Strong Indy Fireside Chat: Building Community Through Land Use Policy

Join us for a Fireside Chat with the Indianapolis MPO’s Sean Northup and Indianapolis Department for Metropolitan Development’s Jessica Thorpe on February 19th to talk about the Marion County Land Use Plan, land uses’ importance for community building, and how it will impact neighborhood redevelopment in the future.

This will be an opportunity to learn about the land use policy and zoning process as well as learn the importance of population and job density and integrating land use policy with transportation practices.

Before our speakers come up, we will hold a Strong Indy meetup to discuss future items of business, including the future Board of Directors.

When: February 19th – 6:30 PM

Where: Big Car’s Tube Factory Artspace – 1125 Cruft Street, Indianapolis, IN

Tickets

 

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Strong Indy Podcast Episode 6 – Interview with Laura Giffel

Join us as we talk to Laura Giffel, a candidate for Indianapolis City-County Council District 16! In this episode, we discuss neighborhood identity, inclusive redevelopment, zoning, street safety, and economic development initiatives in the City of Indianapolis.

Episode link: https://soundcloud.com/user-59160147/episode-6-laura-giffel-candidate-for-district-16

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Strong Indy Roundup – Week of 1/7/2019

Traffic Violence is starting off early, with a motorist crashing into a hostel in Broad Ripple.

IndyGo is pursuing a new fare collection system that proposes reloadable cards, a mobile app, ticket vending machines, and fare-capping.

More protected bike lanes are planned for downtown, but no specifics are available yet.

Red Line construction is cranking along and you will soon see station structures popping up on Meridian Street. College Avenue construction will begin soon. Go to a public meeting to get your questions answered.

The proposed development for Broad Ripple next to a Red Line station is dead. But given its design, is that such a bad thing?

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Strong Indy Board of Directors Nominations!

Good day, Strong Indianapolitans!

Strong Indy is taking a big leap in how our future is managed. To promote a more diverse, insightful, and organized future, Strong Indy will be pursuing a Board of Directors. Each position will be a two (2) year appointment on a staggered basis, so we don’t have a full turnover every two years. In the inaugural board, some individuals may have to serve for one or three years to meet this requirement.

Strong Indy is looking for a total of five individuals to serve on the Strong Indy Board of Directors. These individuals will be responsible for coordinating with CNU-Midwest for finances, events, and communications. It is not required that one of the board members of Strong Indy sit on the board of CNU-Midwest, but one individual must be the direct liaison to the CNU-Midwest board.

Board members must contribute a currently undetermined dollar amount to Strong Indy to support events, meetings, and speakers. Board members are encouraged to actively participate in their communities and be constantly prepared to engage with issues facing Indianapolis. Board members should be individuals who are knowledgeable of what Strong Towns and the Congress for New Urbanism stand for. Additionally, Strong Indy Board Members must be members of Congress for New Urbanism. This is not a prerequisite, but must be fulfilled if you are selected to serve on the Board.

If you would like to serve on Strong Indy’s Board of Directors, please fill out the form to be considered.

If we receive more than five submissions, a vote will be held during the February 2019 Strong Indy meetup.

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REMINDER: Call to Action

Strong Indy needs your help! The City-County Council’s Public Works Committee elected to remove the entire portion of the proposed downtown-area traffic ordinance that impacted right-on-red. Prohibiting right-on-red is a critical safety component for everyone, not just pedestrians and bicyclists.

We need everyone to SHOW UP to the City-County Council Meeting on January 7th and MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD!

Get the no-right-on-red proposal back in the ordinance! Come to the meeting and SPEAK UP!

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CNU-Midwest Mini-Summit

Hello, everyone!

The Congress for New Urbanism-Midwest, which Strong Indy is a subchapter of, is hosting a mini-summit on January 12-13th in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

If you’re interested in attending, please let CNU leadership know by contacting them in the link.

This will be a fun event, so come join in and learn!

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CALL TO ACTION: NO RIGHT ON RED

Strong Indy needs your help! The City-County Council’s Public Works Committee elected to remove the entire portion of the proposed downtown-area traffic ordinance that impacted right-on-red. Prohibiting right-on-red is a critical safety component for everyone, not just pedestrians and bicyclists.

We need everyone to SHOW UP to the City-County Council Meeting on January 7th and MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD!

Get the no-right-on-red proposal back in the ordinance! Come to the meeting and SPEAK UP!

