If you follow this website, you undoubtedly are familiar with the term “complete streets”. Complete streets is a term that refers to a total consideration of the transportation cross section when planning a new infrastructure related project. Put more eloquently, “Complete streets are designed and operated to enable safe access for all users. Pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders of all ages and abilities must be able to safely move along and across a complete street.” For more information on this topic, visit www.completestreets.org.
It is with this concept, that we bring the next post to you. The Harmoni neighborhood group, located in Midtown Indianapolis, has been working behind the scenes to improve Indianapolis’ neighborhoods using the complete streets approach. As you can imagine, this type of work costs money. They have worked hard to secure local funding to be able to provide as a match for federal funding, to start up some of these projects.
The newest project, is centered around the intersection of Meridian Street and Westfield Blvd. Meridian is a very busy north/south commuter artery during the morning and afternoon and as such, cars normally move at excessive and dangerous, speeds. The Harmoni group has for a couple years now, been lobbying for a solution to trouble presented by the presence of rapidly moving automobiles.
Enter, the Indianapolis MPO. If you are not familiar, an MPO (metropolitan planning organization) is a federally mandated body that oversees the dispersal of federally awarded transportation funds for an urbanized area of 50,000 citizens or more. Our’s is located in the city-county building in downtown Indianapolis. Their “sphere of influence” if you will, covers over 1.2 million regional citizens in Marion County and the donut counties surrounding. They conduct a lot of studies and oversee everything transportation related in our region. If a road is modified, if a bridge is changed, if a sidewalk is to be revitalized, they manage every penny that flows through their governing region. They also provide a great service in the form of studies of all manner. Road engineering studies. Rail studies. Bike planning. Multi-modal planning. etc…. It is that last one, Multimodal planning, in which the topics of this post are concerned with.
The MPO has been conducting a series of multimodal planning studies for the benefit of the region. They are open to the public, should you wish to attend. If you cannot, then they post all of the studies online. This year’s series focused a lot on complete streets and how better to incorporate the theories into our region’s designs. The studies can be found on the MPO’s website here. It is the last document on that page that is of particular important. It list’s two projects in the Indianapolis region applying complete streets theories. One is located along the East 10th street corridor, and the other is focused on the region of Meridian street mentioned above. Later I plan on doing a post on the 10th street project which is already under construction.
Construction should start in 2011 on the Meridian Street project, and once finished should provide a much more pedestrian friendly intersection for trail users and midtown Indy residents. For more information regarding the Meridian St project, click here for a 36 page .pdf. A less “wordy” handout can be seen here as well.