Mass Ave business owners criticize city’s plan to close streets for outdoor dining

mass ave
The 400 block of Massachusetts Avenue. (IBJ photo)

A group of 23 local business and not-for-profit leaders has gone on record to oppose the city’s decision to close Massachusetts Avenue to traffic and is asking the mayor and the City-County Council to halt the plans until a public meeting on the matter can be held.

In a letter to Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett, City-County Council President Vop Osili and councilor Zach Adamson, the group of merchants, not-for-profit leaders, restaurateurs and building owners said they learned about the street-closing plan on the evening news and not from city officials.

On Tuesday, Adamson, who chairs the council’s Public Works Committee, announced on Facebook the city’s plans to close portions of five major corridors so restaurants and retailers could expand their operations outside and to allow pedestrians to properly social distance.

“While trying to navigate the ever-changing environment spawned by this pandemic, we’re now confronted with a new challenge—the lifeblood of our local economy is being arbitrarily closed with no input or regard for the people it will impact,” the letter says. “Most of us have been blindsided by the news and think this may be the fatal blow to our struggling neighborhood and businesses.”

Among those signing the letter was Amy Minick Peterson, the owner of gift shop Decorate and the wife of former Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson, a Democrat.

Indianapolis restaurants will be allowed to offer in-person dining—but only with outdoor seating—starting Friday under a recent order by Hogsett and Dr. Virginia Caine, director of the Marion County Public Health Department.

On Wednesday, during a press conference, Hogsett and several members of his administration announced the plan to close the corridors to traffic for the coming weeks as part of the city’s reopening plan

In addition to closing a stretch of Mass Ave, which will temporarily eliminate more than 300 parking spots, the city plans to close the south side of Monument Circle and parts of Georgia Street, Illinois Street and Broad Ripple Avenue. The idea is intended to provide more room for outdoor dining.

In the letter, the group equated the Mass Ave plan to a “street fair” and said virus proliferation was a primary concern.

“Funneling the city’s population to Mass Ave for what will be, in essence, a ‘street-fair’ (with alcohol) after 3 months of quarantine is a recipe for disaster,” the letter states. “Some restaurants have expressed concerns about managing CDC guidelines, even more so when demand is high and tables and guests are strewn all over the street. Other restaurants that lack outdoor seating and desire expansion can use adjacent parking spaces, as seen elsewhere along Mass Ave, without closing the entire street indefinitely.”

Hogsett said Wednesday the closure would last through, at latest, July 4 but the city is considering June 1 for a reopening date for indoor dining at 50% capacity.

The letter also expressed concern about access for deliveries, visitor parking, residential and commercial building access, customer access, street cleaning and sanitation, inclement and severe weather, security and public safety.

The group—organized by Bill Pritt, who owns Forty-Five Degrees and YoguLatte, and Kristin Kohn of Silver in the City—said the street closure plan has no vocal support except among people excited to be able to get out of the house and the city leaders facilitating it.

“The street being open is not the problem and closing it is not the solution,” the letter reads.

Business owners away from Mass Ave shared the same sentiment with IBJ.

In a message to IBJ, Craig Huse, owner of St. Elmo Steak House, Harry & Izzy’s and Burger Study, said he was never consulted about the street closures and doesn’t know of any businesses that were. His three downtown restaurants are all on corridors affected by the closure plan. Huse also operates a Harry & Izzy’s on East 82nd Street and 1933 Lounge in Fishers.

Huse said he doesn’t plan to open any of his downtown restaurants until May 29, at the earliest. Harry & Izzy’s on 82nd Street will open its patio this Friday.

“Mayor Hogsett is the newest restaurant expert in Indianapolis, and I look forward to the restaurant business someday returning to the private sector,” he said. “Obviously, we will continue to play the cards being dealt. We can’t wait to safely serve and delight our Indianapolis guests like we have been doing in Fishers since May 11.”

The city said other businesses are in favor of the plan, but officials would be open to more feedback.

