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New Downtown Plazas in Need of Connection

I’m a big fan of the new Transit Center downtown. It’s attractive and functional. And the connected public plaza is relatively attractive. Now, the city has finalized the second round of plans for another public plaza, across the street at the City County Building. The first time around, the winning proposal was going to bust the budget, so this one is more subdued:

In essence, this means that a plaza will be across the street from another plaza. This could have some decent potential, with one major exception: The aforementioned street. Washington Street is a 4 lane wide, one way street, without a mid-block crosswalk. There are other mid-block crosswalks around, but since the Transit Center was an asphalt parking lot for decades, this block does not have one. I’ve thought this was an oversight with the transit center, and now it would be even more of an omission if it were not included the new CCB plaza. Here is a look at the current conditions of the grounds, as well as the missing crosswalk:

Photo Credit: Kevin Kastner

 

Photo Credit: Kevin Kastner

 

Photo Credit: Kevin Kastner

Here’s the overhead shot. Notice that I included the faded mid-block crosswalk on Delaware Street, along the west side of the CCB:

Another note is that the public can not enter or exit the City County Building through the wings, but they can pass through the south entrance.  And often, if they’re trying to catch a bus at the transit center, they will want the most direct route possible. This seems like a small idea, but a doable one.

 

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26 Responses to “ “New Downtown Plazas in Need of Connection”

  1. Paul says:

    Does anyone know of any Indygo performance data since the Transit Center opened? Interested to see if it has made a measurable difference.

    • Jerome Horne says:

      IndyGo’s ridership ended 2016 with a slight decrease in overall performance. While the new Transit Center has made connections more reliable and provided a better experience for riders, there are a few factors that contribute the trends we are seeing. All bus systems in North America have seen slight declines in ridership the last two years due to low gas prices. Additionally, when we opened the Transit Center it also came along with significant service changes of route structure and schedules across the entire system. Whenever large changes of that scale are made, it takes a few months for riders to adjust and for us to make tweaks to schedules. Finally, due to the current state of the IndyGo system with a lack a good frequency, service span that doesn’t run early or late enough, minimal weekend service and lack of rapid transit, we don’t expect to see real improvement until those are fixed. All of the aforementioned items would be addressed with the local transit referendum funding. People will ride transit service that comes often, runs the hours they need and is consistently reliable.

      • Jim says:

        I can’t wait. I’ve loved riding frequent bus service in some cities in Europe and have always enjoyed it. I look forward to the Red Line to get to Broad Ripple and back downtown as well. It cannot be mentioned enough just has big of an improvement the new funding for the IndyConnect plan will be. It’ll mature this city in so many economically and socially important ways.

        • T says:

          how fast is the route from downtown supposed to be, if it’s fast enough i can imagine people going to and from bars in broadripple on it.

          • Paul says:

            “Drivetime competitive”

            The only issue for it being a good bus for the bars is that when it gets downtown it skews far over to the western side for the hospital/IUPUI/main office buildings. The closest it comes to the main population center (mass Ave) is the transit center. So it will be a bit of a roundabout ride to Broad Ripple for some. But still doable IMO.

          • T says:

            the redline doesn’t go U-INDY > fountain square > downtown(transit center) > up college to Broadripple?

          • Chris B says:

            Redline runs from the transit center to the west side of downtown (Capitol), then up to 18th, then over to Meridian, up to 38th, then over to College.

          • Paul says:

            It does run to those general areas. My point was that it is a bit of a circuitous route. It will be very quick on the route but the Red Line does not take the optimal route between any of those 3 places. Again, it is not THAT out of the way and when you are out for a night of partying mere minutes don’t really make or break anything. I just wanted to point that out.

  2. Chris B says:

    Yes! People will want to walk directly between the transit center building and the CCB. Right now there’s a klugey walk leading to a dead end at a handicapped parking space, but that could easily be modified into a crosswalk lead-in.

  3. T says:

    Gonna have some hit & runs if they don’t put a crosswalk in the middle.

  4. Ben says:

    Does the angle-in parking on the Transit center side extend down the whole block or is it just the west half like the under-construction aerial? I can’t picture it in my mind right now, but they’ll need to blow out a couple of those spots into a bulb for a crosswalk. Making it one of those raised walks would be a nice bonus, too. Don’t know how that’d work with the pull-in lane for the CCB.

