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16th and Central: a case study, but only if we learn from it.

The IBJ has posted an article regarding the Kroger and Caravelle Commons. The article mentions the non-urban form and dead-end streets of the apartments. These are good points. However, I’m not sure if we have yet learned this lesson, as non-urban apartments and housing complexes are still under development in Marion County.

This is a brand new apartment complex in Washington Township. This was formerly a forest.

There is currently only one entrance, a surprisingly long access road from the north shown here:

Presumably they will connect extend this access road either south or west, through more forest. Regardless, this complex will be an island, nowhere near any place the residents can walk. Obviously a forest is different from the King Park neighborhood, but there is no guarantee that this model of development will be any more successful than Urban Renewal schemes were in the 1970s. Let’s look at a less-recent development in Center Township:

The development dates to 1999. Garage-fronted houses, a retention pond, and a cul-de-sac. Ouch.

Fortunately, there is a newer development in Center Township that takes a page from the New Urbanist handbook, Red Maple Grove:

The streets are integrated with the surrounding neighborhoods, and there are alleys. It may not be a perfect representation of urbanism, but it is at least noticeable that they have attempted to be good neighbors. Interestingly, previously located on this site were suburban-style apartments similar to the ones that are under fire at the beginning of this post. It seems that the mistakes of the 1960′s and 1970′s are plainly in view. It’s time to stop making those mistakes in Marion County.

9 Responses to “ “16th and Central: a case study, but only if we learn from it.”

  1. Mr. Peanut says:

    I'd be at least as concerned with how a new Kroger store would fit in with the neighborhood. Will they make any effort to do something besides plop down the usual suburban-format design?

  2. Mr. Peanut says:

    I'll add that they couldn't really do any worse than the existing store, but they could do better.

  3. Kevin says:

    I remember this issue coming up years ago. The neighborhood wanted an appropriate urban building, and Kroger was resisting that. I'm not sure if that has changed.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Yah, Kroger is too cheap to do what is right for the community. Not sure if they're still in resisting mode (I, personally would love for Kroger to sell), but a bull-dozer would do the piece of land from
    16th to central streets a great service to all of the neighborhoods in that area.

    I just got back from the Smart Growth Re-development meeting for the 22nd and Monon study. Let's hope this area can turn the corner and help change the development standards for the city of Indy! I enjoyed talking with C.H. about his vision for the many brownfields around the M Trail.

    If there is any remediation work to be done it's the kroger lot!!!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Last thing I heard (about a year ago) was that the big issue was with the gas station. They wanted it to be right off of Central. Meaning another suburban box in our 'city'. Kroger's produce always sucks anyway. Wish they would have stayed in Cincy!!

  6. Zach says:

    Off topic, I apologize*; I thought this would be of interest: Brightwood History

    * I would have sent an email, but I can't find an alternative way of submitting a tip.

  7. Kevin says:

    Thanks Zach. I have seen this, but I'm glad you posted it here in case other people have missed it.

  8. cdc guy says:

    I drove past the new development's gate at 79th & Township Line Rd. last month and didn't know it was apartments.

    That "forest" has been home to a TV antenna farm for most of the past three or four decades, and such places used to require lots of space around them in case the antenna toppled.

  9. Kevin says:

    That's true. Perhaps the term forest is a bit misleading, but viewing this from the air, it is still one of the larger stands of trees within the urbanized area that is not located within a park.

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