storrow|kinsella post archive

#22 | Promethean Walk Update
#22 | Promethean Walk Update
The Firefighters Art Park [ing] Court is getting ready for the mythic and heroic Promethean Walk sculpture. Bloomington artist, Dale Enochs, developed a quarter scale model of the Promethean Figure that was unveiled at the FDIC Conference this Spring. This work of public art will be a 125 foot long assemblage of incised limestone and internally illuminated layered metal forms. The heroic sixteen foot tall striding figure of Prometheus will be a striking landmark for walkers and cyclists along the Indianapolis Cultural Trail and motorists approaching downtown along College and Mass Avenues. Prometheus holds an orb of fire, the mythological gift to humankind representing creativity and, if not respected and controlled, danger. The Promethean Walk will be part of the visitor experience, including the schoolchildren visiting Survive Alive. The footings were installed last year under the stonedust walkway, and Dale is preparing to order the limestone later this year.   >More    Promethean Walk | Gift of Fire[...]
#21 | Hope Downtown Revitalization Plan Workshop 2
#21 | Hope Downtown Revitalization Plan Workshop 2
Mainstreet of HOPE held its second public workshop for the development of the Downtown Revitalization Plan for Hope, Indiana on April 27, 2017.  The following press article described the event:Changes Proposed for Hope Town SquareRoad narrowing, parking revised in downtown planBy Mark Weber - April 28, 2017 | The Republic Newspaper, Columbus, INHOPE — A significantly new vision for State Road 9, west of the Hope Town Square, has been unveiled by Main Street of Hope.About 25 residents were on hand Thursday at Hope Moravian Church to see revisions made to a proposed plan for the Hope Town Square and surrounding businesses since it was first proposed in late March.The concepts are intended to create a market-viable and sustainable downtown, as well as make Hope a unique destination, said planner and landscape architect Meg Storrow, with Storrow|Kinsella Associates, Indianapolis.  >More  [...]
#20| Alice Carter Place featured for World Landscape Architecture month
#20| Alice Carter Place featured for World Landscape Architecture month
Alice Carter Place is featured nationally for Landscape Architecture month in April 2017. SKA is delighted to have Alice Carter Place recognized! Having achieved walkability and traffic calming goals at Wesftield and Meridian, the neighborhood is mobilizing to fund and construct a children's garden in the park. More to come . . .Check out https://www.facebook.com/ASLA.Indiana/ and http://www.storrowkinsella.com/places-home/alice-carter-place-childrens-garden/ for more information.[...]
#19| Downtown Revitalization Plan, Hope, Indiana
#19| Downtown Revitalization Plan, Hope, Indiana
Storrow Kinsella is working with the Town of Hope to revitalize its downtown historic Town Square district. The effort is spearheaded by an energetic Main Street of Hope committee of residents and business owners. Many of them are descendants of the town’s circa 1830 Moravian founders. The compact town of 2,100 people is bordered by a region of well-tended family farms that have successfully adapted to today’s agricultural economics without resorting to mega-farm consolidation. That same kind of adaptation is being sought to enhance the town’s position as a regional resource and cultural destination, while remaining true to its roots. Hope is invested in it's unique heritage and culture evidenced in both spirit (its founders’ values that still prevail) and place (the spatial form and architectural fabric of the district).  Making the downtown economically sustainable and relevant to today’s needs is an exciting and challenging collaborative process. A consensus plan is emerging from creative community conversation, and will be unveiled in the coming months. The Republic newspaper covered the first public workshop held on March 30 (link >here ). The workshop presentation can be viewed at link >here (be patient, a large file to download). A second workshop is scheduled for April 27. The Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs and the Indiana Office of Tourism Development have provided the matching grant for the study through the Place Based Investment Fund for Quality of Place Initiatives. The study is intended to position Hope for future grants for implementation of the plan’s components over time. Receive updates about the Downtown Revitalization Plan Email * First name Last name Organization [...]
#18| The 2017 Fairbanks Symposium on Civic Leadership
#18| The 2017 Fairbanks Symposium on Civic Leadership
Local and national community leaders came together on March 3 for a dialogue regarding the value of urban parks and greenspace in maintaining a world-class city at the Richard M. Fairbanks Symposium on Civic Leadership at the University of Indianapolis. The  day started with an INconversation between Justin Garrett Moore and Neelay Bhatt during lunch. Justin is a product of Indianapolis' Arlington High, an urban designer and the current executive director of the New York City Public Design Commission.  Neelay is the vice president of PROS Consulting and a Board Member of the National Recreation and Parks Association. A panel discussion next explored Five Big Ideas that transformed Indianapolis: The 1907 Kessler Park and Boulevard System, White River State Park, Indy Greenways, The Cultural Trail, and the Clean City Initiative, the precursor to Keep Indianapolis Beautiful.  Indy Parks Director, Linda Broadfoot moderated the panel composed of Meg Storrow, FASLA,  Andre T. Denman, Indy Parks principal park planner and greenways manager, Brian Payne, Central Indiana Community Foundation president and CEO, Alex Umlauf, operations and events manager of White River State Park, and David Wantz, executive vice president and interim provost at the University of Indianapolis. A discussion about What's Next on the national and regional scene followed. David Forsell, President of Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, moderated a discussion between Dale Heydlauff, President of the American Electric Power Foundation, Lionel Bradford, President of The Greening of Detroit, and Emily Wood, Director of Greenspace at Keep Indianapolis Beautiful. Former Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard concluded the day with some very insightful reflections about the importance of open space to a successful and thriving community. Want to learn more? View Meg's symposium presentation:  The Indianapolis Park and Boulevard System: a Continuing Transformational Legacy. Also view the University of Indianapolis Institute for Civic Leadership & Mayoral Archives for an overview of its important work towards understanding how both progressive initiatives and retrograde moments of the past inform the present in visualizing and actualizing better futures. Subscribe to our newsletter to follow our continuing community discussions and initiatives regarding the built and natural environment. Subscribe to our Newsletter First name Last name Email * [...]
#17 Groundbreaking Guidebook on Placemaking
#17 Groundbreaking Guidebook on Placemaking
Storrow Kinsella was recently featured in a new guidebook on Placemaking as an Economic Development Tool. Effective placemaking techniques can potentially yield a limitless number of benefits for communities of various sizes when it comes to activating public spaces. In addition to improving the quality of places throughout communities (such as downtowns and neighborhoods), placemaking can be used to improve overall quality of life, and the design and use of the public realm. Placemaking creates economic benefits for communities and can improve economic competiveness by enhancing a community’s ability to attract and retain talented workers and residents. Storrow Kinsella's Multi-Modal Corridor and Public Space Design Guidelines: Creating a Multi-Modal Region developed for the Indianapolis MPO is cited as an example of the link between a balanced transportation system and quality of life for the region. Did your community set some recent goals? Was creating quality places one of them? The Placemaking Guidebook identifies six characteristics that are hallmarks of placemaking. See how many of the six your community can claim, and then learn how to enhance or create more quality places. Visit http://landpolicy.msu.edu/resources/pmedtguidebook to procure the guidebook, but more importantly contact storrow|kinsella today for a strategy session.[...]