“From Day One, our primary goal has been to balance public health with the well-being of local businesses,” Deputy Chief of Staff Taylor Schaffer said Wednesday night in an email. “The creative approach we announced earlier this week is meant to prioritize the critical need for social distancing in our pedestrian-heavy corridors, while also increasing opportunities for businesses to expand their footprint.

“In total, 20 Mass Ave merchants have reached out to the city to express an interest in utilizing outdoor space adjacent to their business and a dozen have completed the application process for outdoor amenities. Still, we remain committed to continuing conversations with stakeholders in all of the impacted areas in order to identify challenges and alleviate issues.”

Schaffer said a meeting was planned with some stakeholders affected by the plan on Thursday.

Patrick Tamm, president and CEO of the Indiana Restaurant and Lodging Association told IBJ the association was not consulted by the mayor’s office on the street closures and its focus remains on getting dining rooms open in Marion County on June 1.

“The next 30 to 60 days is absolutely critical to the many restaurant owners that often define and provide the sense of community and the quality of place in neighborhoods across the city of Indianapolis, Indiana, and the country,” he said in an email.

The planned closures are as follows:

—Massachusetts Avenue, from its intersection with College Avenue to its intersection with New York and Delaware streets.

—Georgia Street, from Pennsylvania to Illinois streets.

—Illinois Street, from Georgia to Market streets.

—Broad Ripple Avenue, from College Avenue to Monon Trail.

—Monument Circle, southeast and southwest quadrants.

Staff writer Susan Orr contributed to this report.

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50 thoughts on “Mass Ave business owners criticize city’s plan to close streets for outdoor dining

  1. This is what happens with total government control by Dems. Be careful how you vote – unless you want government officials making your life decisions for you. They don’t see input, as they know what’s best for you. I am not a stakeholder other than someone who enjoys dining out. The “plan” is the result of not seeking the insight of restaurant owners who are impacted. It’s just as ridiculous for Broad Ripple as it is for Mass. Ave. I can walk to one of these areas, but most patrons cannot or will not.

    1. This is not a “Dems” issue. This is a politician issue. City politicians around central Indiana from both parties appear to be making the same kind of partially informed decisions without input from all of those that are actually impacted.

    2. Definitely a dems issue. I’m not sure Pothole Joe really has a clear idea of what he’s doing. I could be wrong, but wow, lots of businesses are suffering, many seemingly needlessly. On a larger scale, many dem governors have turned into little tyrants, controlling their subjects to the nth degree. Govs. Pritzker and Whitless come to mind.

    3. I am not partisan and would normally disagree with such a sweeping generalization, but you are absolutely correct. Hogsett has no plan and has deferred leadership to Virginia Cain and the DNC. Indy got to where it is with good, non partisan leadership. We are in real trouble if we don’t oust him and bring back some balance with City Council politics.

    4. I don’t see this as a democratic issue. I mean, really? You have a government official who has looked at other progressive cities and has noticed that this is a possible solution. I appreciate that effort and there are those on Mass Avenue and some of the other corridors that were/are in favor. And so, they will have a meeting today and, yes, they should have reached out prior, but they are now and perhaps there will be an opportunity to address concerns or abandon the idea. In either case, they are trying to work through it and have acknowledged others with a differing point-of-view. If there was an error, it was an assumption that this would be welcomed. Of course it isn’t perfect. Of course it isn’t going to meet with everyone’s approval or acceptance, but at least people are trying to do the right thing. Let’s start our own effort to stop labeling during this time and realize that we all want to return to some level of normal and let’s leave our outrage for REAL failures of government. Our state and local officials are doing a wonderful job of balancing a most difficult situation. This IS a dangerous virus for which we have no bona fide treatment and, of course, no vaccine. The landscape of our society will continue to be transformed and what many may perceive as their right will quickly emerge as an indicator between who understands the difference between rights and social responsibility.

    5. John P., Your comment shows the level-headed attitude that it will take to navigate this situation the best we can. Labeling people and pointing out our personal “druthers” as failure on the part of well-intentioned and responsible leaders just causes more distrust and angst. We should admit we are all in this together and NO ONE likes where we are. Let’s pull together to get us all out of it and safely and securely to the other side.

