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First Blue Indy Car Share Stations Announced

The city of Indianapolis has announced the first car share stations for Blue Indy. The deal now plans to tap parking meter revenue instead of an IPL rate hike, but the new deal has also come under fire.

Regardless of the messy process behind this deal, I thought it’d be good to visualize the first proposed stations, so I made a map of them and linked it below:
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I’m surprised Butler University, the Airport, and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway are not included in the initial launch. What other glaring omissions can you think of?

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Photo Credit: Kevin Kastner

Please keep in mind that there should be more installed at a later time, as Blue Indy mentioned there will be up to 200 stations. I hope that the city can find a way to support this program that will satisfy the citizens and the council. It appears to be one of the better ways for citizens to live in Indianapolis without needing to own a vehicle.

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29 Responses to “ “First Blue Indy Car Share Stations Announced”

  1. Wesley says:

    I feel like they’re focusing too heavily on Downtown for this initial launch. As a Downtown resident, I would never drive from Mass Ave to Fountain Square when I could just walk or take a Pacer’s bike. Irvington is one of the few neighborhoods with decent transit, so I take IndyGo there. I share your surprise in the exclusions of Butler and the airport. I would like to see Castleton, Keystone at the Crossing, Speedway, and Nora included on this list. I know this is just the initial roll out, but I don’t see what good it does having 7 of the 10 initial stations located in an area that’s already walkable, bikeable, and well served by transit.

    • Dan says:

      I wonder if the downtown focus is more for people visiting from out of town? You’d have a large population in the downtown hotels (possibly having arrived by taxi from the airport) with limited transit options (no car and either no knowledge of IndyGo’s routes or no desire to be bound to bus schedules or on a bike), and desired destinations outside of walking distance (speedway, IMA, visiting one of the colleges, etc.).

      The airport is an interesting animal. I agree it’d be a great location, but having worked there, there’s often a lot of bureaucratic mass to move to get a project going there. They may be taking a wait and see approach to see if the initial roll out succeeds.

  2. Chris Barnett says:

    City government typically isn’t going to sponsor a disruptive “app”. In this case, a station at the airport would potentially disrupt the taxi and “shared ride” (limo) businesses that are long-established.

    It does seem as if there should be a station near the Amtrak/Bus terminal on South Street. (The City Market and CCB stations would serve the Transit Center.) And since IUPUI is served, why not the Ivy Tech Fall Creek campus?

    • I feel like there’s going to have to be something else at the airport eventually. Whether it is BRT, car share, or even light rail, local government has a role to play in any of those options.

      BTW, I had a fun discussion once about the possibility of biking to the airport. It’d make an awesome blog post if I had a death wish.

      • Joe Smoker says:

        I’ve done it…..before INDOT installed the very desirable “bike lanes” on Washington St under I-465. Actually, riding around the airport on Perimeter Rd is a good ride for a road bike crew.

        • Joe, how did you actually get to the terminal? I see how to get the service areas, but the actual terminal requires people to get on Colonel Weir Cook Memorial Drive, which is basically an interstate.

          • Joe Smoker says:

            There are several connections to Perimeter Rd from Washington St to the north as well as Minnesota and High School to the east. Those neighbors west of the airport could use Ronald Reagan Pkwy and Stafford Rd.

      • Chris Barnett says:

        Kevin, agreed. But it should be public transit…some kind of rail or BRT. Sponsoring a car-share is not the way to do it, even if the cars are plug-ins.

        • Jim says:

          Why can’t it be both public transit and plugin car shares? The city doesn’t have to put its eggs all in one basket. Options are good.

  3. ahow628 says:

    I think a few of the comments here are missing the point of the downtown stations. The point isn’t that you would drive from Mass Ave to Fountain Square. The point is that if you live in Mass Ave or Fountain Square, you could easily get to Meijer for groceries or Home Depot for some hardware or Fry’s for some electronics which you couldn’t otherwise get to without a car.

    As an example, I live in Fletcher Place and if there was a Blue station at Holy Rosary’s parking lot, I would be very close to selling our vehicle in the next 5 years or so (after our son graduates to a booster instead of a car seat). I certainly wouldn’t use it to drive to Mass Ave, but I would use it to drop the kids at my parents’ house in Greenwood.

    Car share is a different animal than bike share and is probably more akin to bike rental, actually.

  4. ahow628 says:

    Also, I gotta say, this comment is beyond stupid:
    “The IURC said it was unfair to charge all customers for a service that only a small percentage would use.”

    Pretty much everything the government does is “unfair.” I’m stuck paying for I-69 which I will never use. Others are stuck paying for public schools they will never use. Some people pay for sidewalks their fat butts will never use. But we all pay for it because it is for the public good.

    So much of this country’s wealth is flushed down the petroleum pipeline, it would be great if we could begin to stem the flow.

    • Chris Corr says:

      In a general sense, I agree with you that we all pay for government to build and provide things for the public good that we may not ever use. But IPL is not a government entity. They were going to charge all electricity users to install charging stations and backbone infrastructure to essentially support a private company. That was not right. IURC did approve a small portion of the requested rate increase to support the backbone infrastructure, which makes sense because it could benefit everyone.

      • Kevin says:

        Good point Chris, thanks.

      • ahow628 says:

        First, yes, IPL isn’t a government entity but is a monopoly utility and as such is directly regulated by the government. There may be a bit of a distinction, but I wouldn’t say there is much difference.

