One’s cynicism increases with age, and as one lives each day in a City whose Mayor is Greg Ballard.
When the town hall-type meetings were held last year to discuss the proposed Whole Foods development on College Avenue, the “Envision” plan for Broad Ripple was discussed. The people who “Envision” change in Broad Ripple wanted to convert more areas to be pedestrian-friendly. There was talk of conversion of parts of Broad Ripple Avenue to a pedestrians-only mall. Pedestrians would need places to park their vehicles. One solution was to build parking garages.
This talk occurred about the same time as a major contributor to the campaign of Mayor Greg Ballard was given land and a parking garage on College Avenue. Bike lanes were placed on Broad Ripple Avenue.
I think bicycles can be cool. When people ride bicycles, we save energy. There is less pollution. People tend to get into better shape. Unfortunately, the planning for the bike lanes on Broad Ripple Avenue simply placed confusing lines on the existing pavement, instead of detaching the lanes from the street, as was done further east, across Keystone Avenue. Four already-busy lanes of traffic were reduced to two incredibly congested lanes by the bike lanes/lines.
Travel on Broad Ripple Avenue on Saturday afternoons is difficult. People are bumper-to-bumper. This is “congestion”—one of the goals mentioned by the folks who “Envision Broad Ripple.”
Going from east to west or west to east in Broad Ripple can be a challenge. The ways the White River and the canal snake around present only three streets for travel east/west. Broad Ripple Avenue for a long time has been a primary thoroughfare. Kessler Avenue is well-paved, but narrows from four lanes to two for the Monon Trail bridge. Sixty-first Street is a final choice, but it always was a quiet, neighborhood street with a lot of stop signs, and with pedestrians in the street, since there are few sidewalks.
The bike lanes were installed on Broad Ripple Avenue, and traffic became worse. People began to cut across 61st Street—Kessler’s traffic is almost as bad as the traffic on Broad Ripple Avenue. That increased traffic, traffic from the construction of apartment buildings where McNamara Flowers once stood, the bad winter and this City’s inept administration combined and now the surfaces on 61st Street resemble a minefield after several mines have been detonated.
City movers and shakers were miffed when their plans for the Whole Foods project on North College seemed thwarted. So what did they do? They sued the people who had the audacity to oppose the development.
Then in the early morning hours of July 5, an idiot let loose with a gun and seven people were wounded on the sidewalks outside some of the bars. The City has responded by shutting down Broad Ripple Avenue to a pedestrians-only area late on Friday and Saturday nights. Maybe the City can install a zip-line so people can exit Broad Ripple late at night. Or maybe somebody would use those people for shooting skeet.
The July 5 shootings were not drive-by. City officials have said the presence of loiterers gave rise to congestion, tempers flared, and somebody pulled a gat. There is little indication conversion of Broad Ripple Avenue to a pedestrians-only mall would be a solution. Of course, if only pedestrians are allowed on Broad Ripple Avenue, people who want to hit the bars will have to park someplace. Wow—maybe the little-used parking garage the City built for the Mayor’s buddy now will have a use! Maybe we need even more freebies for pay-to-play folks in Indy!
There seems to be a camel, with the face of the Mayor or his campaign financiers, peeking under a flap of the tent.
There should be other responses to the violence in Broad Ripple—violence that includes muggings and rapes that have not garnered the attention of the City’s press. There should be more police presence in the Village. The City could deploy all those extra officers Greg Ballard-candidate promised would be hired once Greg Ballard became Mayor. That money long since left the City. NFL franchises, Super Bowl(r) hosting, and NBA franchies are expensive things for a City to keep. And those make Money$$$ for a City, especially when the people with the City handle the books and control the flow of information.
Detroit is a good example of the types of priorities the Mallard—er, Ballard administration embraces. Detroit has benefitted greatly from its NFL franchises, through playing host to a Super Bowl®, and from its NBA team. Hell, the Pistons even won the NBA a couple of times. A stroll on the water front of the Detroit River on an early evening can be a wonderful experience—if one strolls the water front in Windsor on the Canadian side.
On today’s Show, City-County Councilor Christine Scales will be our guest, to discuss City priorities and budgets. She has been a “naughty” Councilor—by standing up for what she believes is right, and refusing to toe the line of the Mayor. You can catch us on “7bitsofinfo” on Live365. Also, Jeff Cox will be with us.
And hence, City Beat Blogger, my reference to the camel's nose. These are first steps toward a pedestrian mall.
worth noting that a "pedestrian mall" generally means closing a street to all vehicular traffic and opening the street to pedestrian traffic, neither of which has been done here. It's also worth noting that you can park on BR Ave., but you need to do it before midnight - after that you can exit, but not return.
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