Is it possible for Hoosiers to trade in their cars for mass transit? A friend of mine who recently moved from Indianapolis to Chicago eschews her car in favor of taking the train to her job in downtown Chicago. She avoids the snarl of morning highway traffic, not to mention parking fees and premium prices at the pump. It’s easy, it’s convenient, and in fact, public train and bus ridership in Chicago is the highest it has been in 22 years.
My friend adjusted out of necessity (have you tried driving in Chicago during rush hour??), but I believe Indy’s citizens can and will make the change too. If Indianapolis wants to continue its evolution into a top-tier city, it needs to upgrade its mass transit system so that it’s more user-friendly and comprehensive. The riders will follow. You can visit Indy Connect to learn more, become an advocate and get involved!
This comprehensive video lays out the intended future of the new Indianapolis mass transit system.
As this week’s Indianapolis Star laid out, mass transit in the form of rapid transit buses will enable commuters in Indy’s rapidly growing northern suburbs to avoid the traffic headaches of 1-69, I-465 and U.S. 31 that can be a daily nightmare. An improved mass transit system will give those in the urban core who don’t have reliable transportation now the opportunity to commute to jobs in the suburbs and at the airport. If you’ve ever tried to drive to and park at IUPUI or downtown for a Pacers or Colts game, it’s easy to envision how much mass transit could help relieve congestion and jockeying for parking. For a variety of commuters, mass transit is a win all around.
Undoubtedly, a good mass transit system will also attract development to Central Indiana. Employers need for their employees to get to work, after all, and mass transit is one way to help guarantee that. And the commercial and residential development around stations that is a given in cities with mass transit would be an important gain for Indy.
With other cities the size and scope of Indy embracing mass transit (read about Charlotte), and with a viable, fiscally conservative proposal on the table, it’s time for Indy to make this investment in its future. Please get involved, write your legislatures and enjoy the ride!
Have you lived in other cities with good mass transit systems? What is your take on mass transit for Indianapolis? Let me know in the comments!