IndyGo hires new project exec after chief planner for Red Line departs

Justin Stuehrenberg, the chief planner for IndyGo’s Red Line project, has left the transit agency for a new job. On Monday, IndyGo announced it has hired Jennifer Pyrz as his successor.

Pyrz, 46, began her new job Monday as IndyGo’s chief development officer and vice president of infrastructure, strategy and innovation. In this role, she will lead IndyGo’s capital plan projects, including its planned Purple Line and Blue Line bus rapid-transit projects.

Jennifer Pyrz

Stuehrenberg, 38, who left IndyGo on March 20, is moving to Madison, Wisconsin, to serve as the general manager of the Madison Metro Transit System. He is set to begin that job May 4.

Pyrz is an engineer with more than 20 years of experience in transportation consulting. Most recently, she was planning group director at the Indianapolis office of Kansas City, Missouri-based engineering consulting firm HNTB Corp.

In 2016, IndyGo awarded HNTB a $5 million contract to serve as the Red Line’s construction manager. Pyrz has served as HNTB’s Red Line project manager since January 2019.

“We are extremely grateful to have Jennifer as a new leader at IndyGo,” IndyGo CEO Inez Evans said in a prepared statement. “Her talent, dedication, and direction in leading the construction management team for the Red Line not only showed how knowledgeable and dedicated she is to the city but to our organization. We are thrilled to have a leader like Jennifer to continue to build on our successes.”

Pyrz’s job title, and the scope of her duties, has shifted somewhat from her predecessor’s.

Stuehrenberg’s job title at IndyGo had been vice president of planning and capital projects. He had been at IndyGo since December 2014.

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13 thoughts on “IndyGo hires new project exec after chief planner for Red Line departs

  1. I hope Pyrz is a big hit. However, can we hold off more public transit projects unless either (a) the Red Line becomes self-sustaining, or (b) the state takes it over? Those little cars taking up street parking all over town sucked up millions in tax revenue, hurt businesses, and ultimately failed. The Red Line has disrupted entire neighborhoods against the will of many individuals living there, upset traffic flow to small business along the route, and also has failed to generate revenue of any significance. The fact is that the user demand required to generate sufficient revenue for the types and the routes of public transit we have built to break even does not exist.

    1. No. Transit is a public good. The voters were asked if they wanted an income tax increase to fund the transit system expansion and they overwhelmingly said yes. The transit plan must move forward.

    2. The Red Line roads are well used, especially before. Money spent by IN DoT on road construction is different than money funneled to a private entity and wasted. We could have used the road expansion and maintenance that could have been paid for by revenue directed to IndyGo & Red Line.

    3. Gas taxes don’t fully pay for the cost of roads, either. IndyGo isn’t a private entity. The money used to built the Red Line can only be legally used for transit. It could not have been used for roads in any way.

    4. IndyGo is not a private entity. It is public transit and public transit does not generate a profit. Public transit is accountable though its performance as documented by statistics reported to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), One factor is cost recovery, the amount of operation costs covered by fares. Public transit does not break even anywhere in the US, Europe, or Australia. Hong Kong transit may, but Hong Kong is a major world city, incredibly dense, hilly, and with rail. Addition operating funds derive from the voter-approve income tax that has allowed IndyGo to bring transit service to a level comparable of Columbus OH and Louisville KY and to finally build Bus rapid transit. College Ave had a single bus-only lane southbound from Fairfield for many years – so bus priority treatments is not new. College Avenue north of 38 St were 2 northbound and 1 southbound prior to the Red Line. The Red Line operates in 1 lane for both directions, stops were decreased, reliability improved. Buses do not ‘block’ vehicle at stops every block. All construction projects cause delays and have impacts. Cars can readily use parallel streets such as Central, Washington Blvd, Pennsylvania, or Keystone. The peak hour travel time increase between 38 and Broad Ripple is less 4 miinutes, To infer the public was uninformed of transit plans is incorrect; the Marion County transit plan completed before the vote as well as required public outreach and environmental documentation required by FTA to apply for federal funding. Regarding ridership, it does not increase 200% overnight. The Red Line is already one of the highest patronized. Increased ridership and attractiveness means improved reliability through bus-only lanes, signal improvements, and greater frequency. And, that is what voters said yes to. Blue Indy was not transit but was a car sharing plan which obviously too few people needed or cared to pay for. Buses have the right to be on road and furthermore the Red Line as well as the other two planned BRT line follow the busiest bus routes in the system. The income tax was to bring a more reliable and stable source of funding for planning and operating transit to avoid the death spiral of less funding, leading to less service, leading to fewer riders which began with the Goldsmith administration by reducing most service to every 30 minutes which reduced ridership by 50%. I ask why the requirement to dedicate staff and incur additional operating cost to staff and manage an entity within an entity to beg money from the private sector – this was a poison pill tacked onto legislation to allow the transit vote. No agency in the nation other than IndyGo is governed by this arcane policy; one ask how this make the agency more accountable than federally-mandated performance reporting? Also, how shall the raised funds be used. Uber/Lyft could be established as a feeder to transit for origins/destinations not close to routes or in areas where little transit exists. No one knows the impacts until something is built; I-65 and I-70 decimated many neighborhoods and were poorly designed and continue to be improved – think about the I-465 and I-70 east interchange rebuilds. As rapid transit projects go, the Red Line impacts were mild in comparison with comparable projects in other cities. The Red Line is not yet one year old and the system plan elements have not been realized. Transit in Indianapolis became the worst of any major city over the last 30 years; it will not become the best overnight, but finally bus and BRT improvements are coming.

