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Old August 1st, 2019, 04:32 PM   #1161
caliboy28
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Whoever designed the new bike / parking lanes on Illinois Street downtown must have been tripping on acid. Am I the only one who thinks it's horrible? I don't even own a car and the thought of having to navigate parts of that project in a car is maddening! As I stood at the side of the street watching people drive by yesterday, I noticed that the traffic lanes seem narrow and VERY close to the designated parking lane. I would not want to park my vehicle (if I owned one) anywhere along that bike lane. People were driving THRU the designated parking lane. I realize it isn't actually operational yet, but feel this will be a continued problem. The left turn on arrow only, particularly at Michigan Street where a lot of people do turn left, is also going to be a problem. At that particular intersection, when there is a line of people waiting for the arrow to turn left, it effectively reduces Illinois Street to two lanes of thru traffic because the turn lane is so short. There are so many arrows, patches of bright colors, new street signs and traffic lights, etc., that it really looks a hot, confusing mess. Even if it WERE properly designed it's frustrating to know that this will probably be the only section ever built like this. I just don't see the reason for spending what had to be a significant amount of money for a one off project like this. One of my biggest peeves about the streets downtown is that there doesn't seem to be a consistent design aesthetic, a complete lack of continuity. And you know it's going to look horrible in a year or two as those bright colors painted on the street start to fade and the chuckholes got patched with whatever is cheapest at the moment because, well, Indianapolis is horrible at maintaining it's investments in infratructure. Oh, and there were still quite a few cars turning left against the arrow while the little green bike light was lit for bikers to continue through the intersection. I wonder how long it will be before the first biker is hit.

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Old August 1st, 2019, 05:08 PM   #1162
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Part or all of the I-65 NW connector from 465 to 865 has been closed most of the summer, and as a result, 465 SB/EB on the west and south sides has been a clusterf***.

The closure of I-70 west of the south split has only made that worse. Both directions from 70E to 70W, 465 is jammed up much of the day.

I went that way about midday earlier in the week and it was jacked up. This morning just before 9, 465 was a slow roll from the Beech Grove water tower all the way up the east side...Google sent me up Shadeland instead.

