A group of concerned bicycle riders rode a “Ride of Silence” on May 18th. This report from Fox59 News highlights the ride, the concerns of the group, and their ideas for the future. In 2021, Bicycle Garage Indy (BGI) lost one of its long-time employees, Frank Radaker, to a bike-car collision at the 86th Street crossing of the Monon Trail. BGI’s Connie Szabo-Schmucker led the ride and is helping organize riders to advocate for safer crossings. Indianapolis Bike Safety.
Some public hearings regarding zoning and variances are going virtual in January. The hearing held for the proposed redevelopment of the Landmark Property at 96th and Meridian (SE corner) will be held virtually. Nora Alliance submitted the following comment, opposing the plan as it is now proposed. Instructions for the hearing are below. The Hearing may be accessed by using the web address given below for the event (preferable method) or by calling one of the phone numbers provided here:
Purple blocks represent a 7-story buildings adjacent to College Commons.
MDC January 19, 2022 Meeting, at 1:00 PM:
United States Toll Free 1-844-992-4726
United States Toll +1-408-418-9388
Access code: 2344 600 4833
Please log in five to ten minutes prior to the meeting. You may consult the planner for the petition for directions or clarification needed regarding virtual public hearings.
Due to the critical level of positive COVID-19 cases in Marion County, the Public Hearings for this meeting shall be virtually held. For instructions in how to participate, please see the Webex instructions (under the Metropolitan Development Commission tab online at https://www.indy.gov/activity/dmd-public-hearing-documents) or contact the Division of Planning to receive specific hearing instructions.
At a meeting hosted by Nora Community Council and attended by Nora Alliance President, James Williams, representatives from Crew Car Wash presented a proposal for a car wash to be located in Nora at the current Steak’n Shake located at 86th & Westfield.
We have completed our review of the preliminary proposal and conclude that a car wash at this location is inconsistent with the Nora 2021 Community Plan and is an excluded use in the Marion County Land Use Plan under the Village Mixed-Use typology with Town Center overlay. Put plainly, a car wash does not fit within the planning regimes for our community. The Nora Alliance, therefore, cannot welcome the proposed development in the Nora Center area.
The mission of Nora Alliance (a group of neighbors and businesses) is “to support and encourage a spirit of community cooperation in Nora Center to promote strong amenities, connected people, and a vibrant built environment.” A portion of the work we’ve done in collaboration with neighbors, business and city planners is to consider Nora in the context of the city’s comprehensive plan, and to overlay a plan generated by Nora Alliance and our neighbors, Nora 2021.
The plans mentioned here help guide our discussion of projects of significant community impact. With regard to the proposed car wash, we sent a letter, copied to neighborhood groups and city officials, to Crew to express our viewpoints on the proposal. It can be viewed here.
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.
On July 20th, community members met with Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Inc. (KIB) for the Nora Alliance’s first meeting regarding Nora’s Keystone & 86th Street Gateway. This is a summary of that meeting, and invitation for continued public input.
The Keystone Avenue Bridge at 86th Street, currently under construction, serves as a gateway to the Nora community. However, the bridge, exit ramps, and surrounding land have been neglected for years, collecting trash, invasive plants, and the occasional homeless person camping out in the overgrown wooded areas. With the current construction of the Keystone Bridge, we have an opportunity to give this area a facelift. Read the post “Nora’s 86th St / Keystone Bridge Gateway Beautification Project” for more about the project’s background.
KIB’s Mark Adler, Janet Baker, and planner David Roth led the group in a review of the Keystone Bridge construction and opportunities for a beautification project. Mark Adler presented information on the current conditions of the interchange and construction (scheduled for completion in the late fall 2015), followed by an open discussion. Here’s what we heard:
- current construction remediation requires tree replacement, but without maintenance plans — this is an opportunity to segue with a beautification project and community-driven design
- community desire to preserve existing tree canopy for noise reduction and wildlife
- public art – look at concepts and location within the interchange
- create vegetated edge plantings
- reduce or eliminate mowings with native platings wildflowers and tall grasses
- improved signage for the interchange
- plan / public art that embraces the strengths and weaknesses of the interchange (e.g., power line structures, the community history)
- homelessness, pan handlers and drug use are past and/or current issue
- open up line of sight at ramp exits / lights
- honeysuckle in the area (invasive species)
- traffic noise affecting nearby residential
- soil may be compressed in construction staging areas
- don’t create any plans that preclude a future sidewalk / bike path under Keystone Bridge
- need more community input on gateway concept – gateway to where? Nora community / neighborhoods (west)? Keystone businesses (east)?
