Could a simple tweak in zoning rules nudge city-dwellers toward buses, bicycles, car shares and other energy saving means of transportation? Indianapolis city planners think so.
They are offering developers huge savings — tens of thousands of dollars on large projects — by reducing the required number of parking spaces for some developments if bike racks, electric-car charging stations or other “green” amenities are offered instead.
The change is included in the recent overhaul of the county’s 1969 zoning code, called Indy Rezone, which is moving toward final adoption by the City-County Council. It’s unclear how many developers will jump at the offer. And if they do, whether residents here can be swayed to part with their cars — or even do without them for a day or two.
“Drive, drive, drive has been the Central Indiana paradigm for years and many developers still have that mentality,” said Tammara Tracy, principal city planner. “We are trying to ease them into the new urban model with carrots.”
A major goal of the zoning re-write is to improve walkability and transportation options in the city and increase greenspace. It’s similar to plans in other cities and dovetails with many initiatives of Mayor Greg Ballard, such as the Indiana Pacers Bikeshare, expansion of trails system, the BlueIndy car share and the bus rapid transit plan . . .Now you see why Ballard is stealing hundreds of the most valuable public parking spaces across the City for Blue Indy's exclusive benefit. Future private developers will be offered incentives to add charging stations for Blue Indy cars so the monopoly electric car sharing business can fatten its profits. Some might wonder what impact that will have on ACS/Xerox's 50-year lease of the City's parking meter assets since the most-used public parking assets managed by the private company are coming from their stock. Don't worry about them. City taxpayers are required to reimburse the private company when it takes away any of its parking spaces. The existing private parking garage owners who contribute heavily to the politicians' campaigns will also love the idea because it forces more people to pay to park in their garages as fewer and fewer metered, on-street spots become available.