    1. Open entire state…No reason for shut down and house arrest..Politicians and Bureaucrats are becoming Tyrants and refer to furnished stats that are not completely truthful or supported…Many other experts also disagree with current status and shutdown logic..Protect the vulnerable and let others continue life… As we know the world is not sterile now and never will be !

  2. If they close Mass Avenue or some of the other streets what is the plan in the case of a fire or other emergency that would require easy access to the buildings, Fire trucks cannot navigate the alleys behind most of these buildings. Were the Fire Department or Police Department consulted before this plan was hatched?

    1. One of the best questions. The police understand a lot about crowd behavior. Were they even asked? Where are excess weekend people going to “wait” for tables or are they expected to just circulate in the middle, etc. Just think about any activity that is conducted in a specific area (Talbot Art Fair, small fund raising marathons, beer gardens, etc.) and how crowds are created fast and how hard they are to control.

      Are they going to block off the areas with concrete barriers or have no barriers?

    1. You heard incorrectly. Also, these 23 individuals are not acting or speaking through the Mass Ave Merrchants’ Association. They have expressed these opinions separately.

      -Dr. Kurt Phillips, President, Mass Ave Merchants’ Association.

    2. Sorry, I misunderstood. The City says they had over 20 businesses on Mass Ave who wanted this and a dozen completed applications. So the idea for closing the streets in the City came Mass Ave businesses.

    3. There are definitely businesses who are happy about the street closures and there are businesses that are unhappy about the same. These groups are working independently to try to either support the city’s decision or to oppose it verbally and in writing. Luckily we live in a country where you are entitled to your own opinions. Unfortunately, this group of business and land owners did NOT work through the Mass Ave Merchants’ Association so we have been unable to help them except to merely organize a virtual meeting/discussion today to let them air their concerns.

  3. Remember this come election time. It’s time for a mayor that is for the people. There is absolutely no valid reason not to open restaurants for inside dining, Hamilton, Johnson, Hendricks and surrounding counties are open and doing well. All we need in this city is more vacant, boarded up buildings, the appearance of this city is absolutely disgusting, can you imagine visiting here looking to bring business here?

  4. What if it rains? Seriously, it’s a mess.

    Why 0% inside restaurantI?

    Is it safer to have 100% outside than say 60% out and 40% in?

    We need to drive forward based on common cents not fear.

    Be Smart, be safe but don’t tell me 0% inside is safe.

    Where do they go to the bathroom?

    In the streets?

  5. Bizarre. Keep parking but limit inside capacity — maybe that will please everyone. Or, just go inside to breathe on everyone and yak and spread germs — let that be an option for those who want it. Yes, outside is safer. And, yes, other cities have closed streets. Indianapolis, while much improved, is not on the forefront of innovation or acceptance, so it should seek to emulate success elsewhere, modified for local needs of course. I definitely support the businesses along Mass Ave and restaurants throughout the city, but will do so with carry out. Closing the street or parts of the street or some parking spots could allow more space for outdoor dining, weather permitting. But, if the owners don’t want it, so be it. Providing a more pleasant and potentially safe outdoor environment may be a better plan, but from this reaction, as a consumer, i may consider open spaces but will definitely consider a take out for confined locales. respectful commentary is a worthy goal, name calling and non-constructive criticism is useless. ‘Open the city’ is an objective, but doing so in a manner to protect workers and consumers is a paramount concern. If a popular area becomes a hot spot, all business will suffer, exacerbating longer term recovery.

  6. Hogsett and his administration have no business running a city the size of Indianapolis. Like Trump, he has surrounded himself with incompetent personnel (Virginia Cain comes to mind among many others), and he is either to timid or himself incompetent to take charge. These are tough times that would test even the best leader, but it has never been more evident that my beloved city is not in good hands.

