By: Kendall Downing
INDIANAPOLIS (July 10, 2014) - Major changes for Broad Ripple Avenue are a response to recent violent crime. The city confirms it will shut down part of the street to traffic on weekends.
City-county councilors, the mayor's office and the Broad Ripple Village Association all sat down on Thursday morning to talk about ideas and action. Step one is the closure, next could be targeting problem bars.
Cameras on Broad Ripple Avenue now watch your every move, two large ones got moved in this week, and they transmit images back to the Regional Operations Center.
"Broad Ripple has specific public safety needs," said Justin McKeand, president of the Broad Ripple Village Association.
The public safety needs are more pressing now, said McKeand. Seven people were shot early Saturday morning after two men bumped into each other and exchanged gunfire.
"The worry was what is this going to do to the rest of the summer business in Broad Ripple, and that's why we knew as an organization we needed to take action immediately," he said.
The action came Thursday. The city decided to close Broad Ripple Avenue from College to Guilford. The closure applies to personal vehicles on Friday and Saturday nights, from midnight until 4 a.m. At this point, the city anticipates the closure will only be for the summer months. The section of the road to be closed will remain open for taxis, police, and emergency vehicles only.
Pedestrians will not be able to walk in the road. The hope is that it will cut out loitering and cruising.
"Cruising is basically when you're in your vehicle, and you're out to see or be seen. But you have no destination in mind," said McKeand.
City-County Council Vice President John Barth called Thursday's meeting.
"Broad Ripple is such a gem for the city. It's an important district for the city. It matters," said Barth.
He said the closure is a good first step, but more action is needed. Some of it could include having IMPD write more tickets. McKeand said problem bars should be investigated.
"All of that data can be pulled by the city at any time, and they are currently researching to find out, what liquor licenses have the most offenses tied to them," he said.
Still, some regulars aren't convinced the closure will do much to help.
"Crime is always going to go where the people are, and the scenes and the partying and the alcohol is," said Grace Bell.
IMPD told FOX59 Thursday afternoon it will still handle Friday patrols on Broad Ripple and not seek assistance from other agencies, despite fallen Officer Perry Renn's funeral on Friday.
It's unclear if the closures could start this weekend. Police said a decision hasn't been made. A spokesperson for Mayor Greg Ballard said more information should be available Friday.