We are once again the recipients of a tax increase. And once again, we are promised a paradise, this time with a transit system which will get every child to school on time, every worker to the job across town, every shopper to the mall and, naturally, every sports fan to the downtown sports palaces.
The trouble is that, with the exception of those last words, that’s a fantasy which will apply only to students, workers and shoppers who live and have a destination within walking distance of College Avenue for years to come!
While proponents and fans of the project have consistently talked of the needs of these potential patrons, little specific information has been forthcoming as to how and when they will actually be addressed.
We think the bad news is presented (inadvertently?) in the second paragraph of this morning’s front page story, which reads, in part, as follows: "The money will pay for the construction of three bus rapid transit lines, new buses, increased route frequency and new sidewalks and bus shelters."
We see "construction" of the beloved "bus rapid transit" lines. Will the erection of traffic disrupting bus stations in the middle of streets be justified as "infrastructure"? Since when has "construction" been needed to run a bus on an ordinary street surface?
If buses are to run every ten minutes on the Red, Blue and Purple lines, how many new buses will be needed? How many new drivers? Will these new, large, electric buses ever be useable on expanded regular lines - assuming we ever do get such expansion? Will the new "sidewalks" be more than just a place to install "bus shelters"? Why are "sidewalks" part of a transit discussion at all?
We note that there is no mention of expansion, extension or general improvement of the present bus route grid which would really help the aforesaid student, worker or shopper.
It appears plain that for those determining the future of IndyGo, the word "priority" applies only to the exotic term "rapid transit" rather than simply "public need."