    1. The fact that he was reelected by a wide margin has no bearing on whether or not he is a competent leader. Leading the city was easy when the economy was booming and Indy was thriving, but the current situation has exposed the incompetence of Hogsett and his staff. He has exhibited virtually no leadership and the damage he is doing to our city and its economy will be long-lasting. Decades of mostly great leadership have made Indianapolis a model of urban renewal in many respects. I’m afraid that Mr. Hogsett has set the stage for an unfortunate reversal and a new round of flight to the suburbs.

  7. I was downtown yesterday and watched the activity of 100+ city employees + vehicles + equipment + public safety attempting to get the area of Illinois and Georgia Street sectioned off. The city is going to experience major budget issues from this and yet the administration comes up with this temporary hair brain way of “helping” their constituents. The resources put into this effort are not going to yield the benefits. Let the patrons and owners figure it out and get out of the way. Unbelievable!

  8. $10 says most (that would be a majority; not all) of the restaurant owners so impacted voted for Hogsett. After all, he’s got The Big D after his name. You gets what you pays for.

  9. Dear Mayor Joe-
    Please do the right thing and let people open their businesses TODAY.
    Let those who don’t feel safe stay home. Covid can then move thru us and they can then come out.
    Problem solved.
    Just admit, this is not the Black Death we were told it was. The virus is getting weaker by the day, and our economy is getting even worse by the day. The tipping point has past. OPEN NOW.
    We have treatments and hospital beds.

    1. I am not sure where your facts are coming from. First, businesses cannot just “re-open”. Wisconsin opened up the bars and I imagine most saw what took place. That type of situation is a breeding ground for the spread of this deadly virus. Getting weaker by the day? Where did you get that factoid? There is nothing about the virus that is getting weaker. Like any virus, as it progresses, it mutates and becomes more challenging to treat and/or cure. You seem to be “comfortable” with the chance that those that are less at risk can still become carriers. As carriers, they may take the virus and transmit it to someone they come in contact with who is compromised or in a high-risk category. You go on to justify your clamor for OPEN NOW, but suggesting we have hospital beds… let’s not worry until they’re filled up, our medical care front line defenders are placed more at risk but, by golly…..we opened up!! Your suggestion lacks a foundation of current conditions, recommendations of health experts and the general public. One day, perhaps, you will recognize that your personal freedoms come with higher levels of personal responsibility. This isn’t about you. From an economic standpoint, we have a problem that has been brewing for years. Human nature is motivated largely by two emotions: Fear and Greed. Why don’t most Americans have a financial cushion to weather this slowdown? Why does our fragile economy fall apart? The widening gap between the upper class and middle class is spelling disaster for our economy. The rich are motivated by both emotions of fear and greed. They want more. They never seem to have enough. They are greedy. At the same time, they are afraid. They are afraid they will lose their wealth which, in most cases, is more than they truly need. For our middle class that is falling sorely behind in the category of wage growth, they are simply afraid. They fear job loss. They fear illness. They fear not being able to provide for their families. And capitalism, in the interest of milking more money for investors, drives wages down and ships jobs to lower wage countries (like China) and then return those cheap products to the American Middle Class, who buys them because they are cheap. Corporations are the purveyors of the drug I call “low price” and the middle and lower classes are now addicted to “cheap”. This cycle must break and break soon or our capitalistic system will be what is broken. It is not sustainable without a middle class that is paid properly and can afford to buy American goods. I am hopeful that this pandemic has made us realize that our supply chain must be closer to home and that we must build up our middle class so that they can achieve a reasonable and sustainable life under or economic system of capitalism. Otherwise, we find ourselves clamoring for things to open up when good science and “doing the right thing” requires us all to remain patient, as difficult as it is.

