Writer / Kara Reibel
A more ambitious public transportation system for Indianapolis has been on the table and in the headlines for years, but plans are finally coming into focus, and city officials are sharing the details with Broad Ripple and other areas that will benefit from a new rapid transit service.
The 35-mile Red Line will run from Westfield and Carmel to Greenwood through Indianapolis using fully-electric buses driving in dedicated lanes. The route will use College Avenue and is planned to include stations at the Indianapolis Art Center, Broad Ripple Avenue, Kessler and 54th Street.
IndyGo officials note that the Red Line will bring a new kind of frequent, convenient transit service to neighborhoods like Broad Ripple along a heavily-populated, heavily-traveled corridor.
“More than 100,000 residents live within a five-minute walk of the future Red Line route, along with one of every four jobs in the city,” noted Bryan Luellen, Director of Public Affairs for IndyGo.
“We want to help people get to work, but we also want rapid transit to connect our recreational and cultural destinations,” Luellen added. “The Red Line will eventually help people from across the region – from Carmel and Westfield to Greenwood – enjoy Broad Ripple without depending on their cars.”
Luellen noted that the opposite is also true – the Red Line will put Broad Ripple residents just minutes away from the Carmel Arts and Design District and Westfield’s Grand Park or south to the heart of downtown, Fountain Square, and on to Greenwood. While bus rapid transit will help commuters ease their daily grind, it also provides a more convenient connection to the Children’s Museum for families, Lucas Oil Stadium for Colts fans and much more.
Bus rapid transit (BRT) service like the Red Line has been embraced by many cities across the country, said Mark Fisher, Vice-President of the Indy Chamber, which has pushed for the Red Line and the broader ‘Indy Connect’ plan for regional transit.
“BRT is a really efficient way to implement rapid transit with many of the same benefits – at less cost – as light rail,” Fisher said. “Indianapolis is really overdue for this kind of service.”
Fisher also served on the board of Mid-Town Indianapolis, the coalition of neighborhood associations that includes Broad Ripple, Meridian-Kessler and others. He sees BRT bringing new customers to local businesses, encouraging new development and raising property values along the route.
“In Cleveland, the Health Line bus rapid transit project has led to nearly $5.8 billion in new economic activity since 2008,” Fisher said, noting that the Red Line has similar potential based on current population and employment.
“It means continued momentum for areas like Broad Ripple and helping rebuild the neighborhoods between Broad Ripple and downtown too,” he said.
For more information, visit indygo.net/redline.