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I'm actually okay with each hotel looking different. It will make it look like a natural city block instead of a large complex that takes up a whole block. I think the differences will add a little more to the urban landscape. Why would we need three buildings made of the same material, designed the same, in different sizes? I would rather have variety in a city block but that is just me.
I'm sure it has something to do with room prices and comfort levels. Some people will fork over $250 to stay in an artsy, curvy, multicolored cresent, and others would rather stay in an average hotel room. I'll take this courtyard's design over the Marriott. The Courtyard has a scale and design that fit well together, while the Marriott is far too large to look so average.
 

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Cory
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Mass TRansit / Commuter Rail is coming!!!

Lots of info on Mass Transit. We had our spring retreat yesterday and I thought I would share some stuff with you all. I promise, this WILL be making a splash this summer. We were even discussing a $0.05/dollar sales tax increase for Central Indiana to pay for this.

First of all Mayor Ballard was in attendence and he made some very encouraging coments...enough so that my opinion on his "opinion" of mass transit here in Central Indiana has changed and he totally "gets it." Though, and I tends to agree, he supports a line from the airport to downtownas much if not more than a line up the northeast corridor. His exact comment was "mass transit here in Indy will be much more of an economic development/quality of life tool rather than traffic control." Face it, when it comes to traffic congestion, Central Indiana is very lucky to have an effective hub and spoke highway system. BUT, we all know that we are on the verge of serious issues if something isn't done soon. I think that the Mayor is thinking that the City's chances for a SuperBowl are greatly enhanced with a line up and running from the airport to DT.

We voted yesterday to begin the public hearings within 60 days. The first "line" is looking to be a diesel/hybrid commuter train that will utilize the existing Nickel Plate Line (State Fair Train) from 146th street to Union Station. Yes, that's right, UNION STATION! This will be inexspensive to start as the State already owns the ROW and very little environmental work/studies will need to be done. This option also works best for a downtown circulator that is expected to be a possible combination of trolleys, busses, and the People Mover. However, nothing is definite on the downtown routes right now.

Central Indiana needs to establish a "rail culture." By utilizing the existing Nickel Plate, we will be able to do this...quickly. We must make sure we get this right immediately "out of the gate." If we don't, the possiblity of getting that "cadillac system" will be low. Redevelopment along this line has a lot of potential too. Also, this does not exclude a future LRT or AGT line down Keystone Ave, which is something that the group is very interested in building as the redevelopment of that corridor would be enhanced. Glendale is seen as an obvious station and the IRTC/CIRTA is well aware of that.

Goals are to have this first commuter line up and running by the time the reconstruction of I-69/I-465 begins. Yes, by the time it begins. Arenn will be able to provide specifics on that project, but I believe that 2011 is the target date for construction.

All in all, yesterday was very informative and we left feeling very good about our prospects. Yes, selling a half-cent tax increase will be difficult, but a perfect storm is brewing and now is the time to seize the chance.
 

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Cory
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Quick question...does anyone know what they are building along the west side of Meridian Street, just south of Fall Creek, on the site of that former gas station. Looks very Starbuck-ish to me, but am not sure.
 

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Sounds very interesting as far as the transit discussions. One minor correction, the former Nickel Plate line from N. of Noblesville into central Indy is not owned by the State but is run by the "Hoosier Heritage Port Authority" which is overseen by Hamilton County. It is a public entity however, with a good interest in seeing the corridor used for commuter rail service -so, although it is not owned by the State, it is owned by another government agency - so there will not be a need to use public funds to acquire the corridor. (There is still about a mile of track that is gone and will need to be replaced - alongside the Monon Trail Corridor between 10th Street and about 22nd Street, just NW of downtown. Back about 15 years ago, a Transportation Enhancement grant helped Hamilton County buy the track from its previous private sector owner. It only cost $1,000,000 for about 41 miles of track. That was a great deal then and seems even better today. Owning this corridor allows some excellent opportunities to move ahead with plans without having to deal with the complicated and expensive issues of rail corridor acquisition. This isn't to say that the future commuter / light rail needs to stay exactly where the track currently runs. If it needs to be diverted a little bit here or there, it should be done to assure that the rail line serves the most appropriate places and can help attract new Transit Oriented Development. Fortunately, the line runs right through the middle of the area with some of the region's fastest growth and with some of its worst congestion - so it should be a pretty attractive corridor to use. Connecting out to the Airport sounds good too. Thanks for the information.
 