  5. ahow628 says:

    A number of other crossings around downtown have gotten the fluorescent yellow “stop in the name of the law” crossing signs (CT/Senate, Market/CCB, CT/East). At those locations, I’ve found them to be highly effective. However they require two lanes max and preferably two way traffic, it looks like something like that wouldn’t fly here

    My suggestion, aside from a major road diet and two way conversion, would be a tabletop crossing like Ben mentioned and a button activated HAWK signal. And maybe some enforcement for a few weeks after install.

  6. Tem says:

    It would be easy enough to design and build a skywalk from the transit center to the 2nd or 3rd floor of the City-County Building. For that matter extend the skywalk along Delaware St. to reach the fieldhouse parking lot.

  7. Gene Fisk says:

    To those who actually depend on it, the transit center needs improvement, and this blog post makes a good point.

    It’s a pain in the *** to walk around the area of the transit center without resorting to jaywalking. And the entire transportation center property is no smoking, though this rule isn’t posted anywhere. Like, outside, 50 feet from the building, is a no smoking area.

    There’s cops galore there to mess with people for these enormous crimes.

    The original post speaks to the lack of consideration given to pedestrians downtown and from personal experience the new transport center is not helpful. I don’t have the answer but given that the only obstacle to making the Circle car-free is the douchebags at the Columbia Club demanding car access, then this will be a long slog.

    • T says:

      that place is probably the snoodiest place in all of Indiana. I don’t mind cars on the circle though, generally they drive slow and know to stop for pedestrians, I DO mind the idiots with the motorcycles that hangout there making an intolerable amount of noise, like a toddler with pots.

      • Paul says:

        The circle probably could be improved as far as traffic but I think it works well. Pedestrians and cars intermix and there seem to be very few rules but it just kind of works. I would be against pedestrianizing the circle because I would be afraid it would end up being like Indy turning it’s back on it. That’s just the reality with out important cars are for day to day life here.

        • ahow628 says:

          I also think the Circle works well but would advocate for pedestrianizing one quadrant and MAYBE two.

          The primary (but less feasible) one would be the SW quadrant since there are no auto centric businesses there. The only drawback would be that the Conrad uses that quadrant to pull valet cars around. This could be fixed if Illinois and Washington were two way streets.

          The secondary one (much more feasible) would be the SE quadrant. Hilbert Circle Theatre is the only spot that would need car access and that would be only during performances which are not super frequent. There could be removable posts at the entrance and exit so that car could be pulled in for pickup/drop off on performance days.

      • Chris B says:

        Downtown pedestrian malls have never been a good idea. There are far more failures than successes…and Monument Circle is not Times Square.

        • r5 says:

          Just curious, what are some examples the failures and successes?

          • Allentown PA, where I currently live, has an unusually small downtown for a city of 110,000, and virtually all of it is on a main street, Hamilton Avenue. In the 1980s they converted Hamilton Avenue to Hamilton Mall, made it narrower and pedestrianized and even built huge awnings along the sidewalks. Didn’t work. They opened it back to cars by the 1990s (but only one-way for about five blocks) and kept it somewhat narrow. There was still only one viable restaurant open after 6pm in downtown Allentown as recently as 2014.

          • Chris B says:

            Center City Philadelphia; Chestnut St. was converted to one lane each way for buses and taxis, and the sidewalks were widened out into a pedestrian mall configuration. That was in the 70s. By the 90s, the street was reopened to all vehicles, though still only two lanes (with one a dedicated bus lane).

            In fact, the City itself killed the “main street mall” by building a large urban mall connected to the commuter rail line complex at Market East.

            Aside to Eric M: The enclosed mall has lasted a lot longer than the pedestrian mall did…even longer than the Gimbel’s, Strawbridge & Clothier, and John Wanamaker department stores. Kmart went in to replace one, then closed. And the anchor now is…wait for it…Burlington. 🙂

          • Mike says:

            Evansville, IN – Main Street was converted to a “walkway” in 1971. While likely not the cause of death for Evansville’s downtown, it didn’t help.

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