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December 4, 2012 Minutes

Posted 5:17 PM by

MONON CORRIDOR


This meeting took place at Developer Town (5301 North Winthrop Avenue) with approximately 75 neighbors and residents attending.  Mary Owens (MKNA LUC Chair) opened the meeting with an introduction that explained the need to update the Meridian Kessler Neighborhood Plan, the purpose of the meeting, and identified that portion of the neighborhood that would be discussed.  She encouraged those in attendance to provide their thoughts about future development along the Monon corridor.  Tom Gallagher made a presentation about form-based zoning.  This was followed by Ms. Owens who explained how the neighborhood had been divided into nine different planning areas, each of which would be discussed at neighborhood meetings (three of the areas had already been discussed at previous meetings).

Ms. Owens then prefaced the discussion of each of the areas along the Monon Trail by asking the following questions:  what are our fears/deal breakers for the future of the area; what needs to be preserved; what needs to be improved; and, how to improve the relationship between the neighborhood and the trail.

54th to 52nd Streets along the Monon Trail
A concern was expressed about the plethora of overhead utility lines.  A point, however, was made that to bury these lines would involve a large financial investment that the utility companies are not prepared to undertake.  As future infrastructure improvements are made, consideration should be given to installing utilities underground.

High intensity industrial zoning along portions of the trail raised questions about the negative impact on adjacent and surrounding properties.  It was noted that an overlay district of form-based zoning could provide tools to improve the relationship between that zoning district and the neighborhood, with the underlying zoning remaining unchanged.  Someone suggested that mixed-use along the trail would be most appropriate and might include incubator space for start-up businesses, professional offices, and residential use.  In order to maintain the character of the neighborhood, height of new buildings should be limited to three stories and have a visual presence toward the Monon Trail.  It was suggested that perhaps a boutique hotel would be appropriate to serve those visiting Butler University.

There was a long discussion about the lack sidewalks, the poor condition of existing sidewalks, and the need for sidewalks to be contiguous in an effort to provide better east/west access to the Monon Trail for the neighbors.  It was felt that contiguous sidewalks on both sides of the streets should be installed from College Avenue east to the Monon Trail along 54th Street and 52nd Street.  Someone suggested that 53rd Street be improved and a trail head installed.  It was also noted that joggers use the street rather than sidewalks and that new sidewalks should be constructed to meet the needs of all potential users.

There was support voiced for transit accompanied with density.  Someone advised that two different routes from Carmel were being studied – College Avenue and Keystone Avenue.

There was the desire to maintain the current quiet, walkable, family-friendly character of the neighborhood, with a balance of neighborhood businesses.  Someone noted the issues related to the number of bars in Broad Ripple and the importance of maintaining a balance, without an over abundance of bars.

Lack of parking throughout the area was identified as an issue that needed to be addressed.  There were comments related to current specific areas and the need to identify/stripe parking spaces.  This would direct drivers to parking spaces and improve the safety of pedestrians who may be present.  There are areas where striping should be changed to provide for travel lanes, bike lanes, and parking on one side of the street.  Pedestrian safety would then be improved through organizing these multiple activities.

Other suggestions for improvements included pedestrian-scaled lighting, landscaping, sidewalks along Winthrop Avenue, more parks/green space/pocket parks, urban/community gardens, art center, and connections to the neighborhoods to the east of the Monon Trail.

49th Street along the Monon Trail
A photograph of Indy Hostel was presented to the group.  It was the general consensus of those in attendance that this type of use is appropriate for the neighborhood.

A need was expressed for sidewalks in this area, along with a pocket park at 50th Street.

It was suggested that chain link fencing should be removed if at all possible.  In the alternative, steps could be taken to minimize the visual impact.  If appropriate, barbed wire fencing should be removed, particularly around the sub-station property (now owned by Brighthouse).

46th Street along the Monon Trail
There was general agreement that the storage facilities in the area needed to be maintained and cleaned up.  It was suggested that shrubs or shade trees should be planted to beautify this area.

44th to 42nd Streets along the Monon Trail
Photographs of the School for the Deaf, Sullivan & Poore, and fencing on the fairgrounds property were presented to the group.  There was a question raised about future plans for Sullivan & Poore.

It was suggested that community gardens might be a possibility on the fairground property.