#16| Premiere screening 10 Parks That Changed America
#16| Premiere screening 10 Parks That Changed America
Post Script: The event described below is now past, but was very successful. The PBS Special itself can be viewed on YouTube. PBS Senior Producer Dan Protess  will host the Indianapolis premiere of the PBS Special, "10 Parks that Changed America" at Garfield Park Art Center, in Indianapolis. The showing, Tuesday April 12 from 7-9 pm, is open to the public and free. Popcorn will be served! Dan will introduce the special, and moderate a panel discussion regarding the importance of parks to Indianapolis and its region.  Panelists are: Joe Wynns, Indianapolis Parks Board member and former Parks Department Director; Bob Bronson, Chief State and Community Outdoor Recreation Planning, Indiana Department of Natural Resources; and Meg Storrow, FASLA, landscape architect and principal of Storrow Kinsella Associates in Indianapolis. This event is sponsored by the Indiana Chapter American Society of Landscape Architects and Indy Parks in celebration of the State of Indiana Bicentennial and 100th Anniversary of the National Park System. Please join us! But if you can't, be sure to watch the PBS Special on WFYI. Subscribe to our Newsletter First name Last name Email * [...]
#15| Promethean Walk|the Gift of Fire: an emerging civic space
#15| Promethean Walk|the Gift of Fire: an emerging civic space
Visit the Promethean Walk Campaign An exciting development  is occurring near the corner of Massachusetts and College Avenues. Indianapolis Professional Firefighters Local Union 416 is expanding its headquarters there and consolidating its campus to better serve both its membership of over 2000 active and retired firefighters, and its neighborhood. 30 years ago, the Firefighters purchased and restored the abandoned 1872 Fire Station No.2, establishing their union hall on a then-struggling Massachusetts Avenue. Mass Ave is now prospering as a Cultural District, and restored Station No. 2's Fire Museum, Survive Alive program, and community-shared meeting rooms and green-spaces have been a catalyst towards that revival. 30 years after their pioneering investment (having paid off the original mortgage), the Firefighters are in the midst of completing the dream:  Consolidating member services by bringing the Firefighters Credit Union onto the campus (while filling the streetscape gap of a former parking lot); Expanding the Fire Museum and Survive Alive program spaces by building a new wing on part of the vacant point of land near College Avenue, while enhancing the remainder as a mini-park.... and: Replacing lost parking spaces with a mixed-use, events-adaptable landscaped Art Park[ing] Plaza on what had been a derelict lot across St. Clair Street. The art of that flex-space: the Firefighters have brought back sculptor Dale Enochs, creator of the memorial to Fallen Firefighters (adjacent to the restored fire station museum) to create a public art installation for the plaza's College Avenue frontage. It will combine with other design elements to create an inspiring Indianapolis Cultural Trail node and gateway entry to the Historic Chatham Arch and Mass Ave Districts. The enhanced Point and the Art Park Plaza will be linked open spaces that will host events such as IndyFringe Theatre Festival. The adjacent new meeting rooms, in addition to serving membership and community events, are transformable to a black box theater space, thus helping keep the arts alive on Mass Ave. SKA is honored to be part of the design team helping the Firefighters realize their dream. With construction well underway, we are now assisting the Firefighters with a capital campaign to fund the public art and open space enhancements that will unify the entire campus into one civic place.  Click on the adjacent image to learn more, and follow us as we begin the countdown to the funding campaign and the unveiling of PrometheanWalk | Gift of Fire.   Subscribe to our Newsletter First name Last name Email * [...]
#14| Karst Farm Greenway named 2015 Outstanding Indiana Trail Project
#14| Karst Farm Greenway named 2015 Outstanding Indiana Trail Project
  The Karst Farm Greenway in Monroe County, Indiana received the 2015 Outstanding Indiana Trail Project award from the Indiana Greenways Foundation at its annual meeting in Indianapolis. The three-mile long paved bicycle and pedestrian trail, in the rapidly developing west side of Monroe County, was dedicated in July 2015. The trail begins at Karst Farm Park and continues north to Vernal Pike where it connects to the YMCA. It's character ranges from a rural experience, meandering through and around rolling fields and woods, to a more urban network within the Gifford and Endwright Road right-of-ways but still separated from traffic. It provides walking or cycling as mode of choice for connectivity to multiple destinations, linking Karst Farm Park, the YMCA, Ivy Tech, the Indiana Center for Life Sciences, and both Highland Park and Grandview Schools. It is being embraced by not only the community but also by savvy developers and employers that recognize the vlaue it adds to their enterprises. Its reception and use has validated the quality of life-based economic development objectives  of SKA's Monroe County Alternative Transportation and Greenways System Plan that proposed this facility and its future network extensions. The Karst Farm Trail's  design and engineering was a collaborative effort by Storrow Kinsella Associates and Butler Fairman Seufert Civil Engineers.   "I am very impressed....no, blown away, with the attention to detail and innovative approaches taken in designing this trail. This could be an on-the- ground example of best design practices for trails for others to learn from.  The route, connectors to schools, the Y, and other features, the way the RR crossing was handled the signage, and more, really impressed me... and although I am not a designer, I have seen a few trails in my day. So, I just wanted to say, job well done, and thanks!!!:   Rory Robinson Rory Robinson, Outdoor Recreation Planner National Park Service 2179 Everett Road, Peninsula, OH 44264   Team Storrow Kinsella Associates: landscape architecture, trail and amenity design Butler, Fairman & Seufert, Inc.: engineering and right-of-way Subscribe to our Newsletter First name Last name Email *    [...]
#13| Cincinnati Design Awards
#13| Cincinnati Design Awards
It is great to see cross-discipline collaboration in the placemaking professions.  The Cincinnati Design Awards program, now in its nineteenth year, is a joint program of Cincinnati area architecture,  interior design, experiential graphic design, and landscape architecture professions. Meg Storrow represented the landscape architecture profession on the invited jury, joined by architect Eddie Jones, Principal of the Jones Studio in Phoenix, AZ; Natalie Engels, Design Director of Gensler in Silicon Valley, CA;  Oscar Fernandez, University of Cincinnati School of Design; Cybelle Jones, Principal and Studio Director at Gallagher & Associates, Washington, DC; and Mike Tittei, Executive Creative Director at gyro in Cincinnati.  Once the jurors established award criteria of impact, relevance, and craft, we spent an intense day reviewing some 70 submitted projects to arrive at 19 that exemplified those qualities at a high level of design. Each project elicited lively debate in winnowing down from merely good design to great design, with philosophical fine points sometimes tipping the balance. Design is alive and well in Cincinnati. And refreshing that the awards gala took place in the restored historic Woodward Theater in the revitalized and wonderful Over-the-Rhine District.   more> cincinnati design awards home page more> cincinnati design awards facebook page   Subscribe to our Newsletter First name Last name Email * [...]
