City to spend $20M on West Washington Street following Blue Line shift

City-County Councilor Jared Evans speaks at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore on West Washington Street about improvements coming to the corridor.

The city announced Monday that $20 million will be spent on improvements to West Washington Street from Holt Road to Lynhurst Drive—making up a portion of the $50 million that IndyGo had promised to spend before an October board decision to alter plans for the Blue Line rapid-transit bus line.

Speaking at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore at 4129 W. Washington St., Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett said the funds will be used for stormwater upgrades, substantial improvements to sidewalks and overdue drainage updates focusing on the Fleming Gardens neighborhood. Streets in Fleming Gardens will be resurfaced, too. The project still tackles a smaller area than the previous IndyGo plan, which would have made improvements as far west as High School Road.

Hogsett said multiple creative funding solutions will be utilized, including $12.5 million from Indianapolis International Airport TIF funding. City-County Councilor Jared Evans, who represents the area, said funding might also include American Rescue Plan Act money.

The project is in design, with construction to begin in 2025. Dan Parker, former head of the Department of Public Works, said the design process will be sped up because IndyGo is providing its abandoned design plans for the segment to DPW engineers.

Evans was in Florida vacationing during the time of the Oct. 27 IndyGo board vote that removed the first segment of the Blue Line from Washington Street in favor of an express route on Interstate 70. He released a statement decrying the lack of much-needed assistance to the area’s crumbling streets and sidewalks, which he addressed upon his return in a meeting with Hogsett and Dan Parker, the former head of the Department of Public Works.

Parker said the investment was an easy decision because it likely would have been part of the department’s Capital Improvement Plan if the IndyGo investment hadn’t been slated to happen.

Westside advocates said the investment is a start, but it doesn’t equate to the increased access to transportation and the dollar amount IndyGo was set to give to the area.

Evans told IBJ he fears that those who oppose the Blue Line project will use the announcement as an opportunity to say that the city has always had the money for the infrastructure project without IndyGo’s assistance.

“That’s not really the case, because we’re losing out on roughly $30 million,” Evans said. “Mickleyville [a neighborhood west of Lynhurst Drive] is losing out on a complete project. And I can tell you, we don’t have the money.”

Lisa Bentley, head of Indy Gateway, said the corridor has crumbling sidewalks, or “cowpaths,” which residents have to use to access Route 8, IndyGo’s second-most popular route behind the Red Line. That contributes to a high pedestrian accident rate, she said.

Bentley said she would like to see continued investment through the corridor and state support to fund improvements west of Interstate 465, where Washington Street becomes U.S. Route 40.

Indy Gateway was formed in 2015 to advocate for increased economic development through the West Washington Corridor.

Correction: An earlier version of this story gave an incorrect start date for construction of the West Washington Street improvements. Construction is expected to begin in 2025.

Please enable JavaScript to view this content.

Story Continues Below

Editor's note: You can comment on IBJ stories by signing in to your IBJ account. If you have not registered, please sign up for a free account now. Please note our updated comment policy that will govern how comments are moderated.

32 thoughts on “City to spend $20M on West Washington Street following Blue Line shift

  1. Keep pushing! You’ll get it!! The city is huge and has miles!!! And miles!! Of needed infilstructure and more jobs,housing, businesses, hotels, entertainment districts etc…

  2. We’ve spent millions trying a bus line from the airport to downtown.
    Total lack of ridership.
    Now with Uber and Lyft, why do they think people will want to wait on a bus to save $3 or $4?
    Know the past or be doomed to repeat it.

    1. So you’re saying Uber and Lyft only cost $3 or $4 to get you from the airport to anywhere the Blue Line goes? Uh, I don’t think so.

    2. I don’t understand your comment. First of all, construction hasn’t even begun on the Blue Line to the airport. There’s never been rapid transit to the airport, so it’s never been tried. Light rail would be better, but the Statehouse Republicans made that option illegal.

      Second of all, it saves significantly more than $3 or $4. An Uber from Downtown to the airport is at least $20 each way, not including tip. An IndyGo ticket costs $1.75 each way. That’s roughly $40 cheaper round trip if you take the bus. If you’re planning on driving and parking at the airport, you save even more. People coming into Indianapolis to visit also may use it instead of renting a car, which is a huge cost difference when you factor in Downtown parking and car rental costs. Most 21st century cities have rapid transit connecting their airports to their Downtown’s. It’s a necessity for Indianapolis to stay competitive with peer cities.

