Just in: Renderings of $12.5M Georgia Street makeover

May 4, 2010
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Georgia Street plansPlans are taking shape to transform a three-block stretch of Georgia Street in downtown Indianapolis into a pedestrian-friendly corridor connecting the expanded Indiana Convention Center to Conseco Fieldhouse. (Check out the new rendering from Ratio Architects above. And for a PDF with several other images, click here.) Work is scheduled to begin later this year on the $12.5 million project, which would add new street lights, trees, a pedestrian path, a rectractable overhead covering and, from the looks of the rendering, outdoor cafés along Georgia Street from Capitol Avenue to Pennsylvania Street. The project—described in the plans as an "urban outdoor event venue"—is slated for completion before the city hosts the Super Bowl in 2012. Georgia Street will continue to serve as a two-way street and will only be closed to traffic for special events. Project funding primarily will come from a federal grant. What do you think?

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  • Green Bay?
    Anyone else struck by how, in the plan, a homegrown firm (Ratio) uses the Packers and not the Colts in their rendering for the 2012 Super Bowl vision?
  • Middle?
    I like the idea of investing in an improved Georgia Street. However, I can see potential problems with motorist not seeing people darting in and out of the middle boardwalk. I also do not like the idea of wood being used. A high grade stone or a soft concrete stamped pattern would last much longer and look better in my opinion.
    • Out of Towners
      The Colts are not in the renderings for 1 simple reason; People from out of town spend WAY more money while in the city. Ratio is just playing to what their client wants to see. And when it comes down to it, that's all the super bowl really is..a giant convention that pulls in revenue for the city. And Green Bay has some pretty die hard fans that would spend all kinds of $$$.
    • Do your homework
      Did you look at the renderings? They are specifying Ipe Wood. It is extremely hard and resists rot, wear, and weather...and it looks beautiful and classy as compared to the vanilla of everyday concrete, and even pavers these days (just my opinion of course). Bottom line: it's different. I like it!
    • Interesting
      You can see in the PDF they show a comp to the new park block in Portland that has Ipe decking and that park is really nice, but it has a "beachy" feel.

      I think this will be pretty fun for people in town for the Super Bowl. My main curiosity is wondering which parts are meant for the Super Bowl and which parts are meant to stay afterward. Is it intended to be a tourists street for convention users afterward as well?

      That may make sense with the chain restaurants, the mall, and such.
    • Dead now
      Good use of all that space on a dead street between Conseco and the Convention Center.

      Maybe this will cure the City's "close Monument Circle" disease.
    • Love It!
      I love the plans and can't wait for this to be reality. And I agree with CDC Guy...hopefully this changes "planners" minds to close Monument Circle.
    • Georgia Street Live?
      I think they should just close off the street to vehicle traffic and keep it pedestrian friendly all the time. Similar to Louisville and the section of 4th Street that is pedestrians only.
    • What are the smoking?
      I can't think of a dumber project. Can we fix the road that are in need of repair, add some sidewalks to our neighborhoods and get some traffic cameras at major intersections before we take on one more downtown beautification project?
    • John B Pothole
      No, we can't fix your roads and sidewalks with federal grant...why don't you vote to pay higher property tax and fix the roads and sidewalks in your neighborhood yourself. And on personal note, why would I subsidize your driving habits anyway...if you feel so strongly about fixing roads, go write a check to Mitch and he will fix it for you.
    • Ditch the road
      Just be done with it and make it a park, at least for one of the 3 blocks. You could get much more use out of it if you didn't have to dodge cars, smell bus exhaust, and listen to cars idling.

      I don't get the insistence of putting roads any possible place. Clay Terrace is a perfect example. Why is there a road right through the middle of this shopping experience?

      I know, I know....if I had to walk an extra 100 yards, I would probably die.
    • Agree - Ditch the road
      I also think they could do more with the space by closing off the road entirely and make it pedestrian only. You'd still have the surrounding roads on the north and south.

      Overall though, I like the idea.
    • NOT close off
      Major problem with closing off Georgia Street - vehicular access to
      1) St. John's Catholic Church
      2) Most of the south end of Circle Centre Mall - especially delivery vehicles
      3) the various hotels that front Georgia Street near Union Station
      4) at least partially to Union Station itself

      This needs rethought. Even the given plan has hidden costs involved.

      One thing I noted - "infrastructure below grade. Does this mean heated pavement?
      • I always love when people say "Indy is plain, boring, unimaginitive". Then when we have the opportunity to do something more interesting, people freak out.

        This is a great opportunity to do something cool and unique. Something that will ease people walking between venues. It will draw people down Georgia to connect to other attractions, like Circle Center. It will provide a great location for community events, dining, and other activities.

