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A Bump-out Here, a Widened Street There

Last year, the village section of Broad Ripple Avenue added curb bump-outs and prominent crosswalks. This was much needed, and crossing the street has become safer in this section:

New pavement is in maroon, old pavement is in orange

Unfortunately, this project did not apply the same ethic to the rest of Broad Ripple Avenue east of the village.  From Broad Ripple Park to Keystone Avenue, there are wider lanes and increased turning radii.  The picture is just a small snapshot; this pattern continues eastward:

New parking is in peach, old parking is in blue

With the exception of the Cultural Trail, it seems that the only places in this city where the pedestrian can truly win are areas that are already conducive to pedestrian activity.  Instead of creating a new urban corridor along Broad Ripple Avenue, we’ve taken the easy way out, and given more space to cars.  The city did update and install new sidewalks which are separated from the Avenue, so it is certainly not a total loss.  But it could have been much better.

11 Responses to “ “A Bump-out Here, a Widened Street There”

  1. Nate says:

    I was attending a Broad Ripple Village Association meeting when they first discussed this project. They did not want more than what was done because it was believed it would hurt the businesses to add a bike/walking friendly component to Broad Ripple Ave. I really believe the BRVA is holding Broad Ripple back.

    • Curt Ailes says:

      That is very interesting news to hear Nate.

    • I’m hoping we hear from Tom Healy on this issue.

    • Tom Healy says:

      I’m sorry to hear Nate thinks BRVA is holding Broad Ripple back.

      As a volunteer BRVA board member who has been in dozens of meetings with City officials over the past 2 years, I have a slightly different perspective.

      The BR Ave. paving project has been in the works for a decade. Fed approval was granted for the project which provided 80% Fed monies with a 20% local match. Over the course of the past decade the BRV community has been lobbying the City for more bike/ped/transit amenities as part of the repaving project. As a result of community input, original plans called for bumpouts along BRAVE & a median in the Central Biz District, landscaping and upgrades to the streetscape.

      When I came on board 2 yrs ago I learned that over the years, the City had systematically stripped out all of the cool stuff in a process called “value engineering.”

      When the Ballard Administration took office, they found that the City was in a “use it or lose it” position re: Fed $$$ for BRAVE. The BRVA, HARMONI & Green Broad Ripple began an intensive lobbying effort to convince the City to make the Ave. a demonstration of “Complete Streets” : put the bump outs back in to the project, include BRAVE on the City’s list of streets to receive striping for bike lane from Keystone to the Monon, add Sharrows to the “Strip”, use LED stoplights, add decorative crosswalks and benches/bike racks along the Ave.

      The City listened politely, told us we had good ideas and said they couldn’t (or wouldn’t) contribute one cent to the :”upgrades.” They did agree to the possibility of issuing “change orders” to the approved resurfacing plan if the community could generate the necessary funds.

      So, in Jan. 09 – at the outset of the deepest recession in the nation’s history, volunteers in the Village launched the “Fortune Favors the BRAVE” initiative to raise $2010/ea. from 100 donors to help fund 4 projects:
      1) hire a design firm to create a Complete Streets plan for BRAVE between Monon & College
      2) buy a Green Machine street cleaning device
      3) fund a shuttle between Glendale & IMA w/ stops in BRV & Butler.
      4) pay for upkeep on the many beautification projects in the Viillage.

      While we fell short of the goal, we did raise more than $40,000 which we used to hire Browning Day to come up with a Complete Streets plan. We also hired a landscape firm to care for medians and gardens in BRVA, including plantings as part of the Lilly Day of Service in May 09. A private firm has purchased a Green Machine and IndyGo told us they couldn’t do a shuttle, we needed to hire a private firm and that was financially beyond our means.

      The funds we generated were used to design and install the decorative crosswalks betw. College & Winthrop. We also purchased the “bike garden” bike parking located on College & in front of Brothers. A bench in front of Sigmans also came from the funds.

      This stimulated IndyGo to tell us they had Fed Funds from the Stimulus package to add racks and shelters and benchest at bus stops where appropriate. They opted to put a rack and bench in front of Ossip’s. (as part of our conversation about the larger area, they also added bike racks to College Ave. in MKNA.) The crosswalks inspired Globe Asphalt to offer to test a new crosswalk product for the Monon @ BRAVE (a $25K value that cost the taxpayers not one cent!)

      We offered to pay for the Sharrows too, but in a stroke of good fortune, the City agreed to pay for ’em. We were also successful in convincing Karen Haley to add BRAVE to the list of streets slated for bike lane striping. Christopher is correct in his comment. Pls note, it was the community who convinced DPW to use temp striping in order to make it easier to restripe in the future.

      Throughout this entire process, BRVA president Elizabeth Marshall has been an advocate for these improvements and show tenacious leadership. Brenda Rising-Moore of Green Broad Ripple has been a tireless promoter of the Complete Streets model as has Kathy Shorter of HARMONI. I’ve also been involved, giving Keynote presentations, attending meetings, making calls, sending emails and doing my best to hold City officials and contractors accountable. One memorable meeting involved all of the above, plus Ryan Vaugh, DPW, INDOT & FHWA reps. Getting all these people in the room to look at the change orders and to agree to implement them was huge and we were successful because we took the time and made the effort to bring they all together at the table and make a decision. When they saw that we were organized, had a good plan, had the money and were not going to go away, they couldn’t say no.

      Don’t even get me started on the parking garage!

  2. Christopher says:

    For what it’s worth, once the city receives federal approval, the widened lanes are going to be used to accomodate bike lanes. The problem they ran into is they used a Fed grant to pay for the work done east of the Monon to Keystone, and the initial plans (the plans approved by the Feds for funding purposes) didn’t include bike lanes. The BRVA made a big fuss and push for lanes to be added to the plans, which the city is willing and wants to do, but they’re in a red tape issue with the Feds as far as the new restriping plans being approved. Basically, they don’t want the Feds to audit the project and see new and unapproved striping, and call for a return on the grant money.

    I’ll be able to attend this month’s Bike Advisory Council meeting this month on behalf of INDYCOG, and I’ll make note to discuss this further with Andy.

  3. Nate says:

    I hope dedicated Bike Lanes are added in the future. I was pretty let down after that meeting. The people in BRVA seem very nice but I was concerned after the revamp of BR Ave and their support of a parking garage.

  4. Christopher says:

    So I was mostly right, but a bit wrong. I was correct in why lanes weren’t added during the project phase, but wrong about why they’ve yet to be added. It isn’t a matter of waiting for federal approval of new striping plans, but simply waiting for the federal DOT to close the project on their end, giving the DPW full clearance to do what they want with the striping.

    You might have noticed the current lane markings on Br. Ave are done in paint rather than thermo, which was a foresight on the city’s part knowing that they are going to be restriped. Once the federal DOT closes the project, the city is going to use local money to restripe with the updated plan using thermo.

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