As part of my ongoing involvement as a member of the Green Line Citizen’s Advisory Committee, we were recently briefed on the latest details regarding the progress of the Environmental Impact Study (EIS) for the Green Line. I intend to cover the juicy bits of the recent news in the post regarding the specifics of the potential downtown route configurations.
When the Green Line was originally announced, the scope identified Union Station as the downtown terminal to interface with local bus service. This made sense as IndyGo has long assumed that a future downtown transit center would be located on the site of the US Post Office, south of South Street and across the street from Union Station. As study has moved forward however, IndyGo announced that they had selected a different location for the downtown transit center. Urban Indy has reported on this before and design is currently moving forward with the transit center at the intersection of Washington and Delaware Street, across from the City County Building.
This announcement solidified the future of downtown bus transfers for the local IndyGo bus system. It also creates some new options for the Green Line. In addition to the previously announced routing of the Green Line along existing CSX freight right of way, planners now have a viable alternative for studying street-running light rail along the streets of downtown to interface with the new transit center instead of utilizing Union Station. I have reported in years past the amount of work that would be required simply to rehab Union Station; the street running alternative creates some cost saving options.
The realization of a downtown routing comes with many benefits as well as some potential trade-offs. Running on the streets means a more complicated routing, more stations, closer location to job centers, potential of heading off negotiations with CSX and a host of other benefits. As you can see, planners have refined the options to four potential configurations which would use either Fort Wayne Ave or Massachusetts Ave.
As you can see from the diagrams, both Fort Wayne Ave options would provide a direct corridor into the heart of the Pennsylvania/Delaware couplet corridors and a straight shot into downtown. Since the potential technology options include DMU trains with wider turning options, the routs reflect this with a Y-configuration. Trains would simply reverse once they began their trek back northward. Additionally, the possibility of extending the line southward to serve the Lily/Rolls Royce job centers would involve simply extending the track southward on Delaware Street.
The Massachusetts Ave options offer a different strategy that would route the line further away from the core along New Jersey Street in one scenario and along Delaware with the other. The Delaware option could still take advantage of being able to serve Lilly & Rolls Royce as well. However, either Mass Ave option would require a restructuring of the current perpendicular parking orientation to a parallel parking design which would accommodate clearance for trains on the current automobile travel lanes.
In both scenarios, if the option to use Pennsylvania or Delaware in a double track situation were to win out, existing parking would be wiped out. As you can see from the provided cross section, current travel lanes would be retained to accommodate the new rails while parallel parking would be eliminated.
To be sure, all of the downtown street-running configurations require a trade off with parking, automobile flow and potential interface with the downtown transit center location. However, all 4 seem to offer benefits that are head and shoulder above running trains along the CSX tracks.
What do you think?