  2. @A.T. “Must go forward”? Blue Car and Red Line are laughably disasters that have flushed millions down the toilet. Hold another vote tomorrow and let’s see what the voters say

    1. Amen to that Chuck!
      What a joke the Red Line is. Can we have ordered bigger busses to take non existent passengers to their high demand destinations?
      Good thing they smoke the windows of Red Line and IndyGo busses, so the public can’t see how empty they are.

      STOP the madness please. Find a way to use Uber/Lyft for efficient public transit.

    2. Public transportation is a needed service for many of our fellow citizens. As it works out its start up bugs and a more complete system is in place it eventually will be a fully implemented system.

  3. I wish Ms. Pyrz well. I hope she realizes both the importance of filling in the missing sidewalks near transit stations and the need for comfortable, ADA-compliant sidewalks that aren’t directly adjacent to traffic, have utility poles in the middle of them, and/or have non-compliant cross-slope because of frequent improperly designed driveways crossing them. If we stop treating pedestrians and transit users as an afterthought, we might attract more of them.

    1. The citizens were deceived by IndyGo and they will continue to deceive to get the Purple and Blue lines constructed. One thousand have signed a petition against the Blue line, but you can bet that IndyGo will do as they wish and continue ti ignore public input and requests.
      Good riddance to Sturehrenberg.

  4. Who controls and approves their plans for these new bus lines? They should not be permitted to construct on major east/west, north/south roads. They turn main 4 lane travel routes into 2 lane congested headaches. Pick a parallel street less traveled to build your lines. Then, the city should time the lights on the 4 lane road so it flows smoothly for those driving the speed limit. Count the daily vehicle traffic on east Washington versus the bus passenger count on the same street. This is common sense.

  5. The referendum regarding funding for IndyGo was approved, no question. However, it was approved based on a number of promises, projections, and commitments, and without necessarily a full disclosure to the voters on the “downsides” of the implementation plan. I think the construction as well as resultant traffic impacts were not well understood, the ridership has not met the projections, the standards of service [ten minute intervals?!] are not happening. and lets not forget the commitment to raise private funding was one of the requirements. Parenthetically, I have to laugh at the folks who say – “No need to meet the commitment because the penalty was not explicitly laid out”. Be careful what you ask for, you almost got that answered in the last legislative session…

    And it would probably be fair to say that it is one thing to conceive of downsides, another to experience them for their full effect. (As another example, I imagine the idea of working from home was pretty appealing to some folks six months ago, now maybe a little less so…)

    At any rate, with the full knowledge of the realities of the Red Line, it would be interesting to see what folks say now.

    For those who say “The vote at ONE point in time must stand for ALL time” – what is your take on votes and rulings throughout history on race [Indentured Servitude and Slavery were legal once, until they were reversed], gender [Women couldn’t vote until the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920 – meaning they’ve had the right to vote for less than one half of our country’s history]. So the reality is that any law that is the result of a vote can be undone by the same process. Same goes with Executive Orders (and, I might add, Supreme Court rulings – look up the Dred Scott case as an egregious example of where it was good that a Supreme Court ruling was subsequently undone). If it can be done through Executive Order (or Supreme Court ruling), it can be undone by Executive Order (or Supreme Court ruling). Good, bad, or otherwise, and we may or may not like it, but that is the reality.