The interstate highway system is now so old that massive reconstructions of the original pavement have been under way for years.
But in Indianapolis, a ghost of the original plan remains: The extension of Interstate 69 all the way downtown from I-465 on the northeast side.
Is it time to reconsider the project? A better road would alleviate lots of congestion and cut the time needed to drive from Fishers to downtown by about half.
Even though it was never completed, much of the groundwork is laid. Four-lane Binford Boulevard angles toward downtown from I-465 but stops at Fall Creek Parkway. Now, look at Google Maps carefully and you’ll notice a tiny spur extending toward Fall Creek from the north interchange of I-70 and I-65 downtown.
Could the northern interchange and Binford be linked at a reasonable price? A route from the northern interchange to Binford could easily pass through a series of brownfields and neighborhoods that probably never will attract urban pioneers like the Old Northside did.
The drawbacks would be significant. An interstate might torpedo plans for mass transit. Cars and trucks would howl past Martindale Brightwood and Fall Creek Place. Sprawl might get another shot in the arm.
What are your thoughts?