Overall Comments along the Corridor
-The appearance of the Monon Trail could be improved with landscaping the entire length.
-Alleys should be improved for multi-use.
-Abandoned vehicles and houses are a concern and should be addressed by working with the Department of Code Enforcement and Health and Hospital.
-An “outreach” program should be created to assist property owners with improvements to their property.
-There is a need to improve the overall “streetscape” of the neighborhood – including, but not limited to traffic calming, alleys, lighting, green infrastructure, etc.

Ms. Owens closed the portion of the meeting for public input by explaining that the next steps would be to schedule public meetings for the remaining areas of the neighborhood by the end of 2013 and the preparation of the updated plan that would include those elements necessary to create a form-based regulating plan that would be a second document separate from the neighborhood plan.

Jerrey Finnegan made a presentation about the ongoing efforts for installation of neighborhood traffic calming devices and improvements in infrastructure.  He reported that the committee meets frequently with the Department of Public Works to discuss infrastructure priorities and current improvements throughout the neighborhood.  The committee also coordinates with the needs of individual property owners.  It was also noted that the committee is involved and spearheaded the Safe Routes to School program in the neighborhood.

After Thoughts
If alleys are properly maintained, residents may be more likely to use them for parking which would provide additional on-street parking for commercial uses.  Additionally, consideration should be given to implementing permit parking for residents along 52nd and 54th Streets.

New multi-story buildings along the Monon Trail should be well designed and appropriately located.  As the height is increased, the upper stories should “step back” in order to avoid a tunnel effect along the corridor.

Access along the Monon Trail should be increased - users popping on and off would improve the safety.  Open space/parks could be incorporated along the Monon Trail at appropriate locations (i.e. Canterbury Park).  How could Arsenal Park be connected to the Monon Trail?

There should be additional discussions about those properties adjacent to those that abut the Monon Trail to include how existing residential properties would be buffered from more intense (commercial / industrial) uses along the Monon Trail.

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Minutes of DPW Infrastructure Meeting

Posted 8:24 AM by

Monday, June 25, 2012 at DPW Engineering Office:   Attending:  Nathan Sheets, Jason Koch, Natalie Derrickson, Jerrey Finnegan, Alicia Byers

Using the document “Meridian-Kessler Long Range Traffic Calming Plan” as a basis for discussion, we began by discussing the general terms on Page 1.

                   Note was made that the “specific crosswalk design” suggested to denote Safe Routes to Schools crossings is a substance called “duratherm” and requires new asphalt paving to be installed.  DPW felt that this may certainly be a possibility in the future, however we would need to wait until such resurfacing would be scheduled for each particular intersection. 

                  Regarding the request for “raised crosswalks” (hereafter properly called “speed tables”)--- a trial of speed tables was made on Georgia Street, and was felt not to be elevated enough to have a calming effect.  Therefore, DPW suggests we hold on this request until such time as this traffic calming measure may be improved. Further, this change would also require repaving.

                  Nathan did feel that Indiana State Law supports mandatory traffic stops when any pedestrian or bicycle is in a marked crosswalk intersection.  Towards that end, they were amenable to the placement of “MUTCD” crossing signage, initially perhaps, at Safe Routes to School crossings, or other areas of high pedestrian/bicycle use. (DPW noted that a trial of such a sign for the International School at 49th and Boulevard was found to be quite successful in the calming of traffic).

                  Regarding “speed humps”—several criteria must be met before DPW may even consider the feasibility of speed hump placement.  Among these criteria are: Vehicular activity less than 2000 cars/day and assessment of property owner impact with a 75% favorable position of those affected property owners.  Once these criteria are met, DPW would conduct a traffic volume study for both current and proposed future impact, including an assessment of the amount of “cut through” traffic, as well as a speed study which would have to demonstrate that 85% of vehicles were traveling in excess of 35 MPH.

                  Marking of parking in the curbside lane for areas of increased parking on a regular basis (such as CFI, Immaculate Heart Church and School , Bethlehem Lutheran Church, School 70, First Meridian Heights Presbyterian Church, and St Joan of Arc Church and School—DPW felt that a trial marking of Central Avenue, perhaps at one location initially (St Joan of Arc Church) might be possible, with expansion to marking other curbside lanes as indicated above in the future.