And look again...per INDOT's map, the SW corner of 465 EB from 70 to 37 is rolling <15mph and there are slow spots WB at Brookville and 37 to 67. Mid-day, when it normally rolls 62-75mph.
I know it has been a cluster, that was not my point. My point was that if it is a clear, unambiguous closing it gives people a chance to adjust to the best route. These closing are anything but clear. Also, I am not advocating closing 465 in anyway. Just providing an opinion on why these closures have been particularly bad for traffic while the split closure was a carmageddon dud.
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Old August 1st, 2019, 06:02 PM   #1163
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Whoever designed the new bike / parking lanes on Illinois Street downtown must have been tripping on acid. Am I the only one who thinks it's horrible? I don't even own a car and the thought of having to navigate parts of that project in a car is maddening! As I stood at the side of the street watching people drive by yesterday, I noticed that the traffic lanes seem narrow and VERY close to the designated parking lane. I would not want to park my vehicle (if I owned one) anywhere along that bike lane. People were driving THRU the designated parking lane. I realize it isn't actually operational yet, but feel this will be a continued problem. The left turn on arrow only, particularly at Michigan Street where a lot of people do turn left, is also going to be a problem. At that particular intersection, when there is a line of people waiting for the arrow to turn left, it effectively reduces Illinois Street to two lanes of thru traffic because the turn lane is so short. There are so many arrows, patches of bright colors, new street signs and traffic lights, etc., that it really looks a hot, confusing mess. Even if it WERE properly designed it's frustrating to know that this will probably be the only section ever built like this. I just don't see the reason for spending what had to be a significant amount of money for a one off project like this. One of my biggest peeves about the streets downtown is that there doesn't seem to be a consistent design aesthetic, a complete lack of continuity. And you know it's going to look horrible in a year or two as those bright colors painted on the street start to fade and the chuckholes got patched with whatever is cheapest at the moment because, well, Indianapolis is horrible at maintaining it's investments in infratructure. Oh, and there were still quite a few cars turning left against the arrow while the little green bike light was lit for bikers to continue through the intersection. I wonder how long it will be before the first biker is hit.
Pennsylvania is structured this way from St. Clair down to Washington. I think this is a fairly common way of designing protected bike lanes and reducing traffic speeds. Things will be more visually intuitive once you see cars parked there.
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Old August 1st, 2019, 09:59 PM   #1164
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Originally Posted by caliboy28 View Post
Whoever designed the new bike / parking lanes on Illinois Street downtown must have been tripping on acid. Am I the only one who thinks it's horrible? I don't even own a car and the thought of having to navigate parts of that project in a car is maddening! As I stood at the side of the street watching people drive by yesterday, I noticed that the traffic lanes seem narrow and VERY close to the designated parking lane. I would not want to park my vehicle (if I owned one) anywhere along that bike lane. People were driving THRU the designated parking lane. I realize it isn't actually operational yet, but feel this will be a continued problem. The left turn on arrow only, particularly at Michigan Street where a lot of people do turn left, is also going to be a problem. At that particular intersection, when there is a line of people waiting for the arrow to turn left, it effectively reduces Illinois Street to two lanes of thru traffic because the turn lane is so short. There are so many arrows, patches of bright colors, new street signs and traffic lights, etc., that it really looks a hot, confusing mess. Even if it WERE properly designed it's frustrating to know that this will probably be the only section ever built like this. I just don't see the reason for spending what had to be a significant amount of money for a one off project like this. One of my biggest peeves about the streets downtown is that there doesn't seem to be a consistent design aesthetic, a complete lack of continuity. And you know it's going to look horrible in a year or two as those bright colors painted on the street start to fade and the chuckholes got patched with whatever is cheapest at the moment because, well, Indianapolis is horrible at maintaining it's investments in infratructure. Oh, and there were still quite a few cars turning left against the arrow while the little green bike light was lit for bikers to continue through the intersection. I wonder how long it will be before the first biker is hit.
So it's poorly designed because....? It's narrow? I'm confused by the argument you're trying to make. You tried attacking it with a number of different points but they kind of got jumbled together.

I do agree the parking lane next to it is particularly narrow, but I'm sure it's still within standard regulations. It should, as Anodyne mentioned, slow traffic speeds which is good for almost everyone. There's no point in driving fast on the road, as the pace is determined by the stop lights, and it'll make the environment more safe for bikers and pedestrians.

I also have been on it multiple times in the past few days and haven't seen anyone driving through the park lane - but the majority of it has also been coned off. I assume it'll be more clear when it's fully "open" and cars begin parking there.

As for the complaint about signs, markings, lights, etc - I don't think any new signs were added for the bike lane (or I didn't notice any). I could arguably see the stop light causing a bit of confusion if drivers got under the impression it was indicating a turn signal, but similar bike lights are pretty common in other cities and I've never heard any complaints. I also disagree that the road markings are confusing. The colors used are pretty universal and will be even more understood as time goes on and they're used more often. I would also say the city is pretty decent at maintaining infrastructure in downtown...

Finally, bikers were also already in huge danger of being hit. I bike almost daily in downtown and just following the road laws is not enough. People weave around me all the time into opposing traffic even when I'm keeping pace on the road with the car in front of me. I would be INCREDIBLY shocked to hear that people were less safe on this bike lane than from traditionally riding in the road.
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Old August 1st, 2019, 10:27 PM   #1165
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So it's poorly designed because....? It's narrow? I'm confused by the argument you're trying to make. You tried attacking it with a number of different points but they kind of got jumbled together.

I do agree the parking lane next to it is particularly narrow, but I'm sure it's still within standard regulations. It should, as Anodyne mentioned, slow traffic speeds which is good for almost everyone. There's no point in driving fast on the road, as the pace is determined by the stop lights, and it'll make the environment more safe for bikers and pedestrians.

