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Daily Commute

From a Civil Engineering planner who commutes from the west side of Indy to downtown - with different experience in summer vs winter months.

Photo of Jason Bowers
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Written by

Thank you for the opportunity to provide input. I have almost 25 years of experience as a civil engineering planner in the public and private sectors. I am highly interested in our transportation future collectively, and I am extremely excited about many new technologies that are influencing how we will travel in the near future. I have a lot to say regarding my commute.

My first suggestion is to create a limited access express route to downtown for west side commuters. 

I drive from home to downtown via surface streets Raceway Rd. south to 21st St. then east on 21st St. to Country Club then south to 10th St. then east on 10th St. to Cossell Rd. then southeast (Cossell turns into Michigan Rd.) then south on Holt Rd. to I-70 then east to Meridian St. then north to Meridian and South St. where I park. This is approx. 6 miles shorter round trip than getting on I-465 south at 10th St. to Sam Jones to I-70 east. If I wait until the end of the  peak hour, my travel time is approx. 24 minutes in both the AM and PM.

To summarize, it's the same amount of time to travel 80+% surface streets as it is to travel via an alternate route that is roughly 75% interstate.

Part 2 - I try to do my part to reduce congestion in the summer. I take advantage of free parking on McCarty south of Lucas Oil Stadium and ride my bike to my office at Meridian and Georgia St. every day beginning May 1st to October 31st (6 warm months). For the 6 cold months I park at South and Meridian Streets. For the past 5 years I have been permitted by the parking lot to go on hold for the summer months and resume parking in the winter. I was recently informed that I can no longer go on hold during the summer I now have to pay for all year or I can no longer park there for the monthly rate of $60 because they make more money off of daily parking than monthly parking. This is not conducive to my partial cycling commute in the summer. This also makes me angry and I wish I could do something to prevent this change. 

Part 3 - As a civil engineering professional, I am interested in all modes of transportation. I also love automobiles and I have a keen interest in auto racing particularly the Indy Car series and the Indy 500. I also enjoy changing the wheels on my car in the summer to a set of custom wheels and low profile tires. I attribute this to being a race fan but also my car looks a lot more sporty and I enjoy driving it more. Except that the pot holes are so numerous on so many roads that I drive on that I have damaged/ruined an entire set of wheels over the past almost 3 years. The pot holes are severe and they are dangerous. 

Part 4 - I am forced to commute via my personal vehicle from at least my house to a bus stop. I'm not aware of a location near my residence where I can park my vehicle to ride the bus. The nearest bus stop is approx. 1.25 miles from my house. There is not a safe route for me to travel this 1.25 miles via my bicycle or on foot. As mentioned previously the winter months I do not have a good solution for getting to the bus stop when it's cold. Plus why would I want to get in my car in the winter, drive a couple of miles to a parking location, and at that point when my car is just starting to get warm, I park, get out, and board a bus? 

Issues:

- The west side of Indy needs a faster more direct route to downtown Indianapolis.

- Commuting during winter months vs summer months (cold weather commute options).

- Finding ways to expand my efforts of lessening the amount of time / distance I commute via my personal vehicle and increasing the amount of time / distance I commute via my bike. 

- Better accessibility for pedestrians and bicyclists to get to bus stops. 

- Pot holes everywhere!


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Photo of Alexander Hoffmann

Jason Bowers Thank you for writing! I believe your background and knowledge of the area could be quite helpful throughout the challenge. The community working sessions would be a great place to get a conversation going about ideas and ways to work towards solutions for the issues you've stated. Is there a precedent for a focused route into a city elsewhere?