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Mass-transit planners unveil proposed route details

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Central Indiana’s mass-transit planners unveiled detailed route information for the first time Wednesday and say a series of open-house meetings in August will be the public’s last chance to request changes before final recommendations go before the Indianapolis Metropolitan Planning Organization.

Although state legislation to create a regional mass-transit system failed this year, the MPO still has $2.4 million in grants to complete planning for three rapid-transit lines. (The planning money is a $2 million federal grant, plus a $400,000 match from the city of Indianapolis.)

“When we rolled this plan out two or three years ago, people wanted specifics,” said Anna Tyszkiewicz, executive director of the MPO.

The three rapid-transit routes in the final planning stage are the 25-mile north-south Red line from Carmel to Greenwood, the 24-mile east-west Blue line from Cumberland to Indianapolis International Airport and the 23-mile northeast Green line from Noblesville to downtown Indianapolis.

Detailed maps with stop locations, route alignments and possible alternatives will be available at the Indy Connect website Wednesday afternoon. Nine open-house meetings are scheduled between Aug. 6 and Aug. 22. A schedule is on the website.

The legislation that failed to advance this year would have given Marion and surrounding counties the ability to hold referendums on an income-tax increase to support the $1.3 billion transit plan. Some legislators objected to the potential tax hike, as well as details of the plan—especially the use of light rail on the Green line.

The Green line alone is estimated to cost $483.2 million, but mass-transit advocates say the high price has more to do with the cost of converting the old Nickel Plate rail corridor, whether for light rail or bus-based rapid transit.

Whether to use rail cars or buses on the Green line is one of several questions that planners hope will be settled with more feedback from the public.

The IndyConnect plan calls for bus-based rapid transit on the Red and Blue lines, which means buses would use existing right-of-ways with fixed stations.

A tougher question for downtown Indianapolis could be what path the Green line should take from the end of the old rail corridor at 16th Street to a planned transportation center on Washington Street, across from the City-County Building.

Planners are trying to decide whether to send the line down Massachusetts Avenue or Fort Wayne Avenue, and there are several options within each alternative.  

“The last mile always becomes the more complicated part of the discussion,” said Ehren Bingaman, executive director of the Central Indiana Regional Transit Authority.  

The IndyConnect plan calls for the Red and Blue lines to be built within five years of a regional system’s creation, and the Green line to be built within 10 years.

The MPO is scheduled to vote on the alignments for the Red and Blue lines Dec. 14. A vote on the Green line plan would come next spring or summer.

Because there’s no funding for the system, there’s been no decision yet on the timing of the rollout, or whether the Red or Blue line would be built first, Tyszkiewicz said.

The Legislature kicked the funding question to an interim study committee, which will hold its first meeting Aug. 5.