#12| June 2015: East 10th Street Gateway Revisited
#12| June 2015: East 10th Street Gateway Revisited
We revisited the  gateway recently and found Carl Leck's murals still powerful, the plant material thriving, and tons of walkers and cyclists moving smoothly from the Monon to the Cultural Trail and to and from the Near Eastdside neighborhoods on a beautiful Sunday. We also experienced a new insight. What had been the deafeningly annoying noise of the interstate bridge traffic as it pounded the expansion joints overhead took on a whole new character in the transformed and dynamic space.....it became, to our ears, a rhythmic 'Bang-on-a-Can" percussion performance! Context as shaper of perception. And as another indicator of how design contributes to place perception and economic development, a recent full page real estate ad featuring Near Eastside properties displayed images of the gateway markers (wayfinding compass pole, and MassAve/East10 marker) as defining identity elements for the Near Eastside.   read more Subscribe to our Newsletter First name Last name Email * [...]
#11| Meg Storrow elevated to ASLA Council of Fellows
#11| Meg Storrow elevated to ASLA Council of Fellows
ASLA Elevates 37 to Fellowship, June 2015 Meg Storrow at Fellow Investiture Dinner, Chicago 2015 June 23, 2015 Press Release: The American Society of Landscape Architects The American Society of Landscape Architects has elevated 37 members to the ASLA Council of Fellows for 2015. Fellowship is among the highest honors the ASLA bestows on members and recognizes the contributions of these individuals to their profession and society at large based on their works, leadership and management, knowledge and service. The new class of Fellows will be recognized at the 2015 ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO, November 6-9, in Chicago. The designation of Fellow is conferred on individuals in recognition of exceptional accomplishments over a sustained period of time. Individuals considered for this distinction must be members of ASLA in good standing for at least 10 years and must be recommended to the Council of Fellows by the Executive Committee of their local chapter, the Executive Committee of ASLA or the Executive Committee of the Council of Fellows. Meet the 2015 ASLA Class of Fellows Meg Storrow, a founding principal of storrow|kinsella, received her nomination from the Indiana Chapter of ASLA. For 30 years, Storrow has worked with community groups and professional organizations to improve neighborhoods and advance the profession of landscape architecture. Her brand of service and advocacy centers on enhancing the system from within. She gets involved in a neighborhood, organization, or board, then applies her professional skills, sociability and work ethic to better the entire community. She has participated in at least one pro bono meeting nearly every week of her entire career. At times, her volunteer workload has exceeded 30 hours per week, rivaling her full-time landscape architectural practice. Her service has positively affected a wide range of people and professions through such efforts as forest and watershed preservation, support for the Indiana licensure act and neighborhood advocacy.   November 8, 2016 Update The Fellows Investiture Ceremony in Chicago was a lot of fun! Charles Birnbaum was Meg's escort, and President Richard Zweifel presented the Fellows Medallion. The Indiana Chapter ASLA supported Meg and John by joining them at a table filled with fellow Indiana landscape architects. Many thanks to all that supported Meg's nomination! [meg storrow]  [service]   Subscribe to our Newsletter First name Last name Email * [...]
#10| New studio location...and its perfect!
#10| New studio location...and its perfect!
The moving disruption is over (April 12 update: its been almost a year now) and the new storrow|kinsella studio is up and running at 303 North Alabama (second floor #240). Its at the NE Corner of Alabama and New York Streets (the red brick attachment to the historic Vienna Building) and overlooks the Cultural Trail and Downtown Indianapolis. Visitor parking in the Lockerbie Marketplace, but also walkable from anywhere downtown. A yellow bike share station is just up the street as well. The studio is a light-filled open space, just a five minute walk along the Cultural Trail from our Riley Tower 26th floor sky-perch residence (a 1962 midcentury modernist group of towers on the National Register, designed by Perkins & Will Architects of Chicago). The view from its balcony, 260 feet above street level, offers insights of city patterns and rhythms not readily apparent from the static maps we reference in our work.  Communes with nature, unique from our ground-dwelling days, are of a ten-mile distant horizon and its panorama of clouds, sunsets, distant storms and tower-circling buzzards. We miss the Zen garden terrace at the old studio, but that balcony in the sky, and the daily walk to (work?) along the Alabama Street trail more than compensate. The back story: what until now we had thought was the perfect studio at Park Avenue was put on the market much sooner than we had planned on so we weren't quite ready to exercise our right of first refusal!  But we are still in the heart of the thriving Mass Ave district, and even closer to the core. Its perfect. Looking forward to visits, but please call ahead.  317-639-3420[...]
#9| Wabash River Scenic Byway: Publication
#9| Wabash River Scenic Byway: Publication
This Wabash River Scenic Byway Management Plan guides the management of the 16-mile long river corridor through Tippecanoe County, Indiana. The plan integrates roadway design, wayfinding, and land stewardship under the grand theme of the river's 2.5 million year history. This interpretive lens melds geology, archaeology, anthropology, geopolitics and ecology as defining aspects of place and guides ongoing management collaborations. The River Road State Scenic Byway was designated in 2008. This plan was funded by the Indiana Department of Transportation with a local grant match provided by The Wabash River Enhancement Corporation. The planning process consolidated the wealth of previous planning efforts and community outreach with additional public, working group, and stakeholder meetings, and created a project website to continue the public engagement process. The plan, completed in 2014, guides management and celebration of the byway as a powerful regional resource and amenity. read report Subscribe to our Newsletter First name Last name Email * [...]
#8| State of the Art in Virginia
#8| State of the Art in Virginia
We are excited about the recent release of  Virginia's statewide guidelines for multimodal planning and design. Our role as advisor and peer reviewer during development of the plan was based on our experience in producing a series of multimodal planning documents for the Indianapolis eight-county region over several years. The Indianapolis Regional Center Multimodal System Plan and its supporting Multimodal Corridor and Public Space Design  Guidelines were a Best Practices reference for Virginia's process.  Production of the Virginia guidelines was managed by Transit Planning Manager, Amy Inman, and the guidelines document was produced by the Renaissance Planning Group. It received an American Planning Association award and was featured in that organization's 2013 Annual Conference in Chicago.  The following abstract is from the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation: "The Multimodal System Design  Guidelines provide a holistic framework for multimodal planning with a step-by-step process of identifying centers of activity, designating connected networks for all travel modes, and designing and retrofitting specific corridors that fit with the surrounding context. This process can be applied to the full range of contexts throughout Virginia to plan connected regional transportation networks to serve all travel modes." The Guidelines and three videos that summarize their content can be downloaded here: http://www.drpt.virginia.gov/activities/MultimodalSystemDesignGuidelines.aspx     First nameLast nameEmail [...]
