Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Letter: Transit is good for the economy and community development

Posted By on Tue, Oct 4, 2016 at 11:07 AM

The Julia M. Carson Transit Center, which opened in late June 2016, is the new primary bus hub for IndyGo. - PHOTO BY AMBER STEARNS
  • Photo by Amber Stearns
  • The Julia M. Carson Transit Center, which opened in late June 2016, is the new primary bus hub for IndyGo.

Editor's note: NUVO accepts letters to the editor at editors@nuvo.net. 

This year, we have a unique opportunity to support an effort that will further advance Indianapolis’ competitiveness through modern transit. IndyGo has released a five-year Marion County Transit Plan that brings all-day, frequent bus service to three times the population and to twice as many jobs as today’s system, cutting travel time and adding three new rapid transit routes.

The plan will transform our transit system and better serve our community. Those who rely on transit the most will see major gains in access – three times more residents in poverty will be within walking distance of frequent bus service, along with 10,000 more households that don’t own a car. Nearly 100,000 more minority residents will live within walking distance of high-frequency routes.

RELATED: Vote yes on Question 2, from IndyHub 

For communities across Indy, transit will become a realistic option for reaching employment and education. And extended hours will help riders get to work in industries like hospitality, healthcare and distribution where evening and weekend shifts are common. Our local economy will benefit and new opportunities will be created for growth.

Mass transit also helps revitalize struggling areas. The National Association of Realtors has stated that access to transit increases property values by as much as 35 percent. People are attracted to convenient, walkable neighborhoods, and businesses are drawn to areas with rapid transit service. Where abandoned homes, vacant storefronts and idle industrial sites now sit, transit can bring new development.

Transit plans are already adding momentum to residential and commercial investment in areas like Mapleton-Fall Creek and Englewood. The proposed Central@29 project will bring affordable and senior housing and retail development (built with local construction jobs) within walking distance of two planned rapid transit lines (Red and Purple) and frequent routes. This week Englewood Village proudly announced that in partnership with Indianapolis Public Schools and the City of Indianapolis, Purdue Polytechnic High School will be located at the Mallory Building along the Blue Line on East Washington Street. These and many other projects throughout our city will only be possible through a more adequate investment in our transit system.

Mass transit isn’t the only answer, but it is a major part of the solution to many of the problems we face. We must improve transit now, for a more competitive economy, employment, equitable development opportunities, and improved quality of life for all of our residents.

We represent communities that are already planning to invest in development near increased transit service all over the city, and we support the broader Marion County Transit Plan as a way to connect and empower our communities.

But empowerment takes action: Learn more and see upcoming public meetings, share your support with your City-County Councillor, and vote yes on Question 2 on November 8th.


Leigh Riley Evans, Chief Executive Officer – Mapleton Fall Creek Development Corporation
Margaret Banning, Executive Director, Irvington Development Organization
Chris Barnett, Executive Director – Lawrence Community Development Corporation
Joe Bowling, Director, East Washington Street Partnership – Englewood Community Development Corporation
John Franklin Hay, Executive Director - Near East Area Renewal
Michael Osborne, President – Near North Development Corporation
Eric Strickland, Executive Director – Riley Area Development Corporation
Josephine Rogers Smith, Executive Director- Martindale Brightwood Community Development Corporation
Paul Smith, President – Southeast Neighborhood Development, Inc.
James Taylor, Chief Executive Officer, John H. Boner Neighborhood Center
Phil Votaw, Executive Director – Westside Community Development Corporation

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