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One of America’s Most Auto-Centric Cities Ditches the Car (Indianapolis)

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One of America’s Most Auto-Centric Cities Ditches the Car (Indianapolis)

Old 11-03-15, 10:24 AM
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One of America’s Most Auto-Centric Cities Ditches the Car (Indianapolis)

An American city, Indianapolis, has joined many European cities in making moves toward having a carfree city center in the near future. Indianapolis is, of course, the home of the oldest and biggest annual car race in America, and was an early center of automobile manufacturing.
"It all began in 2010, when the city sold its water and sewer utility to a public trust, reaping a $500 million windfall. How did the city decide to spend it? Not, for a start, on freeway expansion and road repairs, as would have been the case a few years before, Manning said. Instead, Indianapolis set about asking its citizens what they wanted. (Really—city officials held more than 50 public meetings.) What they wanted was to walk.

The result: a five-year transformation that the Project for Public Spaces, a New York City nonprofit, dubbed one of the 'biggest and boldest' moves an American city has made to reclaim its pedestrian soul."
So, Indianopolis has installed a wide system of bike and walking facilities, a popular bike share program, and now a car sharing service that has only electric cars.
"All told, you’ve got a Midwestern city where it’s possible not only to get around downtown without a car but also to commute to multiple suburbs and take day trips. While visitors may seem like the most obvious beneficiaries—and tourism is way up—residents are heeding the call, with a significant influx of millennials and empty nesters to the urban core.

'There’s this movement backward out of the suburbs and back into the city center,' said Manning. 'People are discovering this whole new lifestyle where they don’t have to own a car and realizing that’s what they want. The entire face of the city has changed.'”
https://www.takepart.com/article/2015...nr-yesmagazine
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Old 11-03-15, 11:00 AM
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maybe Burlington next?
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Old 11-03-15, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by cooker View Post
maybe Burlington next?
Or Detroit? That would be quite a coup!
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Old 11-03-15, 01:56 PM
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In Los Angeles there are more people riding skateboards than bicycles. At USC there seemed to be more bicycles but those must be parked outside. Skateboarders take their boards inside with them. So on the outside of buildings it seems like bicycles rule. Many women ride skateboards on campus but not as many as men.

A few nights ago I was driving from one part of town where I work to another area where I like to park. A guy on an electric skateboard was going along the route on the sidewalk just as fast as I was. My van obviously had a higher speed but with all of the stopping and waiting the trip was slow on that street. When I got to a different street that had less traffic the van was faster.

That job has ended abruptly because the company just laid off all of the workers. The next place I hope to work will be close enough so that I can use my Xootr to get there. It would be amazing if large parts of Los Angeles could become car free. There could be islands of no cars allowed that would still let car users get to other parts of the city.

The mass transit here is ubiquitous. The entire fleet of buses uses natural gas for fuel. Thus there are no black sooty clouds or stench from diesel motors. Those buses could take people from one car free section to another.
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Old 11-03-15, 02:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Smallwheels View Post
It would be amazing if large parts of Los Angeles could become car free. There could be islands of no cars allowed that would still let car users get to other parts of the city.

The mass transit here is ubiquitous. The entire fleet of buses uses natural gas for fuel. Thus there are no black sooty clouds or stench from diesel motors. Those buses could take people from one car free section to another.
LA certainly has a reputation as being a very car-dependent city, so I'm glad not everybody experiences it that way.
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Old 11-03-15, 04:48 PM
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Ever been through there? That is not going to happen.
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Old 11-03-15, 08:21 PM
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Originally Posted by jfowler85 View Post
Ever been through there? That is not going to happen.
LA? Never been there. However, if it is like other North American cities, it's conceivable it may see at least some degree of intensification of its urban centres, and revitalization of public transit, with more people living near work and/or engaging in non-car commutes. Maybe not as much as some places.
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Old 11-03-15, 08:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Smallwheels View Post
The mass transit here is ubiquitous. The entire fleet of buses uses natural gas for fuel. Thus there are no black sooty clouds or stench from diesel motors. Those buses could take people from one car free section to another.
I can remember one time decades ago, coming up to the top of the Baldwin Hills on my bike, and I could definitely taste the lead in the air. L.A.'s air has improved.
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Originally Posted by Bjforrestal View Post
I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.
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Old 11-03-15, 08:55 PM
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Even Little Rock may have hit a turning point. The Arkansas Highway department released a study in regards to widening I-30 in the downtown Little Rock area.