#7| The Rewards of Historic Preservation
#7| The Rewards of Historic Preservation
Historic Preservation and Cultural Resource consulting is sometimes dismissed as an honorable though not particularly cutting-edge undertaking for a design-based studio such as ours. We think otherwise. Public landscapes and spaces are ephemeral either through inattention, succumbing to competing spatial/economic pressures or mismanagement (and yes, design has a hand in that as well...not everything old is good, and in contemporary terms, much of the new is mediocre if not bad). Public spaces need constant attention and periodic renovation/renewal. And too many design plans either don't survive the political and funding cycles of public work, or are implemented as cost-constrained phased work that may or may not accrue critical mass impact, in the sense of an intended inter-relatedness of systems. Too visionary on the client or designer side? Maybe, but think Olmsted,  Burnham or Kessler and the lasting values of their visions! But also think of the sometimes wayward/sometimes brilliant  '60s (now historic) and the current challenge in seeing past the aging trendiness of that period to value the mid-century modern masterpieces it generated and that are being revisited today.  We had the pleasure of guiding the National Register process for modernist work in Columbus, Indiana, and it has been rewarding to see how the National Landmark status achieved by that nomination/listing  continues to inform the community of the need for continued stewardship of the overall resource. In that case it was doubly rewarding since earlier in our careers we either knew or had worked with/for designers of many of the nominated multiple properties. Most recently we have been able to revisit the (Kessler) Fort Wayne Park and Boulevard System Historic District, which was listed in 2010. Our original client has brought us back to help respond to a road improvement project that they rightly perceive as a threat to elements of that system. While our alternative plans for that project may or may not be successful, it has been rewarding to be called to help defend the resource, not in a Stop the Project sense, because aspects of the proposed improvement really are needed, but as a creative alternative that blends state-of -the-art traffic engineering and urban design to hopefully achieve a win-win for both our client and for the public agency...as cooperating rather than adversarial parties. The alternative plan respects the 1912 Kessler-Shurcliff  historic system and neighborhood while making it relevant to today's connectivity imperatives which have evolved considerably in 100 years.  But good bones, recognized, respected and cared for, can prevail. Post-script: the Fort Wayne alternative was begun too late to affect the juggernaut of a major road project that had been rumbling towards a funded conclusion for years. Our lesson: the National Register system relies too much on the assumption that safeguards for listed properties are adequate protection against narrowly engineering-based infrastructure planning. The historic nomination process is too object-based and insufficiently informative to larger planning contexts. Great cultural resources are sitting ducks to dumb-growth initiatives.   Subscribe to our Newsletter First name Last name Email * [...]
#6| "BIG IDEA" for Parks and Open Space
#6| "BIG IDEA" for Parks and Open Space
An Indianapolis publication recently asked storrow|kinsella  "what is your BIG IDEA" regarding parks and open space planning and design for Indianapolis. Our response was that there are shelves-full  of great  ideas but a lack of an implementing framework for their coherent execution and sustenance across the region we call home. Our unlikely-to-be-published Big Idea follows: Re-imagine the current hierarchy of public system management. The idea: Establish a method/agency to guide the spatial and transportation systems that define the region, with a charter to integrate and guide land use growth, preserve open space, and create balanced multimodal transportation as a framework for a regional constellation of communities and open space connectivity (much like the joint agency established for the parks, parkways and boulevards in George Kessler’s time). Currently, planning and design are fragmented across multiple jurisdictions and agencies according to discipline-based silos. There is no unifying grand vision that each agency master plan fits within (for example the recent parks master plan is done independently of the transportation master plan). Most important, there is little cross border continuity for systems planning other than for traffic management led by the MPO and INDOT.   Big and bold: people of imagination leading an apolitical planning, design and management of public space as a state-regional-local interdependency. The model: Oregon statewide land use planning, and its metropolitan growth boundaries, sustainable communities and natural resource and open space preservation, initiated in 1973 by a progressive republican governor, Tom McCall, and backed up by the non-profit “1000 Friends of Oregon”. Today we look at Portland as a template, but few understand how it got there. Background: There is a real paucity of big picture vision, and a lack of imagination, will and/or resources to create and maintain quality public spaces and systems across the Indianapolis region. The ephemerality and degradation of quality public resources and systems over time results from an inability to plan on a regional-to-local continuum, execute those plans at a high level of design, and to dedicate adequate resources to maintain them over generations.  Parks are often the first budget shortfall victims. The concept of the public right of way as part of the city’s open space system was an assumption in the 1920’s Kessler Plan that only recently has been revisited with the Cultural Trail initiative, and to some extents with the Complete Streets movement. A positive trend is that there is a growing demand for the creation and stewardship of quality public systems by an emergent body of creative people who are either staying, returning or coming here based on the attraction of spatial and amenity-based quality of life successes of recent years.  They are becoming a critical mass responding to and demanding more quality design and stewardship of that public realm.  The successes are the big ideas (Regional Center Convention/Visitation facilities investment, Super Bowl community development, and Cultural Districts/Cultural Trail come to mind) built upon the surviving remnant (the Good Bones) of the efforts of earlier generations. Ralston, Kessler, Sheridan, Lugar, Hudnut, Ray Irvin, Bill Gray, Brian Payne, Mark Miles, and Michael Huber, come to mind as instrumental leader-thinkers for some of the recent and crucial initiatives, but there are certainly others.  Political leadership responds to the critical mass attracted by the efforts of that “community leadership”, but is still hobbled by an inability to access and channel a vast regional wealth, both private and corporate, other than through tired and unpopular taxation systems. The Water Company sale and parking system franchising are notable exceptions, as is the CICF-led Cultural Trail initiative, all clues for a different model. But all constrained by a lack of enlightened comprehensive planning on a state and regional basis. The Big Idea:  a Central Indiana metro-parks system connected by a regional park and boulevard network, expanding the Kessler “big idea” for the heart of our state that integrates smart land use and balanced transportation. Oh...it wasn't published. A related discussion and a much bigger idea was presented back in 2008 with The Central Indiana Green Connector  concept. We prepared that to support efforts by our client HARMONI (now Midtown) to influence conversations regarding Mass/Rapid Regional transit. It looked at the misguided and sprawl-inducing Central Indiana Commerce Connector reimagining it as a a framework for a regional open space system based on urban growth boundaries.[...]