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  • REALLY
    This is absurd why has this same silly argument been happening since before I was even thought of. we the people of Indianapolis, knoblesville, Hendricks, Hamilton, Hancock, Shelby, Morgan, Boone, Madison, etc etc are tired of sitting in traffic going and coming in our commute and with a growing city and surrounding area its not getting any better there is a reason why our suburbs are considering a loop highway only around the surrounding suburbs (not including Indianapolis) (no mitch daniels its not because they want to be connected like Indianapolis is ) its because they are tired of sitting in traffic to get through to the other side when they can sit comfortably in a train and ride over and around the sitters in traffic and wave going by ...btw the DART in Dallas is wonderful and would consider moving to suburbs in Dallas if this dosent get approved. your not worried about our money your worried about your own couse if you was worried about ours you would see it saves from possible accident costs, saves from having to buy a car, saves from car repairs, saves from the $7,000 a year estimated on gas, saves on having to make more streets and roads, saves on having to spend more on those stupid Indygo busses, saves from having to pay for a cab lets be honest its not us your worried about its your selfs ...we the younger generation will have to be in the struggle in the future not you, we the young want to see growth, competiveness in business, and quality 2014 transportation which includes trains for the city of Indianapolis . Indianapolis is considered the slowest large city for a reason that's because we could be much further then this if we would do what needs to be done for the future...and not what wants/can be done to get us eased by for another 3 years ...tired of seeing all the people I grew up with moving to cities like Chicago, Minneapolis, Atlanta and they all say for the same reasons its too slow here ...tired of seeing people that are wonderful that come to visit the city that say man its great here but its too slow here everybody I know that's from somewhere else has said the same things on theyre way out and when I ask how is it too slow knowing the answer its always "transportation the city is too spread out and congested to not have reliable fast transportation" had one friend that said "my fashion business would never make it as much as id love to stay in the downtown area because no one can get downtown or wants to go downtown because they don't have a reliable way to get there without waiting for a 45 min bus, catching a $25 cab or having to wait in traffic " just tired of it and id hate to leave but I will consider in about 3 years leaving if this approval of mass transit trains dosent get approved I deserve better WE Indianapolis deserves better we work too damn hard not to have it we came through for the damn superbowl and made it the best ever according to 99% of the top illustrators, writers, magazines and sports journalists even putting us on the map for possible regular rotation and first cold weather city ever considered for possible regular rotation for superbowls...I volunteered for 10 free days not including the clean up of downtown which took a week afterwords we came through whats the problem with coming through ...wonder why the major businesses downtown, broadripple, fountain square heck even castleton never seen business like that before and might not ever see it again without another superbowl or without mass transit trains that make people want to get out and do and do because they have more time to do it average person works 8-10 hour shifts and sleeps 6-8 hhour nights sits in traffic 2-3 sometimes more hours a day in Indianapolis with only time to go home and spend time with theyre family left then go to bed for that 6-8 hours again and start it all over with no time to go out and enjoy all the wonderful things theyre are to do in the city or suburbs because theyre out of time to do it...just like you guys are running out of time to make this city a all around fast paced success..honestly we are loosing and I want no part of the loosers squad ..no charlottes bobcats in my circle ...make the right decision or expect to dig have deeper holes and loose out on a very possible success story
  • Everyone's included
    Actually on the long range plan, express buses are in the works for Brownsburg, Plainfield, and Avon. But it will depend on Hendricks County officials having their own referendum. This plan will benefit all of central Indiana, but it's going to take Indianapolis getting the ball rolling because it's the major city. Downtown Inc has said many times that businesses are reluctant to come here because of the lack of reliable transportation. Without this, in the long run, the city will steadily lose money. Hamilton county has the next largest population of commuters into Marion County and new employment potential. Once again, the mayor of Noblesville has said new companies are reluctant to come there because of lack of mass transit. There is a reason Charlotte, Salt Lake City and Minneapolis look more appealing than Indianapolis. Indianapolis has the potential to thrive as an entire city but without mass transitc people will come, see downtown, and leave. If we want other areas of the city to look attractive, we have to start by internally raising the property value so that these areas will look appealing to investors. It's time for Indianapolis to plan for the future, or city leaders will wake up 30 years from now and wonder where the opportunities and the population went.
  • Wrong approach
    I think the approach is wrong. First, if people choose to move to the wealthy suburbs, it is their choice and I think we should not encourage urban flight by building cool mass transit. Second, why would a wealthy person from Carmel or Fishers drive with the car to a bus station to park the car and then take the bus? Once you are in the car you might as well drive where you want to go. Third, $1.3 billion would pay for 100,000 cars worth $13,000. Are a few buses really worth this? Fourth, I am actually for mass transit. But why not build mass transit where it is needed? Why don't we actually connect dense, urban neighborhoods with quality transportation? Why is there no clean, safe bus or train running during the night from downtown to Broad Ripple? Why was the direct airport bus discontinued? Let's build quality transportation starting at Indy's core. This will improve urban neighborhoods instead of encouraging urban flight. Mass transit only works if you have dense neighborhoods. And they do only exist in urban Indy and not in our sprawling suburbs.
  • College Student
    The fact sheet at http://www.cnt.org/repository/2012-Fact-Sheet-Rankings.pdf actually does not prove that the average household spends $14,000 per year on transportation. The cost factors that CNT uses are from the AAA "Your Driving Costs" study that looks at the cost that AAA members incur during the first five years of driving a car that was purchased new. A large component of that cost is about $4,000 per year in depreciation. Given that the average car in the US is almost 12 years old, that would imply that the average car cost more than $48,000 new, which is clearly not the case. It's also unclear what the average household size is used by CNT, and how many vehicles are used per household. In other words, you can't just take a statistic someone generates without looking into what assumptions and data sets are being used.