    3. Uber and Lyft are $25 on the cheap end for short distances most days. $3-4 in savings? What world are you living in?

    4. I dar say that most using public transportation do no frequently use Uber or Lift for which min priced to go anywhere is at leas double or triple the transit fare.

      Some destined to the airport for an occasional trip may of course use Uber, Lyft or a taxi — and one can rest assured the cost will be more than $10. Those who watch a budget more closely and those who are employed at the airport may just find the transit option more appealing

    5. $3-4 savings… only in a dream world. I will be riding the Blue Line for sure to the airport. Plus you won’t have to pay to park a car or keep asking friends for rides at 11pm on a Sunday.

    6. We have not spent millions sir. Or ever had rapid transit to the airport. Uber will take you 5 blocks for $4. You are very mistaken. Every mid to major city in the world has rapid transit from their airport to downtown …even other super conservative states like Texas and Utah! It is a globally-expected amenity by travelers of all income levels. Indiana spent BILLIONS on our airport and convention center for “economic growth” and didn’t connect them with rapid transit? Asinine. Oblivious. Irresponsible. Amateur.

    7. How do you say you’ve never taken an Uber or Lyft from the airport without actually saying it?

  3. Maybe the city can go ahead and close two or three lanes of Washington Street on the westside so everyone there can enjoy the benefits the Red Line already provides in its area: snarled traffic + empty traffic lanes reserved for empty buses. Plus a big bump in the middle of the road – because cars are bad and must be f-ed with at every opportunity. Genius urban design concepts, imported from Portland by way of Washington.

    1. Rich, do you read your comments before posting?

      My mother lives not far from the Red Line in Meridian-Kessler—a several decades-long resident . Snarled traffic & “banned cars?” What utter nonsense! It is quite easy to drive in the neighborhood and thousands of people drive through it everyday.

      And, Portland (a very nice city) primarily has a light rail system and a local streetcar, they just opened a rapid bus line this year—so if anything, they are importing ideas *from* Indianapolis. Try watching something else besides Fox News for a change.

    2. Portland is a very nice city? LOL.

      It most certainly was at one point in time. But only people who lob “Fox News” insults would still think Portland is nice by any reasonable metric. The Rose City is literally dealing with outbreaks of third-world illnesses because of the homeless filth that they tolerate.

    3. Lauren, have you ever even been to Portland, or at least in the last few years? My guess is no. People like you who spend their lives in conspiracy theory chat groups and online hatefests tend to think they “know” the truth when they usually do not have a clue. And, I am not sorry if my comment about Faux News hit a little too close to home for you.

      Now, this article is about improvements and repairs to West Washington Street, something that is quite literally *decades* overdue, so if you are going to bring up “third world” problems, perhaps you should start with the “third world” infrastructure of the City of Indianapolis—many people living in much poorer nations actually have better roads.

    4. Too many people think that their *opinions* are facts and fail to provide even a modicum of support for these opinions that they confuse with facts or intentionally mislabel as facts.

      Facts are hard, which is probably why some people (like on this forum) just vomit out unsupported opinions.

    5. Portland is one of the loveliest cities in the United States. The natural beauty and city design are off the charts. It is still wonderful, even with the trauma of covid and protests. They have created a great multi-modal infrastructure system that respects the automobile, but also values people who want to walk, bike, skateboard, use transit, etc. If you had ever been there you would know that. But you only watch TV and read articles about it. Your attitude is what keeps Indiana so poor.

    6. Richard, it’s free federal money if we choose to use it for transit projects with dedicated bus lanes … and it pays to fix up the entire road and the sidewalks to boot.

      We don’t have to take that money. We could choose to pay to fix the roads ourselves with our own taxes we’ve already paid to the state of Indiana. Our legislators looked at the situation and chose to send a billion dollars back to the citizens just a few months ago. They don’t think the roads need fixing. They think they’re good enough.

      Matter of fact, folks like Aaron Freeman would rather have two lanes of pothole filled roads than one good lane for cars and one lane for buses, and they will continue to thwart the buses while refusing to get funding for the roads for their constituents. They are enabling the gas taxes you pay to be spent to subsidize roads elsewhere in Indiana while you spent your time at Tire Discounters getting another flat tire fixed.