Surprisingly, after a short while, many citizens got riled. The freeway would become so wide that it covers about half the distance between the touristy part of town like the River Market and the Convention Center, and the Clinton Library. All the park area in between would be paved over or dumped under an over pass. The city actually is saying "No". Of course the bicyclists were the first to raise the flag.
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Originally Posted by Bjforrestal View Post
I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.
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Old 11-03-15, 09:56 PM
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Originally Posted by jfowler85 View Post
Ever been through there? That is not going to happen.
Yes, I used to live there, as a matter of fact, and I don't share your cynicism. I had relatives who lived there when the area had an effective transit system which allowed people to live very well without a car.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacific_Electric
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Old 11-03-15, 10:06 PM
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Interesting.

I spent 40 minutes looking at the street level of Indianapolis and it's a nice city. Maybe it was a weekend but there these very large buildings and not many people on the sidewalks? I was like, where are all the people? It reminded me of Newark NJ where the city empties out after 6:00 pm and no one visits during the weekend. I think for this to be successful, more people need to live in downtown Indianapolis. Alot more!

My city sold it water supply and the money went straight to city hall and vanished! I'm glad Indianapolis spent it wisely.

Cities are looking for foot traffic during and they are watching what Portland did and how it's making money hand over fist. The motorization of Indianapolis killed the city and they are trying to bring it back by turning back the clock by making it pedestrian friendly.

This is good news. Another win for the carfree.

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Old 11-03-15, 10:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve View Post
Cities are looking for foot traffic during and they are watching what Portland did and how it's making money hand over fist.
How so?
Can you provide some more details about "Portland" making money hand over fist and/or references to this phenomenon?
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Old 11-04-15, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve View Post
Interesting.

I spent 40 minutes looking at the street level of Indianapolis and it's a nice city. Maybe it was a weekend but there these very large buildings and not many people on the sidewalks? I was like, where are all the people? It reminded me of Newark NJ where the city empties out after 6:00 pm and no one visits during the weekend. I think for this to be successful, more people need to live in downtown Indianapolis. Alot more!
I have noticed this extreme culture of privacy in some areas. You would think public areas are infected with some plague or landmines or radioactivity or something. Apparently it's just a culture of privacy that's set in where people basically just drive between private venues and avoid public areas. I think it must have something to do with commercialism/consumerism, but I'm not exactly sure what it is that averts people from these kinds of areas. Fear of muggings, maybe? Or maybe they just don't have enough to attract them.

If residential housing was available near workplaces, that could stimulate more life after hours. The problem is people don't want to give up their existing homes to move into the city, so maybe the solution for that is to shift taxation in a way that allows people to have multiple residences without being rich. That way, you could keep your home in the suburbs for weekends and holidays and live in the city for work/school.
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Old 11-04-15, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by cooker View Post
LA? Never been there. However, if it is like other North American cities, it's conceivable it may see at least some degree of intensification of its urban centres, and revitalization of public transit, with more people living near work and/or engaging in non-car commutes. Maybe not as much as some places.
Indianapolis. Couldn't ever see it happening in LA either, though.
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Old 11-04-15, 09:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Ekdog View Post
Yes, I used to live there, as a matter of fact, and I don't share your cynicism. I had relatives who lived there when the area had an effective transit system which allowed people to live very well without a car.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacific_Electric
I don't share your cynicism of my opinion.