KIB, with planner David Roth, will take the feedback they’ve gathered during this first meeting and put together some preliminary plans for the interchange. Within the next few weeks, the Nora Alliance will schedule a second public meeting to present and provide further input to the plans. With plans in hand, KIB will work with the community to identify funding for the project implementation and maintenance.
We welcome continued feedback during this process! If you would like to provide additional input while the plans are being developed, please contact Mark Adler, KIB Director of Special Projects.
What would a nice gateway to Nora look like? With your help, we will work with Keep Indianapolis Beautiful to answer that question.
The Keystone Avenue Bridge at 86th Street, currently under construction, serves as a gateway to the Nora community. However, the bridge, exit ramps, and surrounding land have been neglected for years, collecting trash, invasive plants, and the occasional homeless person camping out in the overgrown wooded areas. With the construction of the Keystone Bridge, we have an opportunity to give this area a facelift.
- to engage the Nora community in proactive planning with the assistance of Keep Indianapolis Beautiful
- to help address the homeless population that are living in this area from time to time
- to meet the community wants and needs with a design based on community input
- to determine what gets put in place in areas that have already been cleared by the construction process
- to determine how to maintain wildlife / greenspace as desired by the community
- to determine a tree maintenance plan so newly planted trees are maintained and thrive after construction crew is gone (these do not otherwise have a maintenance plan, and trees often die after the construction phase)
- to work with Keep Indianapolis Beautiful to help in the planning and design phase, and then in seeking funding to implement the plan
The goal for the July meeting is for a designer to capture what is important to the community at this space so a design can be created. The goal for the August meeting is for the designer to come back with a rough drawing capturing feedback from July and gather final feedback before getting a solid plan to go forth with.
Dates and times for the meetings are still being determined. Feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns about the project. Stay tuned for more information!
Walkability is high on the list of priorities identified by attendees of the first Nora Alliance meeting – nearly half (48%) of the submitted comments revolve around sidewalks, trails, pedestrian connectivity, safe routes and walkability.
Safe communities are livable communities. Here we focus on a few of the critical safety concerns – our arterial roads – that call out for complete streets in Nora.
A Critical Safety Issue
A 2014 report, Dangerous by Design, by Smart Growth America and the National Complete Streets Coalition finds that ‘incomplete’ streets are a major culprit in the deaths of thousands of Americans every year. Arterials designed only for cars, such as Ditch Road, College Avenue, and Westfield Boulevard in Nora, are the most dangerous.
We’ve all seen it – school kids, families, elderly, handicapped, bikes, cars and buses sharing some of the same Nora streets every day (and night). There are a few particular offenders. These are arterial streets near schools, churches, shopping, and bus stops, having typically 40-MPH speed limits and no shoulder. The lack of sidewalks and/or off-street multi-use paths poises serious concern for pedestrians and motorists alike.
In the United States, in the decade from 2003 through 2012, more than 47,000 people died while walking on our streets. That is 16 times the number of people who died in natural disasters during in the same ten years. In 2012, pedestrians accounted for nearly 15 percent of all traffic deaths, up 6 percent from 2011 and representing a five-year high.
What Do You Think We Need For Nora?
As we work together towards proactive planning and livability issues, let’s look at how to make Nora’s streets safer for everyone.
Last summer (July 2014), City officials reached out and asked for what the public wants to see done.
“So we encourage them to contact their councilors, come with letters for them to sign that we can deliver to their councilors,” said Department of Public Works spokesperson Stephanie Wilson. “You know, anything we can do to continue to draw attention to the need for the Rebuild Indy 2 plan and get people excited about it and let them know it’s not going to happen unless they contact their representative.” (WTHR)
If we are asked again, will we have a collective response for the Nora area? Use the comment section below to share your story about walkable / bikeable streets.
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