Indy DPW lays out $6 million plan for major changes along Broad Ripple Ave

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INDIANAPOLIS — Wider sidewalks, better drainage for stormwater, more lights and greenery, along with a 12-foot wide riverwalk connecting the Monon to Primrose Ave will soon be a part of Broad Ripple Avenue.

The construction will stretch on Broad Ripple Avenue from North College Avenue to Primrose Avenue.

Jeanne Kaplan, the owner of Artifacts, a store near Broad Ripple Ave, said this project is desperately needed. “It is long overdue,” Kaplan said.

New mom and longtime Broad Ripple resident Johanna Kitchell said she is all for accessibility and new sidewalks. She pushes her son in a stroller around Broad Ripple all the time. “As someone who now uses a stroller, the sidewalks here are really terrible,” Kitchell said.

The new widened sidewalks will be on the south side of Broad Ripple Ave going from North College to Winthrop Ave. Sam Fuson, a Broad Ripple resident, said this is great news. “This area gets a lot of foot traffic because, well, we all love to walk,” Fuson said. “That’s why we live in this area.”

The widened sidewalks do come at a cost, though. The sidewalks will be taking over space that is currently occupied by parking spots along Broad Ripple Ave.

“We hope that the increased pedestrian focus will offset some of the few parking spaces that will be lost,” said Ben Easley with the Indianapolis Department of Public Works.

Street parking along Broad Ripple Avenue will only be on the north side of the street between Carrollton and Guilford. Which seems to add to a problem that already existed.

“Down here we do not have enough parking for the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday people especially not the tourists coming here,” Fuson said.

Easley said because of a contract with ParkIndy, DPW must maintain a certain number of metered parking spaces.

This change means free parking spaces along Carrollton Avenue, Winthrop Avenue, Westfield Boulevard and College Avenue will be turned into metered spaces.

Kaplan said this is already an issue they hear about from customers.

“That’s our number one complaint we hear from customers is it’s too hard to park or the parking system is too hard to use,” she said.

But people we talked to said there are a lot of good things coming with this plan.

The 12-foot wide riverwalk along the White River connecting the Monon to Broad Ripple Park has a lot of excitement.

“There’s one restaurant that backs up to the White River so if we can do things that make people want to enjoy the White River more, I think that would be awesome,” said Kitchell.

The plan also involves adding more greenery to the area.

“Some street trees that might go in the middle along the median of the roadway and some select spots along Broad Ripple Avenue, as well,” said Easley

Which has Fuson’s attention.

“Add more trees,” he said. “Trees take up 10 degrees when you’re talking about 100 degrees out here, you step under a tree automatically it’s gone down to 90, that’s walking weather.”

Easley said the stormwater improvements will also help to solve flooding issues on Broad Ripple Avenue. He said that is where the project initially started several years ago and it’s now grown to improve accessibility, as well.

As for traffic flow along Broad Ripple Ave, Easley said it won’t change too much but will be safer.

“The traffic studies that we have done for this project, in particular, don’t really show too much of an effect one way or another on vehicular traffic,” Easley said. “We do think it will make things safer for the interactions between cars and pedestrians.”

Kaplan said this is a great investment by the city.

“We have so many people come to Broad Ripple from out of town, this is a place visitors come to, so I think it is totally worth investing on the City’s part to improve it,” Kaplan said.

Kitchell said she is excited for Broad Ripple to be even more accessible and pedestrian-friendly.

“One of the great things about living in this neighborhood is not having to drive my car everywhere and I would love to see more of that,” she said.

The design of the project is set to be finished by Oct. 2021, with construction beginning in Spring of 2022 and finished by late Fall of 2022 or into early 2023.

As for how DPW will go about construction, there are two options.

Option one is a full closure of Broad Ripple Avenue from College Ave to Winthrop Ave. This option takes approximately four months and could be done in one construction season.

Option two is phased construction with more complex pedestrian access that would take nine months and two construction seasons.

For all the details on the project, DPW has created a presentation with a full look at the construction.

Easley said they are in the final phases of design, but questions and comments can be directed to DPWEngineering@indy.gov.

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