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Binford and 71st: looking to add density?

Here’s an intriguing presentation by Schneider Engineering and the MPO. I believe that shifting the development away from Binford Avenue and towards Graham Road is an elegant solution that could be attained with less headaches and cost. If this proposal ever sees the light of day, I wonder if it would be the first attempt at urbanizing a currently car-based intersection in Indianapolis that lies beyond the old city limits. I know of one somewhat similar project in the city of Lawrence. If anybody here knows of any others, please mention this in the comments.

10 Responses to “ “Binford and 71st: looking to add density?”

  1. thundermutt says:

    Just add money, trains, and more money.

    I'm a bit frustrated with neighborhood-level "planning" as it all looks and sounds alike.

    Neighborhoods of choice, dense live-work-play environments, TOD, traffic calming, gateways, blah, blah, blah.

    But nobody's buying. At 71st and Binford, Sid Eskenazi just knocked down a 70's strip mall to build…a Super Kroger. A few years before, a derelict shopping center was knocked down and in its place is a suburban strip mall, complete with Starbux, CVS, and two drive-thru banks. So the big money's still on thoroughfare suburban development at 71st & Binford, and it will be 25 more years before that corner can be substantially changed.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Yah in the Indianapolis Market, the model for high density 'community' is Clay Terrace and Hamilton Town Center: Corporate Consumerism at it's best complete with decorative lighting & cross walks, extreme suburban landscaping and disneyfied architecture. Make sure the gates are golden also!! Any neighborhood based planning in most of Indianapolis is a joke: How can we develop our suburbs even more? Well all I can say is the plan looks like a bunch of engineers got together and had a party after the wee hours of 8PM. I'm falling asleep as I….

    zzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzzz…

  3. Curt says:

    Well, at least some people are talking about improving the area. Ive recently met a few people through my social ventures, who have sympathized with the bike crowd… something that is also "new" to Indianapolis. Everyone agrees that there are forward thinkers in this area, just getting them to accept new ideas… now that is the big challenge. We all live in Indiana and know how people are here when it comes to sweeping change

  4. Kevin says:

    Neighborhood level planning all sounds alike because that is the way neighborhoods traditionally were laid out. That doesn't mean one neighborhood can't have variety or a unique flavor compared to another place in the city.

    You may be right that this will take a long time. But it eventually will evolve. And this is the first time I've seen a group centered in one of these older suburban locations acknowledge that fact.

  5. thundermutt says:

    Irvington is an "older suburban location", and even with all their organizations they couldn't keep Walgreen's from building suburban.

    They did get Huntington Bank and Starbux to build more-urban site plans, though both are single-story, single-use structures with a half-acre of parking.

    I really think this change will take at least a generation, until the Xers and their SUVs retire. It is in that key 27-45 (Xers ages now) demographic where change has to happen but isn't really happening.

    When the current warriors (Millenials/GenY) return from Iraq and Afghanistan, they will have to turn the tide with their VA & GI Bill benefits just as their grandfathers did.

  6. Kevin says:

    The key, as always, is the zoning. Until the zoning complies with the latent demand for proper urban infill in this city, we will continue to see suburban-style infill. Right now zoning is rewarding the bad stuff and penalizing the good.

  7. John M says:

    I'll let a longer-term Irvingtonian chime in to correct me, but I think that Walgreens was built in 1995. There's no way it would be built in that fashion today.

    I agree with you on the Starbucks and the bank. They certainly could have been better, but the developer made clear that they weren't going to do any better, so the choice was between what we have now, and a dilapidated Denny's/Napa.

  8. Curt says:

    Thanks for the link to the Lawrence village re-use. Interesting concept.

  9. thundermutt says:

    Zoning is a pretty pliable concept in Indianapolis, especially along major corridors.

    Zoning changes can't be made retroactive in Indiana (ex post facto), so introducing radical zoning changes actually locks in less-desirable uses.

    So I disagree: changing the underlying zoning isn't sufficient to drive the kind of change embedded in the 71/Binford plans.

    Changing people's mentality and choices is what will force developers and commercial property owners to change.

  10. Curt says:

    I drove around the Lawrence devlopment on my way to work today. It was a small detour, but got to see it. Appears that they are constructing the roads into this area right now. There is however, a CVS already operating. Small wonder. haha

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