#5| Rapid Transit: The Downtown Approach
#5| Rapid Transit: The Downtown Approach
Background: In 2013, Indy Connect was in the public comment stage regarding proposed regional rapid transit routes and how/where they originate, network, and converge on the Indianapolis Downtown. Two specific route alternatives werepresented for the Green Line from Noblesville as it departs the NE Corridor rail alignment and enters the street network near East 10th Street. Technologies in contention are either Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) or some Light Rail Transit variant (LRT).  From there, two route alternatives wereproposed: Mass Avenue or 10th Street/Fort Wayne.  Our strong preference for a modified Fort Wayne route was coupled with the recommendation that an urban design system of places and connections be integrated into the process rather than an an afterthought. In 2013 public discussion began for the current round of rapid transit alternatives. Mass Ave was one of several alternatives for how the Green Line rapid transit gets from the East 10th terminus of the Hoosier Heritage Port Authority rail corridor, which partly parallels the Monon Trail, to a downtown  transit center (or, though unlikely, to Union Station). It had been called the Northeast Corridor in earlier studies for a rapid transit line from Noblesville to Downtown that resulted in selection of the interstate lane expansion alternative. This round is strictly about transit. Like many transit supporters, we had disassociated from what had become a repetitive and interminable process of studies going back to the late 1990's, some of which our firm had a hand in.  So we missed an Indy Connect public session regarding the Mass Ave/Chatham Arch District (where both our home and our studio are located).  Sipping martinis at a Chatterbox sidewalk table rearranged our mental calendar about the event. But sitting there and conversing with Avenue regulars also reinforced interest in keeping/improving the local and pedestrian scale of Mass Avenue as a pedestrian priority street  rather than it becoming a transit street.  Not necessarily mutually exclusive concepts until more closely examined through an urban design lens of appropriate scale. Make no mistake...we absolutely need the right balance of regional and local mass transit, and Indy Connect seems to be getting this very complex issue defined as a comprehensive system rather than a single corridor question of transit or highway.   But while the big picture is emerging, the urban design considerations that are so critical to weaving transit into and through our districts and neighborhoods still aren't evident in the proposals revealed so far.  Indeed, that level of design is scheduled much later in the federal process, a logical though unfortunate sequence of the plan's development.  The Mass Ave proposal is a case study of the not-quite-comprehensive level of design that is forming a basis for route planning decisions that will have big impacts, some good, some not so good. We have mixed feelings about rapid transit throttling down from the NE corridor route and onto the Avenue. While we  love the imagery of an electric Citadis tram gliding down the Avenue, that’s not likely to happen given BRT start-up economies and a tram's lower usefulness on long runs such as the NE corridor. Trams are essentially modern streetcars that share light rail traits, with some advanced European models such as the Alstom Dualis performing well at both scales, and colocating reasonably well on city streets. Of all the proposed rapid transit routes, the NE corridor and its transition to street routes would appear to be the most likely to be a rail variant that could merit that advanced technology. But even that technology's  commuter-train scale is  not right for Mass Ave for many reasons.  And conversely Mass Ave is not right for rapid transit's operational efficiency needs whether BRT or LRT.  While a modern streetcar/tram size vehicle could operate at a local scale on the same tracks, that is unlikely given problems of interoperability, at least for the foreseeable future. This Citadis tramway actually can go some distance without deploying its overhead catenary connection while cruising through this historic district. But it’s still a long train operating at commuter scale. Note the Mass Ave scale street beyond with sidewalk cafe …but also not that its not on the tramway!  Regardless of the technology ultimately deployed, and while we crave rapid transit for the region and  the NE corridor,  we don't like rapid transit in either form on Mass Avenue.  Lots of reasons from a transit perspective to not place either light rail or BRT there.  For efficiency, neither mode likes frequent stops. Stops for passengers are one thing but stops for intersections and backed-up traffic kill efficiency to the point of being noncompetitive with the personal car's convenience. Mass Ave possesses a great geometric relationship to the Monon-paralleling corridor that ends at East 10th Street.  But from there on southwestward it's a series of multi-legged intersections and stop/go traffic in which signal preemption would have mixed benefit. That's great traffic-calming for pedestrians but not conducive to efficient BRT or LRT commuter operations in which travel time advantage over an automobile commute is crucial to achieving the needed ridership levels.  The alternative route that heads west on East 10th Street to Fort Wayne makes much greater sense for its relatively uninterrupted character. But more importantly,  from an urban design perspective,  Rapid transit would bring local traffic and spatial impacts which could be huge and negative in the Mass Ave context.  It would, arguably, dramatically change the scale and character of the Avenue in a destructive way. Things like net traffic increase, with through rather than to characteristics, Transit stop dwell-time congestion on an already stop/go Mass Ave between 3:30 and 6 pm would lead to efficiency measures of added lanes and/or loss of parking for most of a block at BRT stops, or simply no stops and no local advantage. The "typical cross section" of an "apparent 90 foot wide right-of-way" does not apply to Mass Ave which ranges between that and more often 76-80 foot wide.  That 10-14 foot difference equates to a sidewalk or two bike lanes. The space just isn't there unless something important to a walkable pedestrian district goes away. Maybe the  landscape beds that give character to the avenue? Or the Chatterbox bump-out cafe where I sipped the aforementioned martini? There would be even higher net impact when combined with more frequent regular bus transit to serve more local needs and to feed the regional BRT ridership needs.  And  boarding a 100+ passenger multi-unit train or bus for a local trip makes little sense.  These are commuter-scale trains that drop off or pick up long-haul passengers at (realistically) half-hour headway not the 5-10 minute or less headway of a well-run circulator service.   The travel lane re-configuration to allow efficient rapid transit through Mass Ave would likely include measures that impact the essential walkability,  pedestrian priority and physical scale of the the avenue as we know it today. But while the  impacts of operating on the Avenue would be severe, reasonable proximity and connectivity to a BRT or LRT network will bring convenience, and (in the economic development sense) traffic and exposure to the Avenue. The choice needn't be a zero sum game of Mass Ave as a transit street geared to commuters because its conveniently placed for that vs. Mass Ave as a pedestrian priority street…… because that’s where its success lies today, and hopefully that success will be enhanced by future improvements that build on that success. It’s not a No Transit on Mass Ave NIMBY argument; it’s about Right-scaled Local Transit with proximate access to regional rapid transit nodes at Mass Ave's termini , respectively Bellefontaine near 10th Street and Delaware/New York Streets. MASS  AVE  AS  A  TRANSIT STREET  (as proposed by Indy Connect) Inbound Regional Center Stop 1:  the proposal appears to place a station at a proposed East 10th Street TOD. That's good. Its now a wasteland between the CSX tracks and the interstate. That area would be a good NE quadrant transit hub serving the Green Line and connecting bus service on 16th, 10th, and