  10. I can beleive that people have made this a partisan issue because it started at the top. Here is a good analogy to explain why people are concerned:

    The corona virus is like poop in the swimming pool.
    When a kid poops in the water, which happens a few times every summer, everyone clears the pool. “That’s the initial step to protect people from the poop.”
    Then some poor soul on pool staff has to go fish out the poop. It’s a pretty thankless job.
    Then they have to shock the pool with chlorine to kill off bacteria. And then everyone waits half and hour or so til it’s safe to swim again.
    If the lifeguards tell everyone to clear the pool, but the pool staff declines to actually get rid of the poop, what happens? No one can go back in. The poop is still there. Limbo.
    Whose fault is it that it’s not safe to go back in the water? Who is accountable?
    Do you focus on the people saying “clean up the poop before we can go back in safely!”? Or do you focus on the staff whose job it is to clean up the poop? And what would you think if the staff started saying – look, just get back in. Be a warrior.
    America is a big swimming pool with a poop problem and a President who– rather than clean up the poop– is urging everyone back into the pool. According to him, the *real* problem is those people who think the pool’s not safe yet. They must hate the pool.
    The President’s whole play here is to distract from his failure to fix the mess by focusing the country’s attention on people who don’t want to swim in a pooped-in pool.
    He wants you to believe they’re saying you should never go back in. And if you buy that, he’s off the hook. He doesn’t have to clean up the poop, and he doesn’t get blamed for failing to do so. Win-win for him.
    But NO ONE is saying “never go back in the pool.” They’re saying – please clean out the poop first.
    It’s an analogy even the people who are demanding the “freedom” to ignore everyone else’s rights should understand it is also explains why this looks like a partisan issue to so many people. It is not a partisan issue. It is a basic issue of health and safety.

    Thanks to Sheila Kennedy for sharing Jeremy Konyndyk‘s post.

    1. Best analogy I have seen yet.

      As a business owner, this pandemic is killing, if not killed, my business. My #1 concern is the health of our community. You don’t NEED to eat at a restaurant. Order take-out. you don’t NEED to go to the store, most will deliver. Until you have a family member or friend fall ill or pass away, I’ve had both, you will not truly understand the situation at hand. Stay home to protect others. Its a community effort, not political. No one is looking for the people who decided to hit the restaurants first.

    2. A decent analogy but doesn’t answer the question of when is the pool determined to be “clean”? Does “clean” mean no more positive cases? Does it mean declining cases? For how long? Who determines the pool is “clean”
      I think Trump is doing a poor job but I do not believe he is saying that people who want to stay in their homes due to fear “hate the pool”. Rather we need to balance safety with economic reality or we may find that the pool will be closed forever if we keep it closed longer than it needs to.

    3. This is idiotic. But, I’ll humor your false analogy. First of all, all oceans, lakes, ponds, rivers, and creeks have lots of poo in them. People swim in them. Second, if it was “poo,” then it would be easy to see and easy to take out. That’s not what this is. And, let’s be clear–what the politicians are saying is “everyone out, we need to drain the pool entirely right now in the middle of the swim party, then we need to clean and disinfect all areas of the pool–maybe put in a new liner instead, and everyone has to wear scuba gear if we decide to let you swim again, etc.” Some people don’t buy the need for all that. The “cure” might be worse than the disease. Some people might be scared. Fine. Let them get/stay out of the pool. But, for those willing to swim, let them swim.
      Let’s be clear – of those exposed to this virus, a small percentage will be infected. Of that small percentage that’s infected, a minimal percentage will suffer serious harm. And, that serious harm is reserved mostly for those with already-serious health conditions (such as those who are in nursing homes, already unable to care for themselves). But, for roughly 95% of the population, you can get exposed and either (a) not get infected at all; or (b) get infected and be either asymptomatic or suffer “flu like symptoms.” Meanwhile, when you get infected, your body will build antibodies to kill the virus. That can be a great thing for those who want to kill the virus.
      One alternative to “physical distancing” would be systematically infecting the healthy, so we can build antibodies to kill the virus. There are those who would be willing to play their part in that social experiment. So, let the brave be brave. (You can call them names while you stay inside.)
      I, for one, would rather get the virus now, while we have a mobilized and prepared health care workforce with plenty of available beds. (But, please let me make my own choice of whether to be placed on a ventilator–I might rather be in the “control group” that doesn’t get the treatment with a 75% death rate.)