1) Don't use Wikipedia as a primary source.

2) An "effective" transit system is not a predictor of the public's willingness to let the gov't tell them they can't take their cars certain places within the city. I've been to many places with much, much more efficient and effective forms of public transit (Seoul is my favorite) and have observed that a) places like Indianapolis (and nearly everywhere else in the Midwest except Chicago) have terrible public transit, and b) those places with excellent transit systems have had and will have ubiquitous traffic & parking issues.
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Old 11-04-15, 09:37 AM
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Originally Posted by jfowler85 View Post
Ever been through there? That is not going to happen.
L.A. Breaks From Its Car-Reliant Reputation With 'Mobility Plan 2035' - CityLab
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Old 11-04-15, 09:45 AM
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Yes they also recently had a vision for a high speed rail, and once had a vision for adequate water supply. Btw did you read the article? There is quite a bit of resistance.
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Old 11-04-15, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by jfowler85 View Post
Yes they also recently had a vision for a high speed rail, and once had a vision for adequate water supply. Btw did you read the article? There is quite a bit of resistance.
Of course there's a lot of resistance. but the plan has passed the city council, so it now has the force of law.

My own city hasn't gone that far, but we have a Non-Motor Master Plan and we've passed a Complete Streets ordinance. This means that all road construction and reconstruction projects must set aside funding for non-motor transportation. There was a lot of opposition--after all this is the city where more cars are assembled than any other city in North America. But it was passed, one of the few Complete Streets laws to be passed by a direct vote of the people rather than city council. And it's already starting to make a difference as the bike trail system is expanded almost every year, and bike lanes are popping up everywhere.

And back to Los Angeles--it has made more carfree progress than most cities, and is often ranked by carfree LA residents themselves as a city that is a very good place to be carfree.
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Old 11-04-15, 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
Of course there's a lot of resistance. but the plan has passed the city council, so it now has the force of law.

My own city hasn't gone that far, but we have a Non-Motor Master Plan and we've passed a Complete Streets ordinance. This means that all road construction and reconstruction projects must set aside funding for non-motor transportation. There was a lot of opposition--after all this is the city where more cars are assembled than any other city in North America. But it was passed, one of the few Complete Streets laws to be passed by a direct vote of the people rather than city council. And it's already starting to make a difference as the bike trail system is expanded almost every year, and bike lanes are popping up everywhere.

And back to Los Angeles--it has made more carfree progress than most cities, and is often ranked by carfree LA residents themselves as a city that is a very good place to be carfree.
Lived in and around LA for a bit, and I disagree with that last statement. I am not aware of any ranking by LA carfree residents, or even any survey of how many carfree/bike only residents currently reside in the LA megalopolis.

You make it sound as though the plan will inevitably see the full light of day, given its city council status. All it is a too-little-too-late public space/green proposal with certain pro-cycling language tucked inside it. Overall the aim of this proposal is not cyclocentric, the goal, per the LA City Times is to "improve traffic and safety for pedestrians, busses, and bicycles." In other words, as long as the city meets its overall goal then it could conceivably be considered successful even if the number of proposed protected cycling lanes is not met. Especially given how much LA motorists hate giving up road space for bike lanes, as in the 2011 Figueroa project. Car driving residents can and will fight to protect their roads, especially in LA where car culture is a permanent, engrained part of the broader sub/urbran popular culture. It always has been.

