Changing the Indy bus landscape, new Downtown Transit Center breaking ground Thursday

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By Lindy Thackston

INDIANAPOLIS (Sept. 25, 2014) - The first off-street facility for transit passengers in Indianapolis since the mid-1960s is breaking ground today.

IndyGo is calling it a huge step forward for transit in Indiana.

The 14,000-square-foot Downtown Transit Center will sit on a two-acre site on the southeast corner of Washington and Delaware Streets.

IndyGo is inviting Indianapolis residents, passengers and community leaders to the official groundbreaking ceremony festivities from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday at the future site.

There will be a large-scale exhibit of the transit center with interactive components to give you an idea of the enhanced experience that passengers can expect.

"We're extremely excited for the construction of the transit center to begin," said Mike Terry, president and CEO of IndyGo. "Once in operation, it will greatly enhance the passenger experience offering real-time arrival information, safe and convenient transfers and an indoor waiting area."

The $19.5 million facility is funded by $13.5 million in federal grants and $6 million in local money.

Bryan Lewellen, IndyGo's director of marketing and customer information, says there will be public restrooms, Wi-Fi and plenty of amenities.

"If you’ve ever ridden the bus in Indianapolis or have seen people in the cold or the hot, it doesn't really lend itself to wearing a business suit and carrying a lot of stuff," said Lewellen. "Offering great amenities is really important to attracting and maintaining ridership."

The Downtown Transit Center is within a block of both bike and car share facilities.

Lewellen says the project started in the early 2000s with federal grant money. They went through several studies about what location would be right for the center and finally decided about a year ago. They've been working on design and construction details leading up to Thursday's official groundbreaking ceremony.

The event starts at noon. Mayor Greg Ballard, Council President Maggie Lewis and IndyGo President and CEO Mike Terry will speak at 1 p.m.

Lewellen says there will be a small retail space available for lease and he says so far they've heard suggestions for a cafe or coffee shop.

Learn more about the Downtown Transit Center here.