Friday, June 13, 2008

Light Rail Coming To Indy?

The Star's Dan McFeely says area metropolitan planners are recommending a light rail, 19-mile diesel train to run from downtown Indianapolis to 146th Street in Fishers to the northeast at a cost of $160 million. If it's done right, I think the train would become very popular. Here's one big drawback to what is being proposed:

The proposed commuter route here -- it would run from 6 to 9 a.m. and from 4 to 6 p.m. at 30-minute intervals -- would mean noise and pollution for those who live along the tracks.

I think you have to run better hours, such as 6:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. daily, if you want to attract a lot of commuters. The hours proposed provide too small of a time frame upon which to rely on its service. If I hop the train to work downtown and get stuck late at work, a commuter in Fishers is looking at a $40 cab ride to get home. The proposed rail line could become a reality in the next 3 to 5 years. In a separate story, McFeely says Mayor Greg Ballard and Gov. Mitch Daniels are not yet sold on the benefits of a rail line. If Indianapolis wants to consider itself a world-class city, you have to build a better public transportation system which includes light rail. Besides, anything we can do to relieve traffic congestion on the city's northeastside and reduce the need for new highway construction is welcome.


Sir Hailstone said...

I've been harping on using the Fair Train line for a commuter line for a while now. It's so obvious. There is no reason we have to spend 500 million or more on rapid transit right now. Nashville, TN just proved you don't need to spend big money to get basic commuter rail started. They just spent about $40 million or so, granted it's all used Metra equipment.

The folks who live along Allisonville Rd will hear more noise, yes. However it's no worse than those who live along Pendleton Pike, Rockville Rd, in Avon, along Kentucky Ave, etc. In fact their home values could improve as a selling point could be "walking distance to train station".

Gotta walk before you run.

guido said...

How bout we run it from county line to county line before we worry about fishers

Eclecticvibe said...

I'm all for mass transit, but why not improve what little we have around Marion County, rather than extend rail lines to the suburbs, making it easier to commute, and easier for urban sprawl to continue. I'd think a downtown system would get much more use and benefit Marion County more than a line to Fishers.

Anonymous said...

It is needed, but since I can't use it, I had best not be the one paying for it. Let those in Fishers/Noblesville and Indy pay for the thing. Secondly, I find it odd that there are no stops in the "ghetto" areas of Indy. Can't have the undesirables mixing with the upper crust!!

Mann Law, P.C. said...

I have a novel idea, let private enterprise handle this and have the city help on zoning.

Sir Hailstone said...

1. It's not extending anything anywhere. It's using existing rail line and unused railway right-of-way. It's the former Nickel Plate railroad that is now owned by the Indiana Transportation Museum. They run the "Fair Train". There is no rail line right of way existing downtown other than the CSX tracks running through Union Station. By the way, the Nickel Plate ROW does extend into downtown - it needs repairs and track reconstruction south of 38th Street but it is there and not encroached. Check out Google Earth you can see it.

2. There is no rail right of way existing to go from county line to county line that isn't owned by another railroad. The east to west tracks are CSX. Perhaps there will be a commuter rail running on the freight tracks running east to west eventually. Although if the arrangement between MTA and CSX out in Maryland is any indication, cooperation from CSX may be difficult. The former Penn Central right of way is now encroached in places and not suitable for any quick deployment right now.

3. Got a source for that "No stops in the Ghetto" remark? Do you have a map of where the stops will be?

4. Railways are not like bus routes. Many bus routes have started and failed due to great ideas that turned into low ridership. Judging by the congestion on I-465 from Keystone to 56th Street on the NE side and I-69 this rail line should be busy when it starts.

Gary R. Welsh said...

I'm all for that idea, True Conservative. People forget that Indianapolis had light rail service throughout the city a hundred years ago. Those trolley cars were privately-owned and operated.

Anonymous said...

3. Got a source for that "No stops in the Ghetto" remark? Do you have a map of where the stops will be?

Click on the article, there is a map. There only stops even posted are in Hamilton County with the stop at Union Station. There are two possible additional stops. Both would be 70th St. or so and north. Why not one as 38th St.?

bikegeek87 said...

@ spooknp

The idea behind creating this light rail is to help ease traffic congestion on the highways during peak travel hours between north/northeast and downtown. This is not an idea to be used as short travels stops between popular destinations, such as new york. If you live around 38th St., take an Indygo downtown. Indygo serves only routes within the city limits due to low demands outside of them.