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LETTER: Take broader look at interstate fix

May 25, 2018

The American Institute of Architects Indianapolis agrees with the IBJ editorial “State should pause I-70/I-65 project long enough for larger study.” [May 4]

It’s disappointing that INDOT is moving full-steam ahead without consideration of how rebuilding and expanding the North Split and adding 30-foot walls will disrupt historic neighborhoods and increase traffic and pollution through downtown Indianapolis.

While INDOT wants to focus on the number of vehicles that travel through downtown Indy via I-65/I-70 and the cheapest fix, that’s a short-sighted approach for a project of this magnitude.

Indianapolis deserves better. We need a thorough, independent study of how to transform this crumbling, 50-year-old urban highway system into an economic driver for the entire region. Cities such as San Francisco, Paris, Seattle, Boston and Minneapolis have removed highways or buried them, filling the space with development and green space and created new economic opportunities.

There is no question the roadway needs immediate fixes to make it safe. Let’s fix those, but then take a few months to really study the issue and create a plan that moves Indianapolis forward.

AIA Indianapolis, an organization of nearly 500 architects throughout central Indiana, is asking Gov. Eric Holcomb to commission a thorough, independent study of I-65/I-70 that will consider crucial social impacts, including economic development, urban planning and aesthetics. We encourage others to join us in writing to the governor and other local, elected officials to ask they also intervene to put the brakes on this project.

What happens to I65/I70 will define Indianapolis for the next 50 years. Now is the time to do it right.

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Jeremy Welu
American Institute of Architects Indianapolis
 

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