We are blessed to have such a fun and energetic group of volunteers who beautified the Monon @ 86th St Trailhead for Earth Day and the Great Indy Cleanup. Thanks to the Nora Alliance and partners for sponsoring the event. And to you beautiful people who volunteered your weekend, a huge thanks to each any every one of you!
For all its wonderful assets (like great schools, mature trees, shopping and Monon Trail), Nora still has some of the greatest need for pedestrian infrastructure. A recent study maps Indianapolis’ missing pedestrian walkways (i.e., sidewalks and multi-use paths) and provides a tool to help identify where investment should be focused. It reveals the gaps in the pedestrian network and prioritizes each missing section based on proximity to destinations, population density, and demographic factors that may contribute to an area’s particular transit needs.
Note: The College Ave Trail from 86th St to 91st St, one of Indy’s highest ranked missing walkways, is nearing completion!
About the Map
Missing pedestrian walkway segments are color coded from low to high priority based on their proximity to available destinations, population density, and social indicators.
Using 2014 data of Indianapolis’ existing pedestrian network* as a reference (i.e., sidewalks and multi-use trails), missing walkway segments are mapped along primary and secondary arterial roads and collector streets that host major bus routes. The resulting map represent the gaps in the existing pedestrian network along the city’s main road corridors. Each missing walkway segment is then scored based its proximity to population density and social indicators (i.e., net social index concentrations). For example, segments shown in red (high priority) touch areas containing both high net population density and high scores for social indicators representing potential pedestrian infrastructure need, such as income, minority status, education, linguistic isolation, and age (2010 Census; 2013 ACS).
Additionally, missing walkway segments received scores for their proximity to 5- or 10-minute walk radius around destinations. Destinations include public libraries, college campuses, primary schools, secondary schools, vocational schools, museums, supermarkets, recreation facilities, greenways, parks, future Red Line bus rapid transit (BRT) stops, and city bus stops.
The scores for each segment are tallied and the results are used to rank the missing walkway segments from low to high in terms of their priority for future development.
Efforts are underway in Indianapolis to enhance walkability, as demonstrated by its recently adopted Complete Streets Ordinance and the Health By Design et.al. Indy WalkWays initiative. A large land area and limited budget require the City find tools and strategies to efficiently and effectively develop and maintain its infrastructure. This includes finding ways to prioritize the types of pedestrian infrastructure needed to enhance walkability, and the location of that infrastructure.
The map of Nora is part of a city-wide study of Indy’s Most Needed Pedestrian Walkways by Jill Saligoe-Simmel, Ph.D. Jill is a resident of Nora.
On September 26, 2015, the Nora Alliance held its first Nora 2021 meeting and collected dozens of comments on the community’s Liabilities, Assets, Needs and Desires (LAND). The top ten most cited ideas in each category were used to develop an online survey made available online throughout the month of October.
In all, 124 people responded to the online survey. The results, presented below, provide a ranking of community Assets, Liabilities, Needs and Desires. They will be used as input to planning future projects for Nora 2021. Comments to the survey were also gathered and will be used as input.
Great crosswalks send the message that people who walk are important.
Improving walkability doesn’t always have to mean significant infrastructure investment. An important part of a more walkable Nora is enhancing the pedestrian infrastructure that we already have. This includes maintaining crosswalks that allow pedestrians to safely and comfortably cross busy street traffic.
The Nora Alliance recently submitted a request to the Indianapolis Department of Public Works (DPW) for crosswalk maintenance. The request addresses immediate needs at 6 intersections in central Nora with high volume of pedestrians in substantial conflict with vehicular traffic. These are primarily existing crosswalks in need of paint marking maintenance and minor enhancements. Most are already signalized for pedestrians.
Monon Trail @ 86th St Crossing – Repainting the crosswalk for the Monon crossing at 86th St. This crosswalk is very heavily used. We request the width of the crosswalk be increased, if possible, to better accommodate the higher volume of people walking, riding bikes, skating, and wheelchairs often all crossing at the same time. Additionally, we request that new “piano key” (or diagonal) crosswalk lines be painted at the bank and shopping center parking lots ingress/egresses that crosses the trail.
86th St @ North Central High School – We request “piano key” style painting of the signalized crosswalks at 86th St (a main entrance to North Central HS), and adding crosswalk painting on the northside of 86th St.
Of course, maintaining existing crosswalks is just one piece of the bigger picture. Want a more walkable Nora? Join us on November 21 as we identify potential projects for the Nora community #NORA2021.
Construction is nearing completion on the College Avenue Trail! The project will provide a safe pedestrian off-street trail along this often congested section of College Avenue between 86th St. and 91st St. that currently has no sidewalks or shoulder.