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Correction - in describing the location of the section of rail that needs to be put back in place along the old Nickel Plate corridor, the area is NE of downtown, not NW like I said above.
 

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Lots of info on Mass Transit. We had our spring retreat yesterday and I thought I would share some stuff with you all. I promise, this WILL be making a splash this summer. We were even discussing a $0.05/dollar sales tax increase for Central Indiana to pay for this.

First of all Mayor Ballard was in attendence and he made some very encouraging coments...enough so that my opinion on his "opinion" of mass transit here in Central Indiana has changed and he totally "gets it." Though, and I tends to agree, he supports a line from the airport to downtownas much if not more than a line up the northeast corridor. His exact comment was "mass transit here in Indy will be much more of an economic development/quality of life tool rather than traffic control." Face it, when it comes to traffic congestion, Central Indiana is very lucky to have an effective hub and spoke highway system. BUT, we all know that we are on the verge of serious issues if something isn't done soon. I think that the Mayor is thinking that the City's chances for a SuperBowl are greatly enhanced with a line up and running from the airport to DT.

We voted yesterday to begin the public hearings within 60 days. The first "line" is looking to be a diesel/hybrid commuter train that will utilize the existing Nickel Plate Line (State Fair Train) from 146th street to Union Station. Yes, that's right, UNION STATION! This will be inexspensive to start as the State already owns the ROW and very little environmental work/studies will need to be done. This option also works best for a downtown circulator that is expected to be a possible combination of trolleys, busses, and the People Mover. However, nothing is definite on the downtown routes right now.

Central Indiana needs to establish a "rail culture." By utilizing the existing Nickel Plate, we will be able to do this...quickly. We must make sure we get this right immediately "out of the gate." If we don't, the possiblity of getting that "cadillac system" will be low. Redevelopment along this line has a lot of potential too. Also, this does not exclude a future LRT or AGT line down Keystone Ave, which is something that the group is very interested in building as the redevelopment of that corridor would be enhanced. Glendale is seen as an obvious station and the IRTC/CIRTA is well aware of that.

Goals are to have this first commuter line up and running by the time the reconstruction of I-69/I-465 begins. Yes, by the time it begins. Arenn will be able to provide specifics on that project, but I believe that 2011 is the target date for construction.

All in all, yesterday was very informative and we left feeling very good about our prospects. Yes, selling a half-cent tax increase will be difficult, but a perfect storm is brewing and now is the time to seize the chance.
Cory, you made my day. Thank you.
 

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That's great news Cory. I can't believe the timing for this is within the next 3 years. Unbelievable. I really didn't think we would begin to see anything in terms of rail transit for at least 10 years.
 

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Awesome news, especially about the Union Station reuse. And it's very encouraging that Ballard seems to be on board now. I don't understand why the Super Bowl bid is a factor, though. The bid committee is going to make a decision on the 2012 SB in just about three weeks and the final bid submission is next Friday. There's no way that any concrete information about rail transit can make it in there by then.
 

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Cory
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correction, not a $0.05/dollar, rather $0.005. I forgot a zero. It is to only be a half cent
 

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Quick question...does anyone know what they are building along the west side of Meridian Street, just south of Fall Creek, on the site of that former gas station. Looks very Starbuck-ish to me, but am not sure.
I thought it was a starbucks going up as well.. Sorry I can't provide more info, but I would also like to know what this is.
 

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Unbelievable news! Those comments from Ballard are very surprising and welcoming!

Hopefully an IndyGo improvement will coincide.
This x1000. The simplest, most effective thing that can be done to improve mass transit is to improve the system we already have. Frequent, reliable bus service would do so much more than any rail line ever will.
 

