Last week, the Mayor’s Office announced that they had selected a winning proposal for a parking garage to be located in the Broad Ripple Village. The garage was hinted at when the parking meter lease was closed although details were very fuzzy at that point in time. Before I dive into an analysis, here are some basics according to the press release from the city:
Mayor Greg Ballard today announced the City’s selection of a developer and operator of a new mixed-use Broad Ripple parking development located on the lot at the southwest corner of the intersection of Broad Ripple Avenue and College Avenue. The parking garage will contain about 350 parking spaces. The first floor will feature retail space as well as a police substation provided free of charge to the City.
“Broad Ripple Village has long needed a garage of this magnitude to alleviate parking issues and allow for implementation of a residential parking permit system on neighborhood streets,” said Mayor Ballard. “Visitors to the Broad Ripple area will have a safe, secure, well-lit area to park their cars, while residents and their guests will more easily be able to find on-street parking near their homes.”
The total cost of the project is about $15 million, $6.35 million of which will be provided by the City of Indianapolis from the upfront payment in the parking meter proceeds, which must be used to fund infrastructure projects in the Downtown, Mass Ave and Broad Ripple areas. The project will not receive a tax abatement and is expected to generate about $350,000 in property taxes per year. The developer and operator, selected through an RFP process, is a partnership between Newpoint Parking, Keystone Construction, Ratio Architects and Walker Parking Consultants.
Contained in those two paragraphs are everything that defines the project as it stands. A new structure is going up, it will contain retail and a police station and a neighborhood permit program will be put into service. Urban Indy has spent plenty of keystrokes fighting the lease of the parking meters as well as the concept of a parking structure in the village. Kevin had a really great post earlier this year examining the need for more density in the village. Within that post, was a map highlighting the large number of surface parking located within the village that could possibly someday be used for useful purposes besides automobile parking given that a parking structure such as the one announced were to come to fruition.
So what happens next? This structure will begin to take shape this summer with completion coming sometime next year. While final design plans are not available, I would assume that some sort of streetscaping features as well as an improved crosswalk and perhaps a transit stop will be included with the final built form.
Looking further into the future, it would be nice to see some of the parking space that Kevin pointed out, be converted to some sort of other useful purpose such as infill development. A big factor in how the future of the village will develop is still being worked out with input sought from the Envision Broad Ripple meetings of the past couple years. The finished product from that process will be a new Neighborhood Village classification using form based codes as the guiding principal. According to volunteer director of the BRVA, and frequent Urban Indy reader Tom Healy,
“We’re working closely w/ DMD staff on a new zoning category called Neighborhood Village that will enshrine form-based code as a guiding principle. The new code is still in development but the community has been able to introduce components of it in several initiatives like the Broad Ripple Avenue repaving project, the recently proposed Midtown Redevelopment Area, and of special note given today’s announcement, the crafting of the Request for Qualifications for the mixed use parking structure.”
If all goes as planned, it would be nice to see these new codes put into service soon. I know that some recently proposed projects that were subjected to regulatory review were held to some of the standards being developed. Additionally, a circulator to reduce visitor’s need for a car would be a step in the right direction in helping to reduce parking requirements. Long term, and if you are a frequent reader and know my thoughts, a modern light rail system traversing the village would go even further towards reducing visitor’s need for automobiles altogether. However, a vision for that could be much further off.
In conclusion, I think I speak for many when I say it is sad to see land being used for parking garages. At least retail space has been preserved and a brownfield is being re-mediated where the new garage will be located. According to a developing Village Master Plan, increasing the density of residents in the village is a key long term goal towards building a stronger case for Broad Ripple rail transit. In that regard, it would be inspiring to see mixed-use apartments or condos going up on this site instead of more space for cars. Moreover, it would be nice to see increased transit options put in place via Indyconnect’s proposal that would decrease visitor’s need for automobiles, and thus the need for unsightly parking garages. I know that Tom shares my desires and he says as much,
“Don’t for a minute think this one structure will solve all of Broad Ripple’s parking dilemmas. But it’s an important step in the right direction. We still encourage our patrons, employees, clients and neighbors to bike, walk, ride IndyGo, carpool or take a cab when they visit the Village. If we have our way one day we’ll see the trolley return to College Ave.!”
I hope that for the sake of the future of Broad Ripple that this garage stimulates the trend of taking existing village surface parking and developing it into better uses, and that longer term, the garage can be looked back upon as a key moment in building a case for rail transit.