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INDOT’s Public Mockery of Rail and Transit

INDOT has long been known for favoring road expansion above all other forms of transportation. And if their Long Range Plan is any proof, this will continue to be the case. It’s actually a joke that this was released to the public. To wit:

High Speed Rail
High speed rail, also known as commuter light-rail transportation, is
a system that generally travels in access between 90 miles per hour,
which makes competitive with air and/or auto on a door to door
basis for trips of 100 to 600 miles.

This is the lead sentence regarding High Speed Rail. My favorite part is “In access between”. It’s a breathtaking 3-word combination of incorrect word choice and poor grammar. Then there is the language on the entry page:

The 2035 Long Range Plan will provide a strategy for the future of the state highway system, which is intended to provide Hoosiers the highest level of mobility and safety possible, and to meet the needs of economic development and quality of life into the next quarter century. The 2035 Long Range Plan will also provide an update of multimodal transportation issues from the INDOT rail, public transportation and aviation offices.

No notions of real change here. The message is clear: the status quo will be maintained, and we’ll talk about this other stuff because it is required. Now let’s look at the locations of the public comments of the plans:

· East Central Indiana: 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, March 29, at INDOT’s Greenfield District Administration Building, 32 South Broadway Street, Greenfield, Ind.

· Northwest Indiana: 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, April 5 at INDOT’s LaPorte District Office, 315 East Boyd Blvd, LaPorte, Ind.

· Southeast Indiana: 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday, April 7, at INDOT’s Seymour District Office, 185 Agrico Lane, Seymour, Ind.

· Southwest Indiana: 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, April 8 at INDOT’s Vincennes Sub-District Office, 3650 South U.S. Highway 41, Vincennes, Ind.

· Northeast Indiana: 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, April 11 at INDOT’s Fort Wayne Sub-District Office, Conference Room A-B, 5333 Hatfield Road, Fort Wayne, Ind.

· West Central Indiana: 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, April 13 at North Montgomery High School, 5945 North U.S. Highway 231, Crawfordsville, Ind.

No meetings at all in Indianapolis. The meeting in Fort Wayne is in the suburbs, past the reach of transit. The other locations are smaller cities where the share of transit users is minimal at best. If people want to comment about the short shrift that transit receives, they better have a ride and money for gas.

It’s disheartening to think that this is the best we can do in this state. As long as INDOT is the driver for transportation planning in the state, it’s hard to avoid the feeling that believers in diverse modes of travel and urban living in Indiana will be like Cubs fans: wait until next year.

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13 Responses to “ “INDOT’s Public Mockery of Rail and Transit”

  1. Chris Barnett says:

    Kevin, note also the TIMES of the meetings: weekdays during normal office hours for most professional people.

  2. Curt Ailes says:

    This whole deal stinks. Where is the oversight? What happened to the specific projects? How much do they cost? These projects are funded with our tax dollars.

  3. Chris Barnett says:

    Wait…you mean the government doesn’t just print money to do this stuff?
    .
    🙂

  4. JP says:

    It’s enough to read the “Enviromental Justice” section — good example of how to write something vague when you got nothing to show for — to know that this is a status quo report.

    You would think that a long-term plan would be bold and visionary (even at risk of over-promising).

  5. Frank says:

    Great post… sadly, these kind of patronizing, undisciplined, and borderline ignorant policy statements from INDOT are not at all surprising. Until INDOT is run by a commissioner and overseen by a governor who are not beholden to large engineering firms and roadway contractors, this will not change. We currently have a governor who scoffs at the idea of any form of mass transit; the use of toll road sale proceeds are a clear demonstration of his priorities. Just ask him or his staff – they’ll tell you. By holding fast to their archaic ways (even by FHWA standards) of cars over people, INDOT is causing our state to fall further behind the rest of the country. If there was ever an easy way to work mass transit and multi-modal into our transportation priorities, it is in a plan THAT LOOKS 25 YEARS INTO THE FUTURE! A glimmer of hope may reside in the fact that there are good, young, forward-thinking people at INDOT (albeit a rather silent minority) that understand transportation is not just roads and bridges and the current commissioner resides in one of our city’s premier urban neighborhoods (and has for a long time). They and he need our support and to read your post; we need to demand accountability.

  6. Joe says:

    This continues to upset me. Every time I hear about more roads, I think of what could have been for Indy and the state. I ride over 465 on 10th street on the west side and think, $550 million for this? I know there are some people in INDOT that get it, but they aren’t in charge. A guy by the name of Michael something has made extensive efforts to attend complete streets meetings and bike talks.

    I read a report showing the planned projects for INDOT from 2010-2013. They were all road lane additions or new roads totaling over $7,202,000,000. We are scratching to save $7.35M for transit, a revenue generating source, when INDOT gets the green light(no pun intended) for nearly any project they wish! It truly sickens me to think that those in the right positions care so little about improving the state and so much about their bottom line.

  7. Roger says:

    It’s safe to say most INDOT engineers are Purdue graduates. Indiana is one of the least progressive states when it comes to engineering roads. Look at all of the new I-465 interchanges that are cloverleafs. Look at all of those idiotic traffic control medians. The engineers of this state are uneducated. That’s why INDOT is the way it is.

  8. Eric says:

    Response from INDOT on why no Indy public meeting. What a bunch of B.S.:

    Thank you for your e-mail to Governor Daniels about the Indiana Department of Transportation’s (INDOT) Long Range Plan meetings. The governor forwarded your inquiry to INDOT for a response.

    Open houses are hosted by INDOT’s six regional districts, which are more centrally located to both the urban and rural areas they serve.

    At district offices, attendees can meet and talk with district capital program staffs that are more closely involved in local transportation projects.

    Documents and comment forms are now also available on INDOT’s web site at http://www.in.gov/indot.

    Again, thank you for taking the time to write

    Sincerely,

    Charlene Parrish
    Governor’s Liaison for the Indiana Department of Transportation

    • Chris Barnett says:

      Seriously? When did Greenfield become the center of the Indy metro area?

      • It isn’t, obviously. It’s in the center of INDOT’s East Region. I have no idea why INDOT doesn’t have Indy at the center of its own region, but It seems to be more fuel to the fire that they just don’t care about Indy or its residents.

  9. Curt Ailes says:

    Of course. Unless we knock down neighborhoods, there is noplace to simply “build roads” which is what it feels like INDOT exists for these days. Build roads for the sake of building them.

    There was testimony the other day about building 4 lane roads in Connersville. CONNERSVILLE!!! town of 13k people and bleeding. I can offer first hand account that there is absolutely NO NEED for wider roads in Connersville and yet, people are lobbying at the fountain of money (Indiana GOP lead legislature) to give them the power to do it. Why? So they can put money in their pockets? It’s surely not because there is a bigger need for 4 lane roads in places like Connersville versus adopting a progressive transit approach for the places (Indy) actually keeping the economic machine running in Indiana.

    I wonder where people’s heads are sometimes.

  10. Micah says:

    I would like to build a ROAD TO NO WHERE…for our biggest INDOT supporter, Our Very Own, Mitch D.

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