Mass Ave, and particularly if good mixed-use development were to be generated there as well (this is a site that could support an IKEA-like destination retail if interstate access could be worked out, while also providing space for the requisite light rail marshaling yard. We developed a view of how this under-performing backwater could become an edge of downtown circulator hub (see  NE/TOD map below) as part of our work on the 10th Street connection to Mass Ave. It still makes sense to us, especially since the CSX rail corridor appears to have become a difficult co-locate for the "last mile" to union station (that's another story that needs discussion). Map of an earlier storrow|kinsella proposal for a NE Portal Transit Oriented Development  that would serve as interface between NE corridor rapid transit and circulators running on Mass Ave and 16th Street The historic Coca Cola site nearby could be Stop 2  since that has huge development potential, and would also serve the Mass Ave East End, breathing life into that isolated outpost of shops (running it through that development on its Carrollton central pedestrian core does not make sense however). And running it from there to downtown along Mass Ave is not a good route for the reasons cited earlier. Stop 3: a stop at the proposed IFD Fire Station development might have worked had it been integrated into planning for that and Barton Towers development.  But those development initiatives are too far along to really integrate that well without loss of the curbside pedestrian amenities and continuity important to their success. That leaves a mile long run with no viable stops and lots of local spatial impact.  And don't forget about tracks along shared-use bike routes. Yikes! Stop 4: The Delaware Street area would be really difficult to handle on Mass Avenue itself,  but when considered as a stop on a Delaware route (see how below) would provide a bridging access point between Downtown and the southwest end of Mass Ave. An Alternative  Recommendation Stop 1/2 (near Bellefontaine & 10th) and Stop 3 at Delaware  are good and would contribute to the Mass Ave economy. But routing rapid transit down the Avenue would be disastrous.  But the 10th Street/Fort Wayne Street alternative  could place stations at both ends of Mass Ave as transit nodes at which multiple modes converge. Connect those stations via East 10th and Delaware Streets (southbound Delaware becomes a dedicated counter-flow lane) rather than encumber the  Avenue as a rapid transit route. Concurrently (the BIG idea, though hardly new) develop a  right-scaled local access circulator system along  Mass Avenue connecting to those end-of-avenue BRT or LRT stations and distributing transit users to multiple destinations all along the avenue.  Plan/design at that level of comprehensiveness concurrently to build support early rather than lose support by dithering about unvisioned and feared what-ifs.  Design it now to demonstrate how transit is not one mode in isolation, and get to work planning a less car-dependent transit-served thriving Mass Ave pedestrian district. Transit planners know that, but are constrained by the step-by-step federal process. NE Corridor Transit Coalition, 2011 neighborhood effort A different approach for Mass Ave: a Pedestrian District. The transit piece fully imagined: a Mass Ave Circulator that serves local needs while interfacing with rapid transit. An Alternative  Recommendation Stop 1/2 (near Bellefontaine & 10th) and Stop 3 at Delaware  are good and would contribute to the Mass Ave economy. But routing rapid transit down the Avenue would be disastrous.  But the 10th Street/Fort Wayne Street alternative  could place stations at both ends of Mass Ave as transit nodes at which multiple modes converge. Connect those stations via East 10th and Delaware Streets (southbound Delaware becomes a dedicated counter-flow lane) rather than encumber the  Avenue as a rapid transit route. Concurrently (the BIG idea, though hardly new) develop a  right-scaled local access circulator system along  Mass Avenue connecting to those end-of-avenue BRT or LRT stations and distributing transit users to multiple destinations all along the avenue.  Plan/design at that level of comprehensiveness concurrently to build support early rather than lose support by dithering about unvisioned and feared what-ifs.  Design it now to demonstrate how transit is not one mode in isolation, and get to work planning a less car-dependent transit-served thriving Mass Ave pedestrian district. Transit planners know that, but are constrained by the step-by-step federal process. The Washington D.C. circulator uses low -loor Van Hool buses that are a model for a branded vehicle running intersecting routes that link key regional center destinations and multimodal transit centers. An even smaller 30-foot long, 17 passenger  vehicle would work well on Mass Ave. A different approach for Mass Ave as a Pedestrian District The transit piece:  place BRT  or LRT near but not on Mass Avenue's southwest and northeast termini  (Delaware and Bellefontaine/East 10th  Streets respectively).  A series of roundabout intersections facilitate the BRT's swing off the NE Corridor/Monon alignment  to a Coca Cola Plant Redevelopment-integrated station and on towards Fort Wayne along 10th. Yes, a roundabout can work with even LRT;  a "smart" roundabout has metering signals to balance traffic loads with gaps,  and to allow transit to pass straight through the center island.  Add a stop near Fort Wayne and Central to provide access to the Old Northside. Develop a counter-flow dedicated BRT lane on one-way Delaware Street to facilitate a station at the southwest and/or Northwest corner of Delaware and New York, right at the beginning of Mass Avenue. The IndyStar site is currently in play as a mixed use development that could be leveraged to become a TOD, as could the parking lot at Regions Bank. Either, or both as an integrated development, would be ideal co-locates for a Mass Ave circulator stop and the rapid transit stop.   The DC Circulator uses low floor Van Hool buses that are a model for a  branded vehicle running  intersecting routes that link key regional center destinations and multi-modal transit centers. An even smaller 30' long 17 passenger vehicle would work well on Mass Ave. That circulator would troll the avenue at 5-10 minute intervals between these NW and SW termini and transit nodes. (which is a 10 minute-1.5 mile route each way....perfect!)  The circulator would connect to the proposed Washington Street Transit Center by a loop south on Alabama (shadowing the Cultural Trail), stopping at City market/CCB, continuing south to Washington Street, then back up Delaware to the Avenue. That would provide local access to and from the rapid transit stops and every destination along  the avenue with much smaller, quieter, slower, near zero-emission vehicles, with frequent stops and very short headway  between vehicles. That  describes an electric or hybrid tram or a hybrid circulator bus or even a trolley bus. This branded Mass Ave Circulator system would be a model for its counterparts: a Tinker Street Circulator (serving the IU Health complex...a huge employer) with which it interfaces at the East 10th TOD, and a Fountain Square Fletcher Place Circulator with which it interfaces at the Washington Street Transit Center. Needless to say this route also interfaces with the proposed Blue and Red Lines at the transit center as well.  This secondary network (or is it  really the primary network?) provides connectivity at a scale at which Rapid Transit cannot efficiently operate. The urban design piece: by incorporation of right-scaled transit specific to this pedestrian oriented district (we call it place-based transportation), much of the metered curbside parking and associated landscape beds can and should remain. The perceived need for wall to wall curbside parking for business viability would be reduced with distributed parking structures at ends of the avenue (and maybe at a central location) in place of surface lots,  with a distributing small bus/tram circulator.   That reduction in curbside parking demand allows more generous sidewalks, sidewalk cafes, more landscape, bicycle lane, but NOT more travel lanes or dedicated bus lanes. Some of that spatial gain is achieved by one or both sides going to parallel parking, reflective of the reduced need for curbside parking.  