoming one of the best is its lack of a mass transit system. But that’s not to say that transportation hasn’t been on

Indianapolis, Indiana is shaping up to be one of the greatest “little” cities in America. With a population of over 800,000 people, many argue that the only thing holding Indianapolis back from becoming one of the best is its lack of a mass transit system. But that’s not to say that transportation hasn't been on the city’s mind. For many years now studies have been conducted to determine what a transit expansion plan would look like in Indy and how it would affect the city.

Indy Connect long range plan

Indy Connect - a collaborative initiative between the Indianapolis Metropolitan Planning Organization, the Central Indiana Regional Transportation Agency, and Indy Go - was introduced to the public in 2010 in order to gain support from those living in Indianapolis who are interested in seeing more viable transit options. Many residents do not feel as though the current bus system serves the city as well as it could.

Indianapolis’ bus system, Indy Go, operates twenty-eight fixed bus routes that primarily provide service to the greater Indianapolis area. The Indy Connect Plan proposes to double the service of Indy Go in order to provide transportation to more Indianapolis residents and in the process, create new jobs. In addition, plans have included other options such as rapid transit lines and additions to existing bicycle and pedestrian pathways in Indianapolis.

The proposed Indy Connect Plan strives for community input and representatives have spoken to numerous neighborhood organizations, businesses, and residents in Indianapolis to gather feedback. This process occurs mainly through public meetings and forums in towns across multiple counties in central Indiana. Social media serves as an additional tool for feedback.

The implementation of a long-range transportation plan can heighten Indianapolis to its full potential. Many young professionals are flocking to cities these days and are looking for ways to be sustainable, using methods such as public transportation, walking, and biking. Mass transit seems to be just within grasp for Indy, and I look forward to seeing how the process develops over the next ten years.

Are you familiar with another city that is currently going through a transit expansion? In what ways do you think transportation plays a role in how residents and visitors view a city?

Credits: Maps and Images by Data linked to sources.

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Laura Granieri graduated from Ball State University in the spring of 2012 with a Bachelor in Urban & Regional Planning. Upon graduating, she moved to Indianapolis and accepted a position as an AmeriCorps VISTA. She currently works as Program Co...

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  • Shayla

    As much as I love the city of Indianapolis, as I’ve lived here my whole life, I can’t understand the lack of progressive thinking in our politicians. To say Indianapolis, the 13th largest city in the U.S., does not need mass transit is a preposterous statement made without looking fully at historical data and recent trends. Indianapolis has a lot to offer, but politicians must look at what his holding companies back from establishing businesses here. These politicians haven’t done the research. Downtown Indianapolis, Inc. has done the research. Committees for the Mayor of Noblesville have done the research. They’re not pulling what potential employers are saying out of the side of the neck here. Potential employers have said time and time again, mass transit is key when it comes to hiring quality new employees. Some argue there isn’t a high enough population density in Indianapolis for mass transit. Charlotte, NC and Salt Lake City, UT have much smaller densities, SLC by half, and both of those cities have significant changes since implementing mass transit. The former mayor of SLC even said ‘Goldman Sachs would not have picked us to be their 2nd largest location if we didn’t have mass transit.’ The Central Indiana Regional Transit Authority isn’t asking for an unfathomable plan. 4 bus rapid transit lines and 1 light rail line, as well as enhanced local bus service and express bus services from various suburbs. Having buses that come every 20 minutes isn’t enough to garner “high frequency” in my opinion, but that’s the best we have here, and that’s only on 3 lines. The other lines have buses come every 45 – 60 minutes. Indianapolis is not meant to be another Atlanta, or Cleveland, or Minneapolis, but the city cannot expect to reach the next level of success for a mid-size with a slow and steady population growth rate of only 1.98%. Residents say they want more jobs but haven’t looked at any research regarding why jobs are choosing other cities over Indianapolis. Employers that come and set up shop here are going to need assurance that there is a reliable mode of transit to get their employees to and from work. Studies have shown that young urban professionals prefer mass transit as opposed to sitting in traffic. Everyone who works downtown, doesn’t live downtown. Everyone who works in Castleton or Park 100 doesn’t live in those areas either. But as someone who lives in the central portion in Indianapolis, and has one time worked in all three of those areas, sitting in traffic is a pain. Yeah, when I465 is flowing, everything is good, but one ‘disabled vehicle’ or car crash can mess up another person’s entire commute. Look at the work being done on I65 and I70 at the Virginia Avenue bridge. I’m sure people would much rather have frequent reliable transit options instead of having to try out different routes. These are things potential employers look at and these are things we aren’t addressing with a current transit options. IndyGo is one of the most UNDER-funded transit systems in the U.S. but surprisingly it has tried to make strides with new route options on the bare scraps it has been given. Local residents need to realize if we want central Indiana to see the kind of growth that is in Denver, Charlotte, Seattle, and heck even Northwest Indiana, we’re going to have to invest in mass transit. It’s not just investing in transit, it’s investing in our future.

  • Hi Shayla,
    Thank you so much for your insights. I agree that Indianapolis has the potential, and that better transit is the next step towards the future of the city. I applaud your knowledge on the subject, as many people have strong opinions and do not have the facts to support their arguments on the matter. Thanks for reading!

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