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Helping with the Marion County Land Use Plan

Helping with the Marion County Land Use Plan
In the summer of 2018 I found myself sitting in a room with a small number of other people, making decisions about how land in Marion County should be used. I’m a computer person by trade with no background in land use planning. How did I end up here?   The Impetus The Long-Range Planning group in Indianapolis’ Department of Metropolitan Development had a challenge: Tasked with not only updating the balkanized and aged Marion County Land Use Plan, but in keeping with the vision of Plan 2020, which includes enabling the broader community to bring their expertise and interests to the task, how...
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The Indianapolis’ Sidewalk Donut

The Indianapolis’ Sidewalk Donut
I work on map layers for Indianapolis, and recently I’ve been updating the sidewalk layer. Something that really jumps out is a donut that’s about 6-8 miles out from the center of the city which has very few sidewalks. Aaron Renn of the Urbanophile might call this the new donut. There are some noted exceptions here, especially within the excluded cities of Beech Grove and Lawrence. But, the city went through a ~2 decade period of purposely not building new sidewalks. Much of that development lies within this donut: This area of the city was largely developed between the 1950’s and the...
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Indiana: The State That Works. Twice!

Indiana: The State That Works. Twice!
Recently, I was traveling with the family on I-70 just south of downtown. We hit a bad traffic snarl just to the west of the south split. The traffic jam allowed my wife to notice something amusing in the large “attractions” sign: I didn’t notice this quirk at all. But, sure enough, Indiana Govt Cntr is listed on the same sign twice. Soon after that, we went down the list of many of the other attractions downtown that were left off due to this redundancy. I’m not sure if this says anything about anything, other than the sign makers really want people to know that this is the...
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One Up, One Down…

One Up, One Down…
There was a recent petition to demolish the old gymnasium building at 625 S Meridian to be replaced with…a surface parking lot, which was modified to be a “plaza”. This building is within the Regional Center, but not within an IHPC district, so it will likely be approved.     Somewhat ironically, a new petition as submitted for Regional Center Approval for a new building immediately adjacent to the above. These are separate lots and, I believe, separate owners, but it is sad to think that, in essentially the exact same location, it doesn’t make sense to re-purpose an...
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Land Use Plans Are Not Sacred Texts

Land Use Plans Are Not Sacred Texts
Recently, a spate of reasonable proposals have been shot down by the Metropolitan Development Commission due to fears of over-densification. The MDC has been using previous neighborhood land use plans to defend their repeated denials. While it may be true that the most recent land use plan called for a different type of development, that does not mean that there can not be some wiggle room left for development of multi-family residences. The best recent example of this is in Fountain Square, starting on page 41. A run-down old tire shop could be redeveloped as a small duplex. Some renderings are shown...
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A Proposal to Narrow Market Street

A Proposal to Narrow Market Street
The Indianapolis Historic Preservation Committee has posted a proposal (page 133) to narrow a portion of Market Street right downtown. This narrowing will also extend over in front of the City County Building, taking out the un-urban car drop off point. This portion of Market Street is just outside of the IHPC Jurisdiction, and I currently don’t have any renderings of it. I’ve attached the IHPC’s segment here: ...
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DMD Open House

DMD Open House
Indianapolis Department of Metropolitan Development has a major public outreach event scheduled this Friday. I’m planning on attending. Here are the details: October 5, 2018 6PM-9PM Exhibition on City Planning (Harrison Center, 1505 N Delaware St) And here is the promotional blurb: Enjoy an evening of art, cast your vote for your favorite team in the Thriving Neighborhood Challenge, and let your voice be heard on FOUR major city plans: the Marion County Land Use Plan, Thrive Indianapolis, the White River Vision Plan, and IndyMoves!  IndyGo will also be on hand with information on the rapid...
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Nickel Plate Trail Possible for Future

Nickel Plate Trail Possible for Future
Yesterday, the Indy Star dropped one of the more enticing nuggets that I’ve seen in a while. A 50 mile long connected loop of a trail between the Monon, Midland Trace Trail, and Nickel Plate would at the very least help to provide an alternative to the traffic-clogged northeast corridor. I’d encourage this trail development, and I would hope that they will still maintain the rail right-of-way. However, it must be noted that the Nickel Plate’s path is quite suburban in makeup. It would make more sense for the Monon Trail to be rail than for the Nickel Plate, but with the future Red...
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Indiana’s Bike Safety Rankings – A Guest Post by Tom Doehrman

Indiana’s Bike Safety Rankings – A Guest Post by Tom Doehrman
Indiana is the 12th least bicycle-friendly state in the country. The news comes from the League of American Bicyclists in the wake of a comprehensive, independent study that looked at factors ranging from government biking policies and programs to the funding and completion of bike-related infrastructure. Through its Bicycle Friendly America (BFA) program, the League strives to help states and the business, universities, and communities within them with a mission to “make bicycling a real transportation and recreation option for all people.” Despite its praise of the Indianapolis Cultural Trail (a...
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A Map of The 2016 Transit Referendum, Correlated with the Presidential Vote

A Map of The 2016 Transit Referendum, Correlated with the Presidential Vote
I’ve always tried to avoid the topic of politics on this blog. I’ve long felt that the core values of Urban Indy could appeal to a wide spectrum of the general public. With that in mind, I decided it still would be interesting to see how many Indianapolis precincts split their tickets in 2016. A general narrative is that Democrats are usually friendlier to transit than Republicans, but this precinct map shows that there are plenty of exceptions to that narrative within Indianapolis: This is just a subset of who won in each precinct. There are also variations within each precinct that cut...
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