                  Regarding “curb bump outs” and the possibility of constructing them to accept plants and other landscaping—DPW is open to the possibility of plant-able bump outs, but notes that they cannot be responsible for their maintenance.  Towards that end, DPW prepares an “MOU” (Memorandum of Understanding) to be agreed to by a major not for profit neighborhood organization (in our case, MKNA) or possibly with individual home owners, who would agree to be responsible for the maintenance of these bump outs.  For those neighbors unwilling to sign the MOU, the city would place paved bump outs. Natalie will provide us with the necessary “flora permit” for those bump outs which would be planted.

Regarding Central Avenue specifically—

                                    DPW is receptive to the speed limit on Central Avenue being decreased from its current limit of 35 MPH to 30 MPH which will match the other neighboring north/south streets of Pennsylvania and Washington Blvd.  This seemed reasonable in light of the fact that Central Avenue traverses all the churches and schools located in Meridian Kessler, and is considered a major route for Safe Routes to School.  Nathan will begin exploration of this change, and will notify our committee as he moves forward.  It was decided that bringing our City/County councillors on board would be a good idea as this proposal begins to advance.

                                    DPW is also open to consider the remarking of Central Avenue to eliminate the current lane marking which divides the north/south lanes into two lanes, while keeping the center double yellow line, thereby making Central Avenue a two lane street which will match the other neighboring north/south streets of Pennsylvania and Washington Blvd.  Central Avenue will continue to have unrestricted curb side parking. Consideration will also be given to marking a bicycle lane on Central Avenue (the request has been similarly made for Pennsylvania and Washington). They will consult the city’s proposed bicycle route plan which has been made public (and which does indicate Central Avenue for a bicycle lane in the future).

Jerrey discussed the proposal made by Forest Hills residents (and which held an unusually high percentage of consensus on a small sampling) proposing central islands at the “points” of such streets which have a high rate of “cut through” traffic.  DPW is open to this proposal, and informed us that while DPW will build the infrastructure, the neighbors would be responsible for the completion of any fountain/statuary/planting etc contained within.  This would be accomplished by an MOU. It was felt by DPW that early involvement of City/County councillors would be helpful for a project such as this.

Alicia reported the result of Safe Routes to School’s effort to move the curbside parking on 49th St.  She indicated that while there was nearly unanimous neighbor opposition to that specific proposal, the ensuing conversations with property owners on 49th St led to a mutually satisfying resolution of the safety issue concerns.  Yet another wonderful example of neighbors coming together to resolve a problem!!  Alicia will forward the final consensus to Nathan for his review, with a discussion of moving forward to implementation to follow.

It was also noted that Indygo’s representative Annette Darrow, will be consulted by DPW prior to any structural changes made regarding traffic flow.  Thus independent consultation by MKNA is not needed.

IN SUMMARY:

 Nathan will begin exploring the steps necessary to implement a 30 MPH speed limit on Central Avenue.  Alicia and Jerrey will move forward to bring our City/County councillors on board once Nathan has contacted us as to the steps involved to realize this goal.

Nathan will speak with DPW Operations regarding the remarking of Central Avenue, the placement of curb lane parking markings along Central Avenue for one block north and south and the block adjacent to St Joan of Arc Church.  If this is found to be acceptable, DPW will pursue consideration of similar markings along other areas of Meridian-Kessler (specifically noted, the above mentioned churches and schools involving Central Avenue and parts of Washington Blvd, 49th and Penn, College Avenue).   He will also begin to explore the marking of a bicycle lane on Central Avenue, as a trial as well.

Natalie Derrickson will be the primary contact regarding future meetings and discussion.

Alicia and Jerrey will lead the Meridian-Kessler Plan Committee in prioritizing the many suggestions listed in the “Traffic Calming” document in the order of 1-3. This document will be submitted to the above listed attendees so that it may be consulted periodically as DPW moves forward with its budget process.  This conversation typically begins in June of the year preceding the budget year.  Our committee will plan to meet in June of 2013 when DPW begins its budget process for the year 2014.  This will allow the Meridian-Kessler Plan Committee to present the proposals to and elicit new suggestions from the neighborhood at large, as the MKP moves forward with its Form-Based Code planning in conjunction with the city’s DMD and Kathleen Blackham.

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Indianapolis, IN 46205
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