Like many of you, Tuesday’s election results brought me a great deal of distress over the past few days.
In the midst of all this, however, there is one thing that passed that I’m absolutely ecstatic about.
This election cycle, Marion County citizens were given a chance to vote on a proposed economic development income tax that would improve Indianapolis’ mass transit system by leaps and bounds. And by saying yes to the question, IndyGo’s current bus system will undergo an overhaul unlike any its ever seen before. With the future funds raised from this tax, riders can expect an increase in service frequency and extended operations hours as well as three new rapid transit lines.
If that doesn’t make your inner Slick Leonard “Boom Baby!” voice ring out, I don’t know what will, IndyGo riders.
For me, this long-awaited move to fund the betterment of mass transit in our city is especially exciting, being that I rely on IndyGo so heavily to get around town. At the age of 5, I was diagnosed with a brain tumor, which damaged my optic nerve. Thanks to the magnificent doctors at Riley Children’s Hospital — huge high-five if you’re reading this Dr. Boaz — I did not lose all of my vision. But I have been visually impaired since that age, meaning I cannot drive or ride a bike.
With both of these transportation options out of the question, I have mostly relied on mass transportation, rides from gracious friends and family, and my own two feet to get me from one place to the other throughout the course of my life. I've lived in Fountain Square for the three years now, so this hasn’t been so bad, since Downtown Indianapolis and its surrounding areas are easily walkable. But sometimes, I have certainly become aggravated with the amount of time I waste on simply transportation alone. And, I’m sure I’m not alone in that.
For those who don’t use public transportation often, I can layout an example that is very relevant to this here article.
Say I need to travel up to NUVO’s office near 38th and Meridian to meet with the magazine’s all-star editor, Katherine Coplen. (Editor's note: Katherine promises she did not make Seth write that.) In order to do that, I would first walk from my house to a bus stop on Prospect Street, taking the No. 14 bus from Fountain Square to the Downtown Transit Center.
From there, I would then wait to catch a bus that heads north on Meridian, eventually getting off and walking the remaining half of a block to NUVO’s office. Total transportation time via IndyGo? About one hour.
Total time it’d take to just drive? About 15 minutes.
I hope you can see how big of a deal it is that IndyGo will finally be able to make much-needed improvements and expansions on its current system using the funds from this tax. Like me, so many people in this city simply rely on IndyGo to get from Point A to Point B. With these changes, my hope is that our transit system will rival that of other comparable cities. I hope it will better serve those who need it, like myself, as well as those who would like to use it more often — like you, perhaps. By doing this, I think we will reap several positive effects, ranging from better quality of life to a decrease in environmental pollution.
Take a minute and smile. Because we got this one right, I’m telling you.