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Lots of info on Mass Transit. We had our spring retreat yesterday and I thought I would share some stuff with you all. I promise, this WILL be making a splash this summer. We were even discussing a $0.05/dollar sales tax increase for Central Indiana to pay for this.

First of all Mayor Ballard was in attendence and he made some very encouraging coments...enough so that my opinion on his "opinion" of mass transit here in Central Indiana has changed and he totally "gets it." Though, and I tends to agree, he supports a line from the airport to downtownas much if not more than a line up the northeast corridor. His exact comment was "mass transit here in Indy will be much more of an economic development/quality of life tool rather than traffic control." Face it, when it comes to traffic congestion, Central Indiana is very lucky to have an effective hub and spoke highway system. BUT, we all know that we are on the verge of serious issues if something isn't done soon. I think that the Mayor is thinking that the City's chances for a SuperBowl are greatly enhanced with a line up and running from the airport to DT.

We voted yesterday to begin the public hearings within 60 days. The first "line" is looking to be a diesel/hybrid commuter train that will utilize the existing Nickel Plate Line (State Fair Train) from 146th street to Union Station. Yes, that's right, UNION STATION! This will be inexspensive to start as the State already owns the ROW and very little environmental work/studies will need to be done. This option also works best for a downtown circulator that is expected to be a possible combination of trolleys, busses, and the People Mover. However, nothing is definite on the downtown routes right now.

Central Indiana needs to establish a "rail culture." By utilizing the existing Nickel Plate, we will be able to do this...quickly. We must make sure we get this right immediately "out of the gate." If we don't, the possiblity of getting that "cadillac system" will be low. Redevelopment along this line has a lot of potential too. Also, this does not exclude a future LRT or AGT line down Keystone Ave, which is something that the group is very interested in building as the redevelopment of that corridor would be enhanced. Glendale is seen as an obvious station and the IRTC/CIRTA is well aware of that.

Goals are to have this first commuter line up and running by the time the reconstruction of I-69/I-465 begins. Yes, by the time it begins. Arenn will be able to provide specifics on that project, but I believe that 2011 is the target date for construction.

All in all, yesterday was very informative and we left feeling very good about our prospects. Yes, selling a half-cent tax increase will be difficult, but a perfect storm is brewing and now is the time to seize the chance.
That's awesome news, Cory. Thanks for the update. I've heard rumblings of Brainard's unshakable support for regional mass-transit. Perhaps he's been speaking to Ballard behind the scenes.
 

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correction, not a $0.05/dollar, rather $0.005. I forgot a zero. It is to only be a half cent
The sales tax on restaurant food in Marion County is already 9%: the state's 7%, the (county-only) Hoosier Dome Tax of 1%, and the (regional) Lucas Oil Stadium Tax of another 1%.

Last year Mayor Ballard got elected because the property tax on homes in Marion County reached 4% of "fair market value".

How about an extra one cent of sales tax in the suburban counties first, just to catch up. Then some extra property tax.
 

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Quick question...does anyone know what they are building along the west side of Meridian Street, just south of Fall Creek, on the site of that former gas station. Looks very Starbuck-ish to me, but am not sure.
It was featured in a Star story about the developer (HSM Development) some time back. The tenant is to be "Fall Creek Cafe".
 

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Could someone post a map with the nickel plate line highlighted?
Not a map, but an Indy-centric description:

It runs alongside the Monon from 10th to the point where the Monon veers northwest (to cross Fall Creek Parkway on the red bridge), then runs northeast across 38th St. to where the Fair Train stops at the 39th St. bridge across from the Fairgrounds. From there, it angles across the creek, crosses: Fall Creek Parkway at 42nd; Keystone north of 46th; 52nd behind the BP at Keystone; 56th by Lake Maxinhall; Kessler Blvd. at the east end of the long dragstrip from Rural to Allisonville; and both Allisonville and 62nd near their intersection. Then it runs pretty much parallel to Binford/SR37 up under the I-465/I-69 junction, through the east end of Castleton and "downtown" Fishers up to Noblesville.
 
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