I'm not saying LA is not bike friendly (although I would set my benchmark of friendliness at Denver, which LA can't touch), but I would also not hold my breath for the city to make baby steps toward convincing residents to pay for giving up public spaces for a relative few cyclists.
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Old 11-05-15, 10:37 AM
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Originally Posted by jfowler85 View Post
Especially given how much LA motorists hate giving up road space for bike lanes, as in the 2011 Figueroa project. Car driving residents can and will fight to protect their roads, especially in LA where car culture is a permanent, engrained part of the broader sub/urbran popular culture. It always has been.
i have noticed this trend in aggressive car-defensive language elsewhere as well. We should be careful using rhetorical aggression as it leads to feelings of anger and conflict. Car-culture defenders shouldn't be using hostility to dominate road systems by intimidating those who seek pedestrian/bike infrastructure. Hostility never goes unanswered in the grand scheme of things.
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Old 11-05-15, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by jfowler85 View Post
I'm not saying LA is not bike friendly (although I would set my benchmark of friendliness at Denver, which LA can't touch), but I would also not hold my breath for the city to make baby steps toward convincing residents to pay for giving up public spaces for a relative few cyclists.
it isn't only about about the relatively small number of cyclists vying for resources and space against the much larger and more entrenched/entitled motorist faction. The people of LA also want clean air and many may be willing to support bicycle or transit projects they think will help that, even knowing it may impact on their own driving. As well, at least some drivers (perhaps a lot!) may have an untapped potential willingness to switch to transit or biking if improved facilities are provided, and others may be willing to support the implementation of new biking and transit facilities out of the selfish belief that if other people use them, it may ease congestion and improve their own driving experience. So its not just small group A tilting at the windmill of large group B. Group B may end up offering some help.

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Old 11-05-15, 08:17 PM
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Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
\If residential housing was available near workplaces, that could stimulate more life after hours. The problem is people don't want to give up their existing homes to move into the city,.
This is exactly what is happening.

You're right in stating that people with homes in the suburbs don't want to give them up. However, the current generation that don't have 200K + homes in the burbs need a place to live. In my city, they are building luxury condos right next to the lightrail and offices. Indianapolis is going to have to convert and rezone some of the empty factories and office buidlings to housing. They have to find builders willing to construct high-rise condos and no it will not be inexpensive. Studios will end up costing over 175K but people will buy if there are good paying jobs in lower downtown.
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Old 11-09-15, 04:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve View Post
This is exactly what is happening.

You're right in stating that people with homes in the suburbs don't want to give them up. However, the current generation that don't have 200K + homes in the burbs need a place to live. In my city, they are building luxury condos right next to the lightrail and offices. Indianapolis is going to have to convert and rezone some of the empty factories and office buidlings to housing. They have to find builders willing to construct high-rise condos and no it will not be inexpensive. Studios will end up costing over 175K but people will buy if there are good paying jobs in lower downtown.
But what about all the people living and commuting from the suburbs? If they have to choose between giving up their houses to move downtown and continuing to commute, most will probably just keep commuting and the traffic and parking problems won't be solved. Getting a second apartment in town to overnight on workdays is a solution if there are some small, affordable places in addition to the luxury condos.
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Old 11-11-15, 08:20 PM
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Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
But what about all the people living and commuting from the suburbs? If they have to choose between giving up their houses to move downtown and continuing to commute, most will probably just keep commuting and the traffic and parking problems won't be solved. Getting a second apartment in town to overnight on workdays is a solution if there are some small, affordable places in addition to the luxury condos.
The older generation that's living in the suburbs are not going to move. It's the kids that are entering college and just starting their first jobs that are not going to be able to afford the same homes as their parents in the burbs. I'm seeing alot of new youth moving into downtowns and those over 40 are considered old.
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Old 11-12-15, 04:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve View Post
The older generation that's living in the suburbs are not going to move. It's the kids that are entering college and just starting their first jobs that are not going to be able to afford the same homes as their parents in the burbs. I'm seeing alot of new youth moving into downtowns and those over 40 are considered old.
You quoted my post about getting a second residence near work to avoid commuting, if it's affordable. The reason I suggest this is precisely because I know people don't want to give up their homes in the suburbs or rural areas. Instead of commuting, however, many could get a small second home in the city to stay on work nights, if it was affordable, including taxes and fees, if any. If staying over in the city was less of a financial burden than commuting in and out, why would people choose the headache of a congested commute?
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