The wonderful landscape beds that help define Mass Ave remain, with minor reconfiguration since mid-block circulator stops don’t require a lot of infrastructure. Drive or walk down Mass Ave this spring and deny that landscape's importance to Mass Ave character and walkability. If done in conjunction with avenue terminating parking structure/stations, a circulator system would take away a lot of current parking/trolling congestion while distributing pedestrian traffic along the whole nearly mile-long Mass Ave (the park-once scenario of a true walkable district). The circulator also allows taking all big bus traffic and noise and speed off the avenue, with more emphasis on local access. Blocks become rooms with pedestrians crossing at-will from side to side as a Social Street in which pedestrians rule and cars are visitors. Think Monument Circle. The end-of-avenue nodes are the transfer points between all three modes; BRT or LRT, express bus and circulator.  Again, really cool, small, quiet, low-floor vehicles operating at 5-10 minute headway are key (with Mass Ave branding graphics rather than commercial wraps) in conjunction with parking structures at each end.  Imagine pre-theater or after-theater dinner at R Bistro without a driving/parking search near the Murat, or the same at Bazbeaux before visiting the (wished for) Heartland/Indie Film Screening Room at the inevitable Coca Cola Plant development. Technical Note: the Mass Ave BRT route appeals to transit planners because its 45D angle works well for large vehicles (allows turning at speed without large curb radii which are scarce downtown) and for the theoretical shortest route advantage of the hypotenuse.  Not a good reason in itself for route placement. Economic Development Note:  Pedestrian traffic and a sense of place, not commuter bus traffic, sustains the Avenue and is the future of the Avenue. The biggest potential increase of foot traffic correlates with downtown residential density, improved pedestrian facilities, reduction of parking place trolling while increasing overall parking capacity, and a circulator-scale transit system to serve local needs while interfacing with regional transit and supporting its huge appetite and fundamental need for ridership.  Long sentence....but it describes a true multi-valenced and interdependent system. And while we are dreaming, why not consider a Free Fare zone (or $1 a ride max) along the Avenue subsidized by the user fees generated by the two parking structures proposed at each end of the avenue.  Agreed that politically correct parking theory is that parking structures induce demand for congestion-generating car usage.  But reality is we are still commuter and car dependent….and maybe those parking structures ultimately get topped out with apartments and condos when we have a full-fledged transit system and don’t need them. The vision in 140 words for the time-challenged NE  Corridor Rapid Transit (Green Line) on East 10th/Fort Wayne/Delaware, with Mass Ave interface at the ends of the Avenue. Transit stops/nodes associated with mixed use development-integrated parking structures at each end of Mass Ave. A branded circulator system routed along Mass Ave from Bellefontaine/East 10th Street to a downtown transit center as an integral component of the regional Indy Connect system, but planned and implemented now in conjunction with new development. Continue to make Mass Ave a true pedestrian priority destination social street, more walkable and bicycle friendly, with a stunning year-round urban design/landscape sense of place and identity. Transit-integrated high-density mixed use development at the Coca-Cola site as Mass Ave's northeast terminus anchor and counterpart to its downtown anchor. Make it a car-share/bike-share hub as well. Develop mechanisms for  long term maintenance/sustainability for this walkable district infrastructure. Other POV's?  Leave your thoughts in the comment section...but whatever your attitude,  support the initiative to get transit funding past a recalcitrant state legislature that has no clue about the imperatives of regionalism. Recent Posts Meg Storrow elevated to ASLA Council of Fellows Website under construction: update & navigation tips New studio location…and its perfect! North Overlook, Iroquois Park, Louisville “BIG IDEA” for Parks and Open Space Wabash River Scenic Byway Published! Rewards of Historic/Cultural Resources State of the Art in Virginia Rapid Transit: The Downtown Approach Institute of Transportation Engineers [...]
#4| Institute of Transportation Engineers
#4| Institute of Transportation Engineers
Download PDF of the article The Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) published a peer-reviewed technical article in the April 2013 issue of the Journal of  Transportation.  While wonkish,  it demonstrates the background efforts SKA undertakes to achieve seemingly straightforward improvements to walkability.  In this case it was on behalf of the Midtown Indy  neighborhood of Indianapolis, for whom we prepared traffic calming, bicycle-pedestrian accommodations and urban design for its North Meridian Street-Westfield Boulevard-Central Canal Towpath intersection. Our environmental report for this federal enhancements-funded project included recommendations that went well beyond that intersection since effective multimodal transportation management considers networks as systems. The published case study centered on one local street intersection located some distance from the focus project, but important for its role within the overall network of walkability.   It’s interesting that the article’s publication occurs simultaneously with announcement by Smart Growth America / National Complete Streets Coalition that Indianapolis has placed first in the nation in that groups evaluation of Complete Streets policies for the Indianapolis Complete Streets Ordinance enacted in May 2012. Andrew and Michael deserve much credit for making the case for this intersection improvement in 2010 in the absence of supporting methodologies at the time.  And our friends in the Department of Public Works deserve kudos for accepting their logic before having the Complete Streets ordinance in place as policy.  It goes without saying that ourMidtown Indy client (then known as HARMONI) energized SKA with its collective determination to make this neighborhood people- rather than auto-centered, and for being part of conversations that led to adoption of Complete Streets by the city’s leaders. Authored by Michael Koslow, PE, John Kinsella, and Andrew Gast-Bray, Ph.D., AICP, CNU-A Special thanks to Andy Lutz and Nathan Sheets from the Indianapolis Department of Public Works, John Wright from the Indiana Department of Transportation, and Cynthia Zweber-Free from the Midtown Indy neighborhood association, all of whom and whose organizations were supportive throughout the study.  [...]
#3| Near Eastside Catalyst Plans
#3| Near Eastside Catalyst Plans
Storrow|Kinsella Associates prepared the East 10th Street Urban Design and Gateway Plan in 2009. Seven years ago...and a plan is considered to be aging after five years! But it hasn't spent that time gathering dust on a shelf. It had identified as high priority the remaking of the dreadful Interstate 65/69 "north split" underpass area from a barrier to a gateway to the near eastside neighborhoods. That has been implemented with great success. Our detailed design process for the gateway was accompanied by strategies that brought together multiple partners and agencies to fashion an inspiring connection between the Mass Ave district of downtown and the emergent near east side, a linking of three greenway trails, a celebration of the origin of the Indinapolis Cultural Trail and a catalyst for economic development that is only now achieving transformative critical mass. Additional priority project's are lining up, with the attached article describing one of them....see  feature story in the Urban Times. There are lots more ideas in that original plan that range from roundabouts to trail links to breaking through the railroad barrier. Its time. read article see project Recent Posts Karst Farm Greenway named 2015 Outstanding Indiana Trail Project Cincinnati Design Awards June 2015: East 10th Street Gateway Revisited Meg Storrow elevated to ASLA Council of Fellows New studio location…and its perfect! [...]