      I’d suggest your anger at legislators like Aaron Freeman who have a lot more influence on the situation than Washington politicians.

    7. Another comment from someone who should live in as far out in the boondocks as possible. And has likely never encountered a Rewd Line bus in his life, from the sound of it.

    8. Golly, you guys seem pretty sure in your assumptions about me: what news I consume, where I live, where I’ve traveled to. Only problem is you are flat wrong on all counts. But you proceed boldly anyway. What fun! Can I join in? I’m going to go ahead and assume you guys are the planning committee that came up with the projected numbers for the Red Line’s fundraising and ridership.

  4. Maybe the City needs to upgrade Washington St. downtown sidewalks and curbs are deteriorated, planting beds need fencing, and more landscaping and lighting needs replaced. It’s not very attractive to the City’s visitors.

    1. I wish! Indy’s entire streetscape needs to be rebuilt. The city recently did a study that we are over a BILLION dollars behind ANNUALLY because we’ve been so neglectful for so long. And we never build maintenance funds into any projects so they just crumble apart like the 38th street project years ago.

    2. The problem is that the state takes the money that Indianapolis pays and sends it to the rest of the state of Indiana.

  5. Portland is still a nice city. And for [the] one who disparages it, please justify the the comment. Yes, there are homeless in PDX as there are in most large cities (include Indianapolis). Portland continues to grow and be attractive. It also has sidewalks and paved alleys.

    Portland old urban neighborhoods are alive and well: NW 23rd Ave, Sellwood, Downtown, North Portland, Pear District, South and North Park blocks, Ladd‘s Addition, Parkrose, Burlingame, Council Crest, Mt Tabor — all lovely, walkable, safe as and not beset with disease as some might generalize.

    Great views, great transit, great scenery . . . is any city perfect. One opines No. But some are more more organized, orderly, and attractive than others. while Indy has achieved a lot despite Statehouse hate, Indy has much to do (to catch up to Portland or Columbus OH for that matter)

    1. Yeah Derek C., good thoughtful comments. As far as ranking, I’d put Indy behind Portland economically but at least even culturally. Dunno about Columbus. I like all three cities, Indy the most. I live here by choice. This city has some stuff figured out.

      Yes, the anti-Indy hate from the Indiana legislature continues evermore, a bizarre decades-long self-own. Hard to fathom. Don’t get me started.

    2. Exactly! Portland is an elite city. It blows Indy out of the water in every category except racial/political diversity.

  6. Indy is still struggling to remake itself from an industrial Midwest manufacturing city to a
    new modern tech & research center.

    Indianapolis is progressing but we started late in our transition efforts.
    Decades late in fact.

    Indianapolis is seeking density and trying to appeal to the young creative
    and artistic. In doing this, Indianapolis is trying to develop our version of
    mass transit to compete with younger more hip cities.

    However, this is not going to work if Marion County can not attract jobs and our population is decreasing. There are solutions, but Indy needs to take risks
    to lure jobs and young people.

    As the ole saying goes. It takes money to make money. Corporate leadership
    needs to step up as it did during the Hudnut years. Corporate leaders came together and put their differences aside and put forth visions fir a great city.

    1. Keith, Indianapolis population increased 8.4 percent from 2010 to 2020. And there are no signs that rate of growth is slowing down. I’ve noticed while driving around, that there are more cars here bearing license plates from California, Georgia, Maryland, Texas, and yes Oregon in addition to Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan, and Illinois. The building boom of apartments downtown, Broad Ripple, Fountain Square and Midtown continues as well.

    2. if not for the Indianapolis area, the state of Indiana would be losing residents and jobs at a massive rate. If people aren’t leaving the state of Indiana, they’re moving to the Indianapolis area.

      A better question might be – why do Republican lawmakers spend so much energy importing their ideas from the areas of Indiana that are dying … and imposing them on Indianapolis? Why copy what isn’t working? Why aren’t areas around Indiana copying what Indianapolis is doing more?

{{ articles_remaining }}
Free {{ article_text }} Remaining
{{ articles_remaining }}
Free {{ article_text }} Remaining Article limit resets on
{{ count_down }}