  • Will Never Happen
    This will be used mostly by people who have cars, who can afford to drive to work, but would prefer someone else do the driving. We need to improve IndyGo and help those underserved areas where people don't have reliable transportation. Then, extend to areas beyond the city proper. This will never pass because light rail is not feasible. If people really wanted it, they would be more vocal. Help those who really need the help first before creating a boondoggle for the rest of us.
  • Git it done
    Get on with it!! This is gonna turn into another I-69 ordeal. Decades of bickering and no action. This needs to happen now!!! I live dwtn. Improve the whole system to make it buses more appealing instead of run down and ghetto. I guarantee people will start taking a bus to go out drinking knowing they could get home safely and not need to spend $50 for a horrible cab ride home.
  • Brownsburg, Avon and Plainfield
    Simple answer, Tommy - Hendricks County residents are not being asked to pay into Indy Connect.
  • Options
    If Indy doesn't make a move and get public transit then maybe I will have to make a move... to the East Coast. Excited to see the bike and car share in the city and hoping that it will be successful. There are so many people who cannot afford to get to and from work and so much money being wasted on supplying parking garages when requirements could be lessened with a quality public transportation system. Saying Indy is not dense enough or has a high enough population to support public transit is all hearsay. Muncie has a great public transit system since it is frequent and dependable (Two factors that IndyGo seems to be currently working on). I fully support any new transit options in Indy since it came out that the average Indianapolis household spends over $14,000 a year on transportation costs. http://www.cnt.org/repository/2012-Fact-Sheet-Rankings.pdf It is time for Hoosiers to realize that public transportation can help create more vibrant communities by removing some of the barriers which keep the poor from being able to move up in social class.
  • Ostrich is Right
    Ostrich is absolutely right on. I would add this to Ostrich's comment: no road should be built unless all of the right-of-way is obtained from willing sellers. None of this socialistic eminent domain big brother stuff. Either users pay the full cost of building the road, including compensating right-of-way owners in a free market, or it is just another socialist subsidy scheme.
  • Get The Government Out of Transportation
    GL, Executive, and others against this are right. The government has no place in public transportation. Beginning immediately, all roads should be privatized and toll-based. Why should I have to pay for a road I never drive on? The government has no place promoting "the common good." Maybe we can get government out of the business of police and fire protection too. Helping out each other as a part of a community is too "socialist" for people like us.
  • Executive....
    .... you just don't get it. Mass transit helps to CREATE that concentration of jobs you seem to be missing at the moment. There are many people in this city who do NOT have a car or other reliable transportation of their own and depend on mass transit. With the limited coverage and service hours we have available to us at the moment, via IndyGo, the job options available to these people are severely limited. This is a contributing factor to many people just deciding that it is easier and convenient to remain on public assistance. They stay poor and their communities stay poor. You want to reduce reliance on welfare (making up for any increased taxes which might be dedicated to the system) and help bring prosperity to the more impoverished areas of our city? Start with quality mass transit, making sure that EVERYONE has access to the jobs and services they need. As mass transit makes our city more accessible, you'll see the jobs come, too. Companies aren't going to locate here and bring their jobs if they can't get the people to them to be filled. I'm no mass transit authority by any means, but this seems like such a simple concept. Why don't people get it?
  • Act Now
    Although there are likely many vested interests, and probably an equal or greater number of self-interests, at stake here, Central Indiana needs to implement rail transit ASAP. We do not have another 10, 15, or 20 more years to hem and haw, explore the issue, and get full buy-in from every politician, landowner, or speculator who might be touched by the project (or who may want to be). Those who believe that Central Indiana can grow and flourish merely by itinerantly adding car and bike lanes or additional bus routes need only look at the rail systems utilized in virtually every other major city in the country. Indy is the 13th largest city in the country by population. And our population is growing; the number of cars on our streets is growing; we have many more miles of seemingly randomly placed bike lanes choking traffic that we do people who regularly bike to work; and our urban street space is finite. It does not appear that these facts will be changing anytime soon. If we want our fine city to continue to serve as the capitol of anything other than Indiana, then we need to act on rail transit. Now.
  • SPEND,SPEND,SPEND!
    There's money left in the jar...we MUST spend it....To Hell with the facts...there's no demand, there's no concentration of jobs which justifies this massive boondoggle and tax increases into the future, no honest calculation of subsidies and maintenance/operational costs....no reason for this whatsoever...yet these morons MUST spend. It's lunacy...
  • Speed it up
    Let's go already. And no half-billion dollar buses please. Let's convert and have dedicated lines that own right of ways so those that still drive their car will watch the transit users fly by. Why don't they have the meeting tomorrow? A vote by next week? A vote by this years election and construction beginning 2014? This discussion began over 12 years ago. What is the hold up? Gett'er done.
  • Why so Long
    Having just returned from the Dallas area, and used their DART (Dallas Area Rapid Transit). I can't for the life of me understand what the hold up is. It was so nice to just hope on the Dart and take it to Downtown Dallas, getting on and off at various locations along the way. I sure would like to sit back and relax and let someone else do the driving. But as one person already stated, at this rate it will be 50 years before we even get it approved.
  • Another tax increase
    I imagine proposing at these public meetings not to punish workers by raising income taxes again would go over like a lead balloon. How about ending corporate welfare to sports teams and telling them to take a hike instead of putting the burden on those few of us who still work and are struggling to get by? I'm regretting more and more all the time buying a house downtown.
  • Great!!
    Awesome! At this pace, we'll be putting it out to bid in a mere 50 years.
  • Left out
    Why is the Brownsburg, Avon, and Plainfield cities left out of the plans for mass transit of Indianapolis?

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    1. These liberals are out of control. They want to drive our economy into the ground and double and triple our electric bills. Sierra Club, stay out of Indy!

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