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Strong Indy Weekly Roundup – 12/3/2018

  1. A new infill project appears to be cleared for the go ahead at the corner of Vermont & Pennsylvania, formerly the Essex Hotel.
  2. The City-County Council and ParkIndy are exploring adjustments to Downtown Indy’s on-street parking strategy (IndyStar).
  3. Indianapolis has seen a terrifying increase in hit-and-run deaths as motorists kill pedestrians/bicyclists and leave them to die (Fox59).
  4. Groups like Bike Indianapolis are looking to change policy to make Indy’s streets safer for vulnerable users (WISH-TV).
  5. There’s still time to donate to CNU-Midwest and help support organizations like us!
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Strong Indy Weekly Update

Apologies for the delay! Here’s this week’s Strong Indy update:

  1. Strong Indy Pub Night is this Thursday! Join us for informal discussion on urbanism, transportation, and land use at the Mayfair Taproom – 6:30 PM. The Taproom is family-friendly!
  2. Bike Indianapolis is hosting the annual Tweed Ride this Saturday! Get your tickets here.
  3. Six pedestrians were killed in Indianapolis in just three weeks as Indy’s street safety crisis continues.
  4. IndyGo, Marian University, and Indy Reads are hosting “Stories of Indianapolis Transit” to tell the story of how transit connects communities, literally and figuratively. Sign ups for the event is now open.
  5. Urban Design in the Indianapolis Business Journal: There’s too much parking! 
  6. Metropolitan Indianapolis Board of Realtors: Metro Indy isn’t building enough townhomes, duplexes, and apartments to meet demand. This is a signal that legalization of transit-oriented development and higher-densities are needed.
  7. Comments are now closed, but you can still review the plans for the Marion County Land Use Plan, Indy Moves, and Pedal Indy (the bike plan update).
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The Two-Wheeled Revolution is Here and Street Design Has Never Been More Critical

“SCOOTERS.”

The very utterance of the phrase will not garnish a shrug. Someone will give you a hard opinion on whether or not they love them or hate them. They’re instantly accessible, have low-income user programs, are all-electric, and can be picked up or dropped off anywhere. There have been challenges, to say that least. Scooters are often ridden on sidewalks, parked on curb ramps, or left in other inconvenient places. Some who have a personal vendetta with the scooters have pushed them over into the sidewalk, thrown them into the river, or dropped them into the canal.

Some of these problems have begun to wane as the scooters become less of a novelty and gain regular users (there is still an issue when visitors from the suburbs come into the city and use them on weekend nights). Anecdotally, the parking is becoming less of a problem as people encounter inconsiderately parked ones.

Despite the angst, the scooters are likely here to stay, and the City should work to ensure that this is the case. It’s in the best interest of the City, and the public, to reduce the usage of polluting, heavy, and dangerous motor vehicles (at the time of writing this, five pedestrians in Indianapolis had been hit and killed by drivers) and encourage the use of a mode of transportation that covers trips that are too short for driving, but too far for walking, and can serve as a great first/last mile connector to other modes of transportaiton.

Unfortunately, our current designs and policies don’t reflect this need. Signage regarding scooters is non-existent, save for a few recently positioned signs along the White River Greenway behind the Zoo, which is managed by the State. Ordinances regarding the scooters aren’t posted anywhere except for a brief excerpt on the app when the user first books and ride and in small print by the feet (but even that does not display the nuances regarding the greenways and the Cultural Trail).

The current set of policies is deeply confusing for users, especially those who are new. Scooters are treated as other two-wheeled vehicles (bicycles), except when they aren’t. Our safest infrastructure for bicycles in the city center and throughout the city, our greenways and Cultural Trail, are off-limits to scooters (but there is no signage for this). Quite frankly, scooter riders simply do not feel safe on our current city streets. Our current on-street bikeways system has made enormous strides since 2008, when we have virtually no bike infrastructure at all, but still needs much work. Thankfully, the City has worked incredibly hard to put together the IndyMoves plan, which is open for its final round of public comment until November 1.

A frequent concern regarding the scooters is safety and the spike in hospital visits due to their presence. The dark reality is that this is not a new problem. Street safety has been a major issue in Indianapolis for some time. However, with the sudden proliferation of two-wheeled vehicles being available city-wide, this safety problem is thrown into the Limelight (pardon the pun). Vehicle miles traveled on two-wheeled vehicles is suddenly spiking, more people are now considered vulnerable street users than ever, and our existing right-of-way allocations are almost exclusively dedicated to the movement and storage of a single mode of transportation.

If we, as a city and a county, want to achieve the Thrive Indy goal of becoming carbon neuatral by 2050, then we need to have policies and street design standards that support and prioritize using low-cost, small-scale, and low- to no-energy transportation modes. This means aggressively refining and implementing the IndyMoves plan, the Pedal Indy plan, and completely rethinking what streets are for in Indianapolis.

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