    4. I’ll take my chance and go for a swim.

      Per the CDC (which is inept):

      2017 leading causes of death:
      Heart disease: 647,457
      Cancer: 599,108
      Accidents (unintentional injuries): 169,936
      Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 160,201
      Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 146,383
      Alzheimer’s disease: 121,404
      Alcohol related death: 88,000
      Diabetes: 83,564
      Drug overdose: 70,237
      Influenza and Pneumonia: 55,672
      Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome and nephrosis: 50,633
      Intentional self-harm (suicide): 47,173

      COVID-19 : 90,000 allegedly (which includes causes above on most instances so double counting?)

      Did flu dramatically drop or heart disease?

      Hospitals are incentivized to add COVID for higher reimbursement regardless of co-morbidity. Follow the money and follow the politicians.

      That’s the scam. And many have fallen for it.

  11. Inconsistencies ill thought-out befuddle. guess Indy will just keep crossing county lines to dine as Mother Nature, with 8 days of rain in immediate forecast alongside “opening” is saying Nope. How wise is that set up?
    Above comment regarding emergency response access with street closure not having been considered – isn’t that the truth! While we sure could use a classic pedestrian stretch like all great cities possess, it’s not done this way.

  12. Good story as always. I would also wonder what residents living on nearby streets think of this plan as the vehicles that might otherwise park on Mass Ave will use their limited parking spaces. And what about traffic on other streets? Driving through the heart of downtown Indianapolis either east or west is a miserable experience because traffic lights aren’t coordinated, lanes are closed for parking or construction, and priority is given to cars in the parking garage so traffic can back up from Delaware to West Street during peak hours. A lot of that traffic heading east uses Mass Ave. to head to 10th Street. Unless the city takes a much bigger picture approach to street closures this will end badly for commuters, residents and businesses alike.

    1. The Chatham Arch Neighborhood Assoc (the 600 and 700 blocks are within our boundaries) Board of Directors voted to oppose the Closure of Mass Ave beyond this emergency order.There were some members-business representatives-that felt it should be opposed entirely, but to a certain extent this is a done deal, so we opted to just let the city know we think this is a terrible idea in the long run.

      Yes this is going to wreak havoc in our neighborhood from a parking and traffic point of view. It is already pretty bad on any Thursday-Saturday prior to the shutdown- I can’t personally imagine what this is going to be like- it’s already bad. Yes this will disrupt our lives. Yes this could result in the actual loss of some of our retail Mass Ave Businesses who have shifted to carry out and now people won’t be able to get to them.

      No none of us were consulted. No-one out side of insiders who now refuse to admit it were consulted-we learned about it the same way you have-on the news. I am not looking forward to the next 5 weeks. if I didn’t feel the need to protect my property, I would be moving somewhere else for the next month.

      Shawn Miller
      Chatham Arch Neighborhood Assoc

  13. I don’t live in Marion County. Before COVID-19, we frequently dined downtown and Mass Ave. I know that dining establishments throughout the area and state have taken it on the chin with not being open and allowed to offer full services. While Hogsett and his city dept heads may have thought this was a brilliant idea, were any of the merchants along the impacted areas consulted, not just restaurants? Was Downtown Indy Inc consulted for input? The general public? I for one as much as I would love to have dinner at Salt, Mesh, Harry & izzy’s, St Elmos, etc, I don’t want to eat in the street. Will the public be allowed to go inside these establishments to use the restrooms? How will dining outdoors with the threat of inclement weather play with places trying to manage staffing, food inventory? Whether this was a Dems push for power grab or just plain stupid not thought out, it will end up costing everyone. The time and costs the City used in putting up the barriers could have been spent elsewhere (how about potholes) and the brain power should have stayed at the planning table consulting all those impacted.

    1. That would make too much sense to include other parties in this decision. Dems need to go!

  14. I just wish the Mayor’s office & City County Council would take the murder rate and police support as seriously as they are taking closing the streets down.