I also have been on it multiple times in the past few days and haven't seen anyone driving through the park lane - but the majority of it has also been coned off. I assume it'll be more clear when it's fully "open" and cars begin parking there.

As for the complaint about signs, markings, lights, etc - I don't think any new signs were added for the bike lane (or I didn't notice any). I could arguably see the stop light causing a bit of confusion if drivers got under the impression it was indicating a turn signal, but similar bike lights are pretty common in other cities and I've never heard any complaints. I also disagree that the road markings are confusing. The colors used are pretty universal and will be even more understood as time goes on and they're used more often. I would also say the city is pretty decent at maintaining infrastructure in downtown...

Finally, bikers were also already in huge danger of being hit. I bike almost daily in downtown and just following the road laws is not enough. People weave around me all the time into opposing traffic even when I'm keeping pace on the road with the car in front of me. I would be INCREDIBLY shocked to hear that people were less safe on this bike lane than from traditionally riding in the road.
There are new, bike-specific lights installed at each intersection for the bike lane. Most are still covered up. There is also some new signage.
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Old August 2nd, 2019, 03:03 AM   #1166
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I know it has been a cluster, that was not my point. My point was that if it is a clear, unambiguous closing it gives people a chance to adjust to the best route. These closing are anything but clear. Also, I am not advocating closing 465 in anyway. Just providing an opinion on why these closures have been particularly bad for traffic while the split closure was a carmageddon dud.
Closing the splits was alright since the rest of the highway was open. Downtown-bound traffic can still use the interstate to a certain point. Even last year with the construction along I-65 around MLK St you could still use I-65 even from the northwest to access downtown. Only thru traffic had to use 465. This time, all traffic, thru and downtown-bound had to use the bypass. This turns out to be a very big difference.

I had a feeling earlier this summer when the construction was being delayed each weekend that they would end up having to close whole stretches of highways to get the work done when it kept on raining every weekend. I think for the first six months of the year there was like three or four weekends total that had no rain/snow. And yet the weather report says we need the rain.
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Old August 2nd, 2019, 05:15 PM   #1167
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Perhaps my argument did get a bit jumbled, much like the street itself. I just don't think it's aesthetically pleasing. It looks, to me (my opinion), like they tried to jam as many design elements into a 2 mile stretch of street as they possibly could. As someone who lives and works in the Mile Square, I do not think the city does a very good job at maintaining infrastructure, either (although they are quite good at "patching things up". The new bike lanes and left turn restrictions have been creating backups at Michigan and Illinois ever since they went in, effectively reducing Illinois to 2 lanes of thru traffic at peak travel times. On a street that was already pretty clogged at rush hour to begin with, no less.
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Old August 2nd, 2019, 05:54 PM   #1168
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Perhaps my argument did get a bit jumbled, much like the street itself. I just don't think it's aesthetically pleasing. It looks, to me (my opinion), like they tried to jam as many design elements into a 2 mile stretch of street as they possibly could. As someone who lives and works in the Mile Square, I do not think the city does a very good job at maintaining infrastructure, either (although they are quite good at "patching things up". The new bike lanes and left turn restrictions have been creating backups at Michigan and Illinois ever since they went in, effectively reducing Illinois to 2 lanes of thru traffic at peak travel times. On a street that was already pretty clogged at rush hour to begin with, no less.
As ChicagoToIndy said, the design looks very similar to Penn to me. I think people will get used to it.

The Illinois/Michigan intersection does sound like a legitimate issue in the short term. I've been told that the Red Line team will be out for the next several months tweaking light timings all along the route to fix trouble areas and I assume this will be one they'll look at. An extension of the left turn timing could help. They might also take a couple parking spaces to allow more stacking in the left turn lane from Illinois to Michigan. The immediate vicinity isn't exactly parking starved and there aren't a lot of drivers of short-term metered parking!
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Old August 5th, 2019, 10:51 PM   #1169
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TLDR, the city isn't getting their money back from BlueIndy: https://www.ibj.com/articles/four-ye...uck-in-the-red.