        As far as heating the street, with the underground steam system, it would be rather easy to do. just run little steam lines that can be shut off when not in use. You heat the pavement and the area surrounding it feels 20 degrees warmer. Overall cost is negligible. And thus begins the warmest cold weather Superbowl ever.
      • Infrastructure
        The infrastructure that Ratio shows below grade is for stormwater. It looks like they will take the opportunity to add some infiltration and green practices beneath the new construction, which I think is a plus.

        I see your point about the difficulty of closing some of the streets altogether, but I think the block between Meridian and Penn would be an excellent candidate.
      • Add me to the list
        I would like to add my support to the remove or drastically reduce vehicle traffic on this corridor. Perhaps delivery and hotel traffic only.

        This street is a great candidate for this since it doesn't go anywhere except for two strictly pedestrian venues: the convention center and Conseco Fieldhouse.

        The last thing I want to see is spending $12.5M on putting a sidewalk in the middle of a street.
      • Also...
        Note that Green Bay is in the NFC, so they could very easily play the Colts in the Superbowl, assuming they don't suck. As pointed out, you would want to cater to the out-of-towners anyway since they are the ones spending the dollars.
      • Superbowl subsidy?
        Please look into what the superbowl planning committee plans to do with this upgrade. Confirm if they will barricade/close off the covered street to allow SB ticket holders only and leave all non ticket holders out in the cold literally for the superbowl.
      • Love it
        This looks like a great project. Would love to see it replicated on other streets.

        Why would you make this street pedestrian-only? The street footprint is going to be seriously reduced already; it is nice to have thoroughfares where people, bikes, and cars can co-mingle happily; and besides, this street is not lined by many pedestrian-friendly shops, which might justify closing off traffic (like a latin american peatonal - http://www.lasescapadas.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/peatonal.jpg).

        Next on the list of 'things to be done before the superbowl': tear up Pan Am Plaza and put something there worth seeing. My vote: manice plaza on street level, light rail station underneath. If nothing else, give the plaza a face lift, demolish the ice rink, and connect the plaza to the new Georgia Street design.

      • Merge Ideas
        Most comments are appropriate. How about merging the two: change the grade elevation of either the street or the shops so that the two can co-exist? Raise or lower the street but make it so that the pedestrians do not need to mingle with the cars and buses, yet can seen the store fronts. Or, lower the street five feet and put the shops on the second floors with cross-walks above the street and signage at street level. See Toronto, San Antonio, etc. Once the people go to the second story for their food and beverage, they might also want to go to the third, fourth, and higher floors, thus maximizing the use of the building footprint, gaining better views, etc. Also, what about parking for this venue?
      • Good suggestions, but I think there are some major issues. Currently all or parts of Georgia is closed for special events. I think the idea of the plan is to provide more than just an asphalt stretch for these special events.
        To lower the street or raise the walkway is counter to the idea of a large plaza for people to congregate in for major events. I think they are envisioning the ability to hold concerts and events like they did when they closed Meridian from the Circle to Georgia for the NFL Kickoff.

        Also, lowering a street 5' means it would take at least a block to ramp the vehicles up and down. You would be down to only one block at that level.

        Running the wider median and cutting travel lanes down to 1 each direction will actually make the road safer then it is now. It gives plenty of room for pedestrians and cuts down the number of lanes of traffic to cross.

      • what
        I don't recall any one from the city asking your opinion. Who do you think is paying for this?
      • It's Not Being Closed Off
        Tom, the street is NOT being closed off to regular traffic. It's simply being designed so that when there is a major special event, like the Super Bowl, etc. it can be closed off to create an event plaza. Underground infrastructure refers to sewers, utilities, etc.
      • Union Station
        Rather than constructing a separate light rail station right next door to Union Station, we need to return Union Station to its originally-intended purpose: a train depot! (Imagine that!) Before airports it was THE gateway into/out of Indianapolis, and there's no reason it cannot serve modern passenger rail needs just as well or better. All that is needed is to re-connect several lines/tracks that have been abandoned. Most of those rights-of-way still exist. This is much more feasible than designing and construction a separate light-rail station, and would play right into the Georgia Street redevelopment and other downtown areas.
      • Reggie, Reggie
        They are soliciting suggestions for a new name for Georgia St. This is a no-brainer for me: Reggie Miller Way!
      • Keep Georgia Street
        IDI & the City want to rename the street. They feel that the public associates "Georgia" with the State of Georgia and they want something more authentic to Indianapolis. (Hmm...this hasn't been a problem for Massachusetts Ave.) This is one of the original streets from Ralston's 1821 plat of Indianapolis and it should be retained. Perhaps the name could be "__whatever__ on Georgia Street" or "Georgia Street Pavillion."

        Please take the survey before September 13 and write-in "Georgia Street." (http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/W8B3SQJ).

        Join the Keep Georgia Street Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Keep-the-historic-name-Georgia-Street-Indianapolis/283498898332005)
      • keep the street
        I believe it has historical meaning in the street. The upgrade does show respect of contributions maybe from Georgia or to Georgia

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