  15. Elections have consequences. Indianapolis was built with bipartisan leaders who understood the value of communication, collaboration and ingenuity. This current mayor, along with his inept “children staff” and the city council, are systematically dismantling everything that has been built in Indy over many years under the guise of “we know what’s best for you.” The Red Line is a prime example. None of them have owned a business or ran a business and none of them are suffering throughout this debacle. Their paychecks are still being deposited while they dictate who can and can’t work. When you see the escalation of crime and murders, and now the many verifiable threats against our IMPD officers, and our lazy mayor remains silent, there’s a serious problem. He acts as though he has never had an independent thought. A true follower. Never a leader. As long as the lemmings of this city continue to vote as they have for the mayor and city council, and as long as our inept state Republican Committee continues to write off Marion County, our city will continue to decline, and along with it our tourism, economy, safety, our downtown, etc. Hey Holcomb, you are just as culpable for what is happening as you couldn’t care less about the last mayoral election. Disgraceful.

  16. I understand each side and like the flexibility of utilizing parking stalls in front of your business to put some seating if you wish but it should be the business owner’s decision, not Government’s. Let me first say that I’m not in favor of closing a business corridor but Mass Ave. and Broad Ripple Ave. have a pedestrian and vehicular problem. The City should be seeking P3 partners to build a few parking garages at several corners of these corridors. Then they need to raise the street to the pedestrian level so that it can be shut down for big events (July 4th, St. Patty’s, Arts festivals, Race Weekend, etc) without creating ADA hazards. On-street parking should not be removed in its entirety. You need to provide for temporary parallel parking for deliveries and take-out to accommodate those essential needs for your business community. Once that is done you can install planters, landscaping and some other improvements to make it feel more pedestrian friendly. A park for families might also be an inviting and welcome spot for some of the businesses and their patrons. You could look into covering the area like Fourth Street in Louisville. The focus should be how do we improve the corridor and the ability for businesses to do their business even in pandemics so plan for the future. Knee-jerk reactions are typically costly with no long term ROI. This down time could be spent making these areas better and more flexible for when things do open back up.

    1. That would take years of planning and years of construction during which business would be interrupted big time. Just putting in the Cultural Trail was a major nightmare. I agree that Mass Ave isn’t perfect, I personally hate the opposed parking-it should be angled-but some time back when we tried to do that all hell broke loose because we would lose like 5 spaces per block, and all that’s required there is restriping some lines! Heck when they repaved the road before the Superbowl, the construction manager came to me and said “you want these at an angle right?” and I said well its not my call you better check with someone else-stupid me!

      I hear that everyone wants a walkable district and we all do, but I don’t think anyone wants to be walking past empty storefronts. Its also a big burden on the businesses to tear everything up and redo it AGAIN. I have been waiting for 35 years for the Avenue to be “done”, We are within striking distance-I can see the light at the end of the tunnel! The bottle works will open soon- lets just enjoy that an let the 800 block recover form that construction before we embark on anything else-please!

  17. The businesses being affected by this should have been involved in the meetings. Why would you juridic this to people that know what they need to bring business back downtown? Typical of a group not thinking this through and the devastating effects on businesses. You all need to take a much better look at who you are voting for the city council. Where are people supposed to park? How much trouble are you going to have with people being mugged or robbed with people not really going down for dinner? Leave it to a Democratic Mayor rewriting the rules when he doesn’t have any business skills.

  18. Not to mention access for fire and police and the delivery vehicles delivering the supplies these restaurants will need. As mentioned earlier, what happens when it rains/storms? What about the folks who have access challenges and handicaps? If anyone still believes that the lockdown is still about safety, then I have an ocean front condo for sale in Beech Grove–cheap! The current statistics no longer support what is going on. This purely about stifling the economy even further instigated by morons who have never had to fund a payroll or make difficult business decisions. The donut counties are loving the inept decisions by this mayor who has smelly tennis shoes (his campaign commercial because he never had a true platform of ideas for Indy). The donut counties are benefitting. It’s all rather disgusting.

  19. Let’s get practical here. As a Broad Ripple resident, I was to know where the traffic will go if Broad Ripple Avenue is shut down thru the village. The side streets are rather narrow in the immediate area. Anyone can see that there are many vehicles that travel that street.