Civil Discourse Now

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Residential parking permits (pay to park on your own street) in Broad Ripple under consideration.

   A few weeks ago I spotted "The Broad Ripple Gazette" at Kroger's in Broad Ripple. A photo of the Rainbow Bridge, then under repairs, was on the front page. I grabbed a copy to see the projected date of completion. I understand construction projects take time to complete, but I was anxious to know as this project caused me to detour on my ways to and from work. Unfortunately, there was no such information. There was a statement that announcements of current events was on the back page, so I flipped to that page. The title of an item caught my attention.

   Broad Ripple Village Association ("BRVA") is a neighborhood association. To belong, one need not be a resident of Broad Ripple---defined as the river to the north, 54th Street to the south, Meridian to the west, and Keystone Avenue to the east. One need only have an "interest" in Broad Ripple. This would not bother me, but for: (1) the sway position BRVA has in determination of matters that affect Broad Ripple and (2) Membership requires payment of a fee. My concerns were given form in May 23's meeting at the Broad Ripple Methodist Church where the development of the project on North College was discussed. Points of a plan that had something to do with "Envision Broad Ripple"---a project the work upon which began some four years ago---were shown onj a power-point display. 

   There were points in the "Vision" with which I could agree. There also were points with which I was alarmed. For example, 1,700 new residents for Broad Ripple are to be sought to increase "density," a goal of the "Vision." Broad Ripple is crowded enough. That is clear from one's attempt to drive from College to Keystone on a Saturday afternoon. One speaker announced the goal of "encouraging" people to walk or bike instead of riding in a motor vehicle. Perhaps most silly was one speaker's announcement that an "iconic image" for Broad Ripple is to be sought to display on a sort of mall area on College. Here is a news flash: we have iconic images. One could go for the Fire Station, ducks on the canal, the Alley Cat, Conner's Pub, the post office. )Perhaps one could go for a Colts player taking a dip in the canal or a Butler student vomiting on a sidewalk.) I would suggest a review of the X-mas decorations the old trophy shop used to put out each year would provide a list. There is no need to commission a company to come up with an iconic image.

   The title of the item with which I was concerned had to do with volunteers BRVA sought to participate in a committee to determine the best ways in which to implement a residential parking permit system. Residential parking permits are used in other communities in the United States. Their goal is to limit "overspill" parking on streets near commercial districts, usually overnight, so that locals can park their cars in front of or near their homes.

    I thought the City had built the parking garage on the old Marathon gas station site to address this problem. Of course, the plan for that parking garage was ill-thought. People who park there have to cross, then re-cross, College Avenue. If someone parks there at 4 p.m. to have a couple of beers with one's friends, then as frenzied as the trip across College may be, the trip back will be more fraught with peril. The pedestrian will have had a couple of beers. Even those drivers on the usually-busy College Avenue who have not imbibed at a local establishment will be in bad moodskies because of the ways in which traffic has been bottle-necked there and other places around Broad Ripple. So why would someone want to pay to park in such an inconveniently located parking garage?

    There is the idea of residential parking permits, the meeting for the committee of which is this Thursday. People who are willing to reach a "consensus" were invited to volunteer. The purpose was not to determine "if" we need a permit system, but how best ti implement such a system.

   Residential parking permits are used across the United States. I think the first questions that need to be answered are (1) what streets are to be affected (presumably those closest to the businesses on Broad Ripple Avenue)? (2) What would the permits (and guest permits) cost? and (3) Shouldn't we survey the people who live on those streets and ask them if they want to pay for parking permits?

   We want to encourage people to come to Broad Ripple and frequent our merchants. We also are taxpayers who already have paid for the ability to park on our own streets. The people who come to Broad Ripple have paid taxes, too. If the reader thinks there is an equal protection argument to be made against residential parking permits, that issue already was determined by the United States Supreme Court in 1977. The Court said Arlington Heights, Virginia, had a rational basis for its residential parking permits system.

   Of course the key piece of the new "Vision" is the construction of the monstrosity on College Avenue. In the meantime, side issues, such as the residential parking permit system, will arise. lndianapolis Municipal Code provides for creation of such permit areas. I thought the overspill would be met by the parking garage. 

   Let the BRVA know how you feel---for or against. Residents presumably would pay a fee. If the money ends up with the City, that bothers me as it means we will put more money into the pockets of the Mayor's buddies. If the amount is more than anything simply for "administrative costs," I want to know of what those costs consist and their total. If they are not very high, then let's have a cake walk or a bake sale to pay for them. Such a funding mechanism would keep money out of the hands of the Ballard Gang and might bring the neighborhood closer. Then again, if the resident of thoe streets affected don't want permits, I believe the issue should be dead in the water.

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