It's probably known on this forum that BlueIndy sucks but I'll throw a few thoughts as I'm currently a 1 year member. I'm literally the perfect client for this program. I live and work in downtown, and I'd love to get rid of my car and save money.

However even I'll admit BlueIndy is terrible.

Honestly the problem is that it's doomed to be terrible from the beginning. It would never work in Indy as car ownership is too high and not enough people live in downtown to make the program sustainable.

So not only would BlueIndy be bad if it were well run, but it's also terribly run. Very often stations will either have zero cars so you can't pick one up, or they're completely full and you can't drop one off. Stations are also almost strictly in downtown and no one is ever going to be using BlueIndy to go from one side of downtown to the other. We don't have a massive downtown so 99% of people are going to choose to walk instead. BlueIndy is basically only useful if you happen to live near a station outside of downtown, or for commuting between Butler/BR, Downtown, and the Airport. And now the Red Line nullifies the BR-Downtown commute so it's even less useful.

The sign up process was also one of the worst I've ever experienced. You're forced to talk to a foreign customer service employee for 20+ minutes as they verbally type your information into their system. Because there's constantly cars driving around you, you can hardly hear what they say and they can hardly hear what you say. They also never mailed me my physical card so after months I still only have the temporary paper card (which doesn't expire). Why does ZipCar and Maven, two very similar programs, have a SIGNIFICANTLY better sign up process than BlueIndy.

I have another laundry list of complaints about the cars, the stations, and the service. But in the end it doesn't matter because BlueIndy was doomed to fail. Not only did the city get rid of valuable parking spots (and I hate parking spots so normally I'd praise getting rid of them) but they wasted millions on this. If it's goal was to encourage downtown living I wish they would have just subsidized a Target downtown. If the goal was to provide low-income public transit, I wish more money had just been put toward the Red / Blue / Purple lines to get them built faster and to improve actual public transit.
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Old August 5th, 2019, 11:10 PM   #1170
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TLDR, the city isn't getting their money back from BlueIndy: https://www.ibj.com/articles/four-ye...uck-in-the-red.

It's probably known on this forum that BlueIndy sucks but I'll throw a few thoughts as I'm currently a 1 year member. I'm literally the perfect client for this program. I live and work in downtown, and I'd love to get rid of my car and save money.

However even I'll admit BlueIndy is terrible.

Honestly the problem is that it's doomed to be terrible from the beginning. It would never work in Indy as car ownership is too high and not enough people live in downtown to make the program sustainable.

So not only would BlueIndy be bad if it were well run, but it's also terribly run. Very often stations will either have zero cars so you can't pick one up, or they're completely full and you can't drop one off. Stations are also almost strictly in downtown and no one is ever going to be using BlueIndy to go from one side of downtown to the other. We don't have a massive downtown so 99% of people are going to choose to walk instead. BlueIndy is basically only useful if you happen to live near a station outside of downtown, or for commuting between Butler/BR, Downtown, and the Airport. And now the Red Line nullifies the BR-Downtown commute so it's even less useful.

The sign up process was also one of the worst I've ever experienced. You're forced to talk to a foreign customer service employee for 20+ minutes as they verbally type your information into their system. Because there's constantly cars driving around you, you can hardly hear what they say and they can hardly hear what you say. They also never mailed me my physical card so after months I still only have the temporary paper card (which doesn't expire). Why does ZipCar and Maven, two very similar programs, have a SIGNIFICANTLY better sign up process than BlueIndy.

I have another laundry list of complaints about the cars, the stations, and the service. But in the end it doesn't matter because BlueIndy was doomed to fail. Not only did the city get rid of valuable parking spots (and I hate parking spots so normally I'd praise getting rid of them) but they wasted millions on this. If it's goal was to encourage downtown living I wish they would have just subsidized a Target downtown. If the goal was to provide low-income public transit, I wish more money had just been put toward the Red / Blue / Purple lines to get them built faster and to improve actual public transit.
In general I agree with you, and absolutely agree that the system was doomed to fail from the beginning.

