The Red Line will be great for the city, but other access points to the city's public transportation need to be elevated as well to ensure it's long term success.
I travel between my home in Carmel and work in downtown Indianapolis. Part of my drive takes me along the new Red Line on College Ave, a welcomed asset to the city. However, when traveling north of the Red Line, the bus stops are hard to spot/access or are dangerously close to the road with little room for more than a couple of people to wait. In some instances I've seen 10-12 people waiting in the driveway of a private citizen because there is no room to stand at the bus stop (86th and College Ave.) or children with backpacks walking along the non existent shoulder. Children, mobility-challenged, and able-bodied individuals are literally taking a health risk waiting for the bus.
I believe this accessibility issue is not just a problem along College between 75th and 96th St, with the lack of sidewalks and shoulders and close proximity of stops to cross traffic, but across the city. The solution can be simple.
I propose upgrading the cities bus stop visibility, making them easier to access and wait at while increasing safety, with the goal of increasing use of bus routes with attractive and safe bus stops. I believe the corridor of 75th-96th to be a key area to focus this project given it's proximity to the northern terminus of the Indy Go Red Line.
The upgrades would be modest and would fit into the existing infrastructure of the IndyGo system. Improvements include:
- Small concrete platforms/with minimal seating and standing 2-5 people, including a simple apparatus to protect waiting travelers from the elements
- Attractive lighting for morning/evening/nighttime travelers to entice ridership and increase perception of safety.
- Free wi-fi access for waiting travelers
- ADA compliant stops (where feasible in the initial phase)
- "School safe" stops in areas where children may need to use public transit
The solution is not expensive and doesn't require the transformation of entire street system. With a few small upgrades we can awaken and entice our citizens to take full advantage of a transit system we should all rely on more.