#2| Elkhart's Northwest Gateway News
#2| Elkhart's Northwest Gateway News
The Elkhart TRUTH - LOCAL BUSINESS: ELKHART COUNTY'S NORTHWEST GATEWAY PLAN CLOSER TO BECOMING A REALITY Published: Sunday, August 14, 2011 By Josh Weinhold, Reporter Motorists entering Elkhart County's northwest side could soon be greeted by a village. "The Village" is the working title for major proposed development in the county's so-called Northwest Gateway, the entrance into Elkhart from St. Joseph County at the corner of Old U.S. 20 and Ash Road. An effort to significantly improve an area county planning officials have called an eyesore, the project would include major changes to the makeup of Old U.S. 20 and aims to draw retail, residential and other destination sites to the land on either side of the road. Storrow Kinsella Associates, the Indianapolis consulting firm hired by the county last year to design the development, presented its initial plans to the gateway steering committee and county redevelopment commission last week. Now, county officials must make a series of decisions regarding how exactly they want the gateway to look - from the makeup of the road to the type of intersections to how accessible the area should be to pedestrians and bicyclists. Complicating matters are plans by St. Joseph County to overhaul the Ash/Old U.S. 20 intersection, which falls on the line between the two counties. That project is progressing rapidly, meaning Elkhart County officials must make certain decisions quicker than initially expected, so their plans for Old U.S. 20 development are in sync with St. Joseph County's. Those plans, Elkhart County officials said last week, will likely mean their development focus will be on the stretch of U.S. 20 between Liberty Drive and Sheridan Boulevard, just past the Walmart store built there in 2008. A main goal of the gateway project from its beginnings, officials said, was to set the Elkhart County entrance apart, and make a statement about the community to motorists. Because of St. Joseph County's plans, that distinction won't be able to happen at the county line, but at least shortly after it. "We're not going to be able to make that kind of design statement at Ash," said Mike Huber, a member of both the redevelopment commission and gateway steering committee. "But we will be able to say we're different visually, aesthetically." The county will consider installing roundabouts at several intersections, but the cost of right-of-way acquisitions may make stop lights a more sensible option. Officials will also have to choose between two different road designs presented by Storrow - a narrower style that would keep storefronts closer to the street or a wider style involving shared-use biking/walking paths and diagonal parking. Storrow staff have already started dialog with developers and corporate site selectors that could locate in The Village, which be bordered by the Elkhart Western Railroad line to the north and the St. Joseph River on the south. A drug store chain and assisted senior housing community have already shown the strongest interest, with the latter possibly in place in 18 to 24 months. Some local entities have shown interest, and the proposed use plan also has space for possible fast food restaurants and a convenience center. Fitting with the county's intention to create a one-stop community area at The Village, the use plan currently marks off space for a medium-density residential area, additional retail space and several special use spaces, which could be used for a riverfront restaurant, day care center or a fitness center. The development will be funded entirely through that area's tax increment finance district. Thus, starting development there quickly will be key, to help grow the tax pool the county can then draw from to pay for future phases of the project. The commission and steering committee will offer their take on Storrow's plan and make several decisions regarding development at a meeting later this month. Story Link: http://www.etruth.com/Know/News/Story.aspx?id=546800 © Copyright 2011 Truth Publishing Co.   Recent Posts New studio location…and its perfect! Wabash River Scenic Byway Published! Elkhart’s Northwest Gateway News 10th Street Connect10n News Iroquois Park, Louisville (presentation) [...]
#1| Connect the Dots on East 10th Street
#1| Connect the Dots on East 10th Street
INDYSTAR.COM 11:33 PM, Jul. 20, 2011 [feature story about storrow|kinsella-designed 1oth Street Connect10n project] LET'S CONNECT DOTS BETWEEN GREAT SPOTS erika.smith@indystar.com I'm no fan of road construction, especially the kind of construction that forces me to take a detour unless I'm walking or riding a bike. But sometimes it's just flat-out necessary -- and I'm not just talking about the need for smoother streets and sidewalks. That's short term. Sometimes, construction projects can have the long-term effect of setting an example for urban planning. This -- at least, I hope -- is the case with the 10th Street Legacy Gateway Project. Earlier this week, the city blocked off East 10th Street from College Avenue to Dorman Street. This area, at the northern tip of the Mass Ave. cultural district near Downtown, is where the Monon Trail and the Cultural Trail end. The trails should meet, but they don't. Instead, between them, there's a series of rusty, graffiti-tagged bridges, one of which drips brownish water onto passing cars and bicyclists. The gateway project will fix all of that, turning the area into someplace beautiful. There will be a new median with flowers, wider sidewalks, better lighting, repaved streets and public art. Finishing all of this will take until late November, although 10th Street will reopen to cars in September, and the entrance to the Monon will remain open throughout the project. "It'll look all shiny and new when it's done," said Tammi Hughes, executive director of the East 10th Street Civic Association. Indeed. But this is more than a beautification project. It's about connectivity. There are so many great places and spaces in Indianapolis. But only a few of them are actually connected by any sort of marked path. There's nothing to encourage people to wander or explore new neighborhoods on a whim. Sure, there's Monument Circle. There's the conservatory at Garfield Park. There's Eagle Creek Reservoir. There's Pan Am Plaza. There's the quaint strip of "downtown" Irvington and the funkiness of Fountain Square. But all of these places might as well be in different cities, as much as they're connected to one another. If you want to visit different parts of the city, for the most part, you still have to drive. And when people drive, they typically go from Point A to Point B. They don't wander. This is why I'm such a huge fan of the Cultural Trail. Until the start of its construction, there was no incentive for people to wander over to Mass Ave. if they were sitting over by the canal near West Washington Street. Or think about how many people just ignore University Park, the Indiana War Memorial Plaza, Veterans Memorial Plaza and the American Legion Mall unless there's an event. What would happen if Monument Circle were somehow more connected to those parks north of New York Street? How many more people would discover parts of Indianapolis that they've never known? These are the things that make a city feel like a community. When places are connected, we're connected.This is what the 10th Street Legacy Gateway Project could do for the rapidly revitalizing Near Eastside. "This will be a great way of connecting the vibrancy of Mass Ave. with the promise of East 10th Street," said David Forsell, president of Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, which is working on the project with a host of nonprofit, public and corporate partners.If it works, it would be an amazing example of what can happen across the city if we put more energy into connecting what we already have."This project," Forsell said, "is an example of the best that Indianapolis can be on many fronts." read more about the the East 10th Street payne connect10n   Recent Posts New studio location…and its perfect! Wabash River Scenic Byway Published! Elkhart’s Northwest Gateway News Connect the Dots on East 10th Street Iroquois Park, Louisville (presentation)  [...]

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