I've been a member since the beginning and use it maybe 10-15 times a year. It's completely absurd that I'm a member, it makes no economic sense for me at all. The main reason I have it is that a near north station is fairly close to my house so it's useful for getting to downtown events every once in a while (as you mention, this personal usefulness is going to get killed by me shifting to the Red Line). I also like the idea of putting my money where my mouth is on alternative transportation and it's not a gigantic sum of money to have the option available when I want to use it.

The issue of empty and full stations is relatively new. For the first couple years, they did a much better job of moving cars around a bit to hit the sweet spot of stations having 2-3 cars most of the time (so there was regularly a nice supply of both cars and parking). They recently removed 80 cars from the system so that probably explains why there are sometimes stations with no cars. The full stations is straight up bad service and not moving cars around to even out supply.

I don't recall the sign up process being painful, I think maybe I did it online. It was a long time ago.

Blue Indy is going to fail eventually, it's just a question of how long Bollore is going to accept the losses.
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Old August 6th, 2019, 07:43 AM   #1171
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In general I agree with you, and absolutely agree that the system was doomed to fail from the beginning.

I've been a member since the beginning and use it maybe 10-15 times a year. It's completely absurd that I'm a member, it makes no economic sense for me at all. The main reason I have it is that a near north station is fairly close to my house so it's useful for getting to downtown events every once in a while (as you mention, this personal usefulness is going to get killed by me shifting to the Red Line). I also like the idea of putting my money where my mouth is on alternative transportation and it's not a gigantic sum of money to have the option available when I want to use it.

The issue of empty and full stations is relatively new. For the first couple years, they did a much better job of moving cars around a bit to hit the sweet spot of stations having 2-3 cars most of the time (so there was regularly a nice supply of both cars and parking). They recently removed 80 cars from the system so that probably explains why there are sometimes stations with no cars. The full stations is straight up bad service and not moving cars around to even out supply.

I don't recall the sign up process being painful, I think maybe I did it online. It was a long time ago.

Blue Indy is going to fail eventually, it's just a question of how long Bollore is going to accept the losses.
Props to you for still being a member for all these years and continuing to try it. The only reason I really signed up is because I barely qualified for the 'youth' discount and I don't think I otherwise would have considered it. I'm even fairly doubtful they make money off the youth offer considering it cost me $4 to go from downtown to Broad Ripple - they charge even less than scooters.

Ahh makes sense that the issue is new. I was surprised when reading others' reviews of it to see few complaints about full/empty stations. I'm even less surprised to hear they removed cars. The stations around me (by the War Memorial) are all almost always empty and it's lowered my (already low) confidence in the program.

Are any new cars ever released now-a-days? I'd assume they'll run the program until the current fleet has aged beyond repair.
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Old August 6th, 2019, 08:43 AM   #1172
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Zipcar would have worked better
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Old August 6th, 2019, 02:33 PM   #1173
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I always thought that it was mostly solving a problem that didn't exist in Indy (due to high car ownership) and that not only the money spent but the political capital spent on capturing the parking spaces was bigger than a lot of people realize. The Red Line was always going to be a huge battle but Blue Indy really gave the NIMBY's ammo to paint everything as a urban vanity project that is used by no one and inconveniences a lot.
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Old August 6th, 2019, 04:37 PM   #1174
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I guess Zipcar already is in Indy
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Old August 6th, 2019, 04:50 PM   #1175
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Does anyone know what the revenue model actually is? I seem to recall IPL being able to get a rate increase to do something. Perhaps electricity rate payers are really footing the bill.

The charging stations will be usable even if the system fails.

Uber/Lyft changed the game in Indy. It rendered tech like car share and to some extent bike share obsolete. Car2Go failed in Columbus, Ohio, which I would have thought would be a decent market, being so full of students.