Getting an off-street pedestrian trail or new sidewalks in a community can take years of hard work. Indeed, for the past 3- to 4- years several people in Nora have been advocating for an off-street trail along College Avenue between 86th Street and 91st Street. Some of the people spearheading the trail include George Robinson, former athletic director at First Baptist Church, Barry Wood, and members of Hope Church. It serves as an example of what community pro-active planning can achieve.
Early details on the project are provided by Benjamin Easley, Public Information Officer / Department of Public Works:
- The College Avenue Trail will be an off-street asphalt trail similar to the one on 91stStreet. The trail on 91st Street narrows down to a sidewalk at 91st/College
- There will be a crosswalk connection at the signal at 91st/College
- The College Ave trail will be on the west side of the road
- There will be pedestrian signals at 86th/College as well as 91st/College
Thanks to ReBuildIndy, DPW, and all the people involved in making this trail happen.
There is a community sidewalk dedication/celebration at First Baptist Church on November 22 at 11:30 – the public is welcome!
At the October Nora 2021 meeting, we were joined by special guest speaker Scott Stulen. Scott is the Curator of Audience Experiences and Performance, Indianapolis Museum of Art, and a resident of Nora.
Scott presented an exciting array of projects from Indianapolis and around the country, with particular attention to places that are similar in character to Nora’s suburban location. Some key takeaways from Scott’s presentation: start small, keep it fun, (art isn’t for everyone), just do it.
Scott Stulen is a curator, artist, writer and dj whose work explores new forms of audience engagement, immersive experiences and collaborative platforms. He is the Curator of Audience Experiences and Performance at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, former Project Director of mnartists.org at the Walker Art Center and Associate Curator at the Rochester Art Center. He is currently leading a new division at the IMA (ARTx) to engage new audiences with immersive experiences throughout the museum and grounds along with curating all performing art programs.
We kicked off the first NORA 2021 event with special guest acting Director of Metropolitan Development Department, City of Indianapolis, Brad Beaubien. Brad is an award-winning certified urban planner with a commitment to community service, a passion for vibrant communities, and a focus on community empowerment, planning and design policy, and plan integration.
Brad’s presentation (provided below) was the perfect set-up to the larger conversation of how we as a collective community can influence and shape the future of Nora.
Brad offered lots of insights into the management of this vast city of ours from a planning and physical space perspective, also providing a razor-sharp look at where shifts are taking place in demographics and market demand and how that relates to the physical characteristics of suburban communities like ours. He wrapped up by discussing some of the tools available for communities, showing us exactly who our competition is, and giving us a parting charge.
So What Do We Do?
Brad left us with the following food for thought as he described the challenges and tools available to preserve and enhance our community:
- City Government has very little funding for anything except maintenance. Our direct investment dollars are mostly limited to low and moderate income areas.
- Sidewalks are absolutely critical, but destinations to walk to are what make walkable communities.
- Private development is what builds neighborhoods and builds cities. Embrace it. Guide it. Leverage it.
- The only significant way City Government has to invest in neighborhood transformation is through value capture mechanisms like TIF.
- Put creative placemaking in everything you do. Suburbs were built to be the same. The future wants authentic.
- Economic Improvement Districts are the way to regain the local focus erased by Unigov.
Lastly, Brad left us with a parting charge as we consider the future for NORA 2021 and beyond:
- Value is created by demand, not supply.
- What the current and future market is demanding is changing.
- How can Nora evolve to respond to this change and grow its value?
Next Up: Placemaking
Your invited to join us at the next NORA 2021 Event, October 24, where we’ll focus on… placemaking!
Many thanks to the crowd that gathered on Saturday morning at the Dean Evans Community & Education Center (WTSC) on Woodfield Crossing and 86th to discuss the future of the Nora community. We hope you came away feeling more informed, engaged and enthusiastic about the future of Nora within the city of Indianapolis. Thanks also to Washington Township Schools, Whole Foods and Brad Beaubien, for their gracious contributions.
The morning’s speaker, acting Director of City Planning, Brad Beaubien, was the perfect set-up to the larger conversation of how we as a collective community can influence and shape the future of Nora. See his full presentation here. Brad offered lots of insights into the management of this vast city of ours from a planning and physical space perspective, also providing a razor-sharp look at where shifts are taking place in demographics and market demand and how that relates to the physical characteristics of suburban communities like ours.
NORA 2021 is community-led planning focused on Nora’s future, and Brad gave us perspective to “play where the puck is going.”
The second half of the meeting participants provided fast-paced input to a community Liabilities, Assets, Needs and Desires (LAND) assessment. Click here to view the uncondensed list of ideas from the Sept 26 event.
- Washington Township SchoolsSeptember 18, 2020 - 3:35 pm
- Nora Center Work Group Comments on Car Wash ProposalSeptember 9, 2020 - 5:02 pm
- Update: Public Input into 91st & College proposalsFebruary 11, 2020 - 4:09 pm
- Proposed transportation complex to replace soccer fields at 91st & CollegeDecember 7, 2019 - 3:27 pm