        As for the rest, I’ll disagree with you, with some caveats.

        The backbone (power to the stations) should be included, which we agree on.

        The charging stations should be included in my opinion because they aren’t just for the Blue cars. They are free to be used by the public to charge their own electric cars.

        And I don’t mind the Blue cars themselves being included because they give visibility to the infrastructure. How many people know there is an electric car charging station at the Garfield Park library branch? Would people just driving by know if there were Blue cars parked there? I say yes.

        So what we need is a critical mass. There have been a number of cities do bike share where they started with 2-6 racks and 40 bikes. Guess what? They fold because there typically isn’t a bike or a rack where you want it to be. Scaling back this car share program will have the same result and the people of Indiana and Indianapolis will get to cackle maniacally about how socialism fails again and the free market blah blah blah in the comment section of a Matthew Tully article.

        Everyday I hear former skeptics of the Pacer’s bike share say, “It’s unbelievable. I would never have imagined anyone using it.” But it was successful because there were a ton of bikes, a ton of racks, and the underlying infrastructure (Cultural Trail). Imagine trying to convince a 1980s or even 90s Indianapolis resident of the possibility of the Cultural Trail or bike share. They would laugh in your face.

        Which leads me to the other side of this coin – if you are going to do a limited launch, don’t launch it at all. If there isn’t going to be the critical mass like there was with the Trail and the bike share, just don’t do it.

        I’ll also mention that I wouldn’t be sure sad about it not happening at all because of the previously mentioned dirty power we generate around here. Until wind or solar becomes a plurality source of power, we are just substituting one bad for another bad. Although I suppose coal and NG from the States beats oil from the Saudis for the most part.

        • Jim says:

          I agree with you except I do want to say mention that critical mass is really tricky to plan for – it’s always still a gamble. I completely agree that critical mass, whatever it may actually be for a given scenario, is critical. But it’s really really hard to know ahead of time what this will actually be. For example, the bike share is easier to predict and plan for than the electric car share. That’s not to say we shouldn’t expand it to try and hit this critical mass though.

      • Ryan W. says:

        Chris — agreed. The IURC protected the general public (which I’m sure had something to say on this matter) from the overreach of Blue Indy. I was surprised they were going to try and fund this through a utility increase. I’m glad the city is using parking funds instead.

        Ahow — maybe the city can use additional parking funds to create the mass you are looking for from BlueIndy. That would make a little more sense to me.

        Electric vehicles are great but saying that everyone needs to pay more so that we can have more charging stations for electric vehicles that many people can’t afford new…maybe not the most appropriate thing. However, I am keenly aware of the backlash almost anything alternative transportation receives in the city.

  5. AQuick says:

    I like the idea of car sharing services. But I don’t care for this being sold as a “clean” or “environmental friendly” form of transportation. IPL is burning coal and natural gas to power these cars. Nothing about this is clean or environmentally friendly. A few windmills in northern Indiana does not balance out the impact of coal burning or natural gas extraction.

    • Jim says:

      So true, and I’m reminded of this any time the wind comes from the south west and brings the fresh smell of coal and industrial smell from the coal plant and south side factories. They can’t switch away from coal fast enough in my opinion.

  6. sjudge says:

    I’m hearing that there’s some conflict in Broad Ripple between where Blue wants to locate their stations (BR Ave.) and BRVA’s plans for improving the streetscape there. As much as the City wants these things, there needs to be some accommodation for planning where they’ll be placed.

  7. I’d like to see more stations placed around shopping centers, especially ones with unique stores, and other points of interest. Like put one near the Trader Joe’s in Castleton, so I could take the bus up there, buy lots of groceries, and then trundle them back in a Blue car. Put one at the Keystone at the Crossings Mall. Put one out by Fry’s Electronics. Any one-of-a-kind store like that should get a station sooner than later, because it’s going to be a place where people go for stuff they can’t get anywhere else.

  8. Aaron B says:

    Does anyone know (maybe Chris Corr) if the sidewalk they have ripped up near 25th & Delaware is for a charging station. The spacing looks right. Just wondering and thought that would be an interesting choice for a location…

  9. Rhonda Lee says:

    Apparently the City-Council (Democrats and Republicans alike), still live in a 1990s world. They are going to tow the BlueIndy cars parked on Washington Street as part of a stunt. On his Facebook page, Councilman Adamson has described the loss of metered parking spaces for the charging stations thusly: “roads you and I paid for so we could visit the commercial outlet of our choice”. Note that Councilman Adamson owns his own business on Ohio St, and relies on metered parking for his customers.

    It’s also disheartening to read that so many owners (e.g. Yat’s on College, Henry’s Coffee Bistro) believe that the on-street parking spaces in their neighborhood are theirs:

    http://www.indystar.com/story/news/2015/07/10/electric-car-charging-stations-light-fire-mayor-councilman/29995235/

    This would be a good time to bring up the valet parking fiasco that is the Cultural Trail in front of the Conrad. If the Council wants to tow vehicles parked in a public space for the benefit of a private company, they could do worse.

  10. Janet says:

    wheres the station at Marion univ????

  11. ahow628 says:

    I filled out the survey. One write in point I made was that as a family with three kids, it would be nice if the style of car was mixed up a bit. I’d really love to do away with our car, but I don’t think it is possible till these things accommodate 5 people.

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