Uber/Lyft, plus high car ownership rates, also make the transit expansion dubious in terms of choice riders. I've heard multiple people suggest that the Red Line is yesterday's solution. When it comes choice riders it may well be, but the transit system is a massive improvement for the transit dependent population and is fully justified on that basis alone.

Of course, Uber and Lyft massively subsidize rides and will never be profitable in their current model. It's hard to compete with companies that can go longer than a decade without profits.
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Old August 6th, 2019, 06:22 PM   #1176
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Does anyone know what the revenue model actually is? I seem to recall IPL being able to get a rate increase to do something. Perhaps electricity rate payers are really footing the bill.

The charging stations will be usable even if the system fails.
I believe IPL did get a small rate increase to run power lines to the station locations. So yes, everybody's paying a little bit for the stations, which may be reasonable as you note that the stations could still be available for charging even if Blue Indy itself goes away.

Blue Indy's model is largely subscription + a use fee per ride. There is an option to pay for a single ride, but it's $8 for 20 minutes and you'd have to go through the sign up process that ChicagoToIndy found quite painful. If the basic subscription + fee model is tough to compete with Uber/Lift, I don't see how the single use model is competitive at all.

Increasingly they're doing advertising on the cars and the poles at the stations. I have to assume there's a wink-and-nod from the city about the station advertising, it's almost certainly illegal to have advertising on infrastructure installed in the city sidewalks. No will will ever challenge it, though, so it's likely to roll on as it has been for quite a while.
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Old August 6th, 2019, 10:45 PM   #1177
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INDOT (yes, INDOT) to start fining contractor every day until the Central Ave bridge is complete
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Old August 6th, 2019, 11:21 PM   #1178
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Good. They should be held to higher standards. They should also be fined when a road seriously deteriorates within 2-3 years. Projects are sometimes designed to ensure tons of maintenance and a quick reconstruction. That shouldn't be the case. The economy used to depend on these construction jobs so having to repeat a project over and over was important from a jobs perspective. These construction jobs are now hard to fill and many younger people won't work in the field. Time for them to start "designing to last" like European cities do.
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Old August 7th, 2019, 03:19 PM   #1179
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Good. They should be held to higher standards. They should also be fined when a road seriously deteriorates within 2-3 years. Projects are sometimes designed to ensure tons of maintenance and a quick reconstruction. That shouldn't be the case. The economy used to depend on these construction jobs so having to repeat a project over and over was important from a jobs perspective. These construction jobs are now hard to fill and many younger people won't work in the field. Time for them to start "designing to last" like European cities do.

This is completely wrong
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Old August 7th, 2019, 03:53 PM   #1180
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Good. They should be held to higher standards. They should also be fined when a road seriously deteriorates within 2-3 years. Projects are sometimes designed to ensure tons of maintenance and a quick reconstruction. That shouldn't be the case. The economy used to depend on these construction jobs so having to repeat a project over and over was important from a jobs perspective. These construction jobs are now hard to fill and many younger people won't work in the field. Time for them to start "designing to last" like European cities do.
In fairness, Indiana's design standards - set by the government, not contractors - aren't that great. For example, in Indiana even interstates are designed to a 20 year pavement life, whereas in Illinois they are now designing to a 50 year life, at least in Chicagoland. You can definitely tell the difference.

Indiana's contractor ecosystem is also entirely made up of small fry companies (excluding the Indiana branch of Chicago's Walsh, which the others hate). This also limits what can be done because the Indiana based contractors lack the technical and financial resources to do large and/or complex projects. And the state cares more about them getting contracts than about doing great projects. It's a defensible tradeoff, but a tradeoff it is.

The other thing to consider is that the average Hoosier just doesn't care that much about it. About once per winter there seems to be some outrage over the city of Indianapolis failing to clear the streets after a snow. But it always fades quickly. No situations like in Chicago or New York where mayors lost their job over failing to clear the streets.
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