Yesterday I drove to Beech Grove for a meeting with clients. I never had seen the Amtrak facilities. As I passed the place, I was startled to see the engine from a bullet train and several cars from long-distance, double-decker trains. The buildings are huge.
My grandfather was a fireman on the Monon Railroad and was killed in a crossing accident in Huntington in 1939. I rode trains a lot when I lived in Chicago and, later, Berwyn. The transit was reliable and relieved me of the need to own a car. We have traveled to New Orleans and Seattle by rail.
When I moved to Indianapolis, I was surprised at how primitive the bus system was. Even when I lived in Lafayette, a bus came by every 30 minutes. Here, passengers must wait an hour for a bus. If one wishes to travel cross-town, a trip downtown is first necessary.
We need to improve the system of mass transportation for Indianapolis. What we have, at present, is inappropriate for a city the size of Indy. However, the present proposal for light rail seems to get ahead of things.
Although I enjoyed the mass transit experience in Chicago, Indianapolis is different. My opinion is the culture of this city has not developed so as to use mass transit. If we drop a few billion dollars on light rail, and people do not use it, we have gained little. We first should improve our bus system, get people to ride the bus, and then look to expansion to rail, if people want it.
The Show will stream "live" from Harry C’s at 5055 South Dearborn on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. We have confirmed as a guest panelist Sheila Suess Kennedy. You can listen to Civil Discourse Now on Indiana Talks, part of Live365. Or you can tune in on this website. Better yet, you can go to Harry C’s, order some good food, and see The Show yourself.