Meijer is coming; hide the kids. Seriously, children will be in danger.

meijer

I live in a wonderful neighborhood just east of Broad Ripple in Indianapolis. A few blocks south of me there is a small apartment building that serves as a buffer between the neighborhood and a row of car dealerships. A developer has purchased these dealerships and would like to put a Meijer superstore on the lots.

How do I feel about this? Honestly, I don’t care too much about the actual store. I wish it was more local and I wish it wasn’t going to be such a huge slab of asphalt parking lot but otherwise I don’t have strong feelings. It’s better than some options, not as good as others.

What I do care about though, passionately so, is my neighborhood where I have lived for 12 years. My neighbors are wonderfully diverse in every respect. There are all ages, ethnicity, and sizes of households. Many walk their dogs, ride their bikes or walk to nearby restaurants for dinner. We have gotten to know many of our neighbors well and have a high degree of trust and concern for each other.

So it is with great concern that I see the plans for the proposed Meijer store would have a primary entrance placed between two neighborhood streets (Brouse and Hillside) on 56th St. This is tremendously unnerving for many reasons.

Traffic and Safety

  1. Keystone is an extremely busy 4+ lane thoroughfare that serves as a primary artery north and south in this part of the city.
  2. People looking for a shortcut to the Meijer entrance will naturally turn up parallel neighborhood streets, where there are no stoplights and fewer obstacles (including police observing traffic).
  3. Our streets are not designed for this kind of traffic. We have very little parking on the street or in small driveways. It’s not unusual for there to be single-lane access down the road currently.
  4. We have no sidewalks in our neighborhood.
  5. 58th St. is a busy cross-street (East-West) that runs to Bishop Chatard High School a few blocks to the west. It is frequented by teen drivers, who often run that stop sign.
  6. 58th and Brouse is also a morning and afternoon bus stop for children in the area. Dramatically increasing traffic on these streets without sidewalks, proper lanes, and other safety features would put these children at significant risk.
  7. In the winter, these streets are often not plowed regularly, increasing the difficulty in passing through them for residents.

These are legitimate concerns about traffic flow being routed onto residential streets without safety features. These concerns should provide the basis for discussion about how to best incorporate businesses such as Meijer that may want to provide access from 56th St.

This is not a NIMBY situation. However, unless these safety concerns are addressed through creative and effective traffic management, I cannot support rezoning the apartment building for heavy retail or the development of a Meijer or similar business. The risk to the safety and infrastructure of these neighborhoods is simply too great.

TL;DR: The proposed Meijer at 56th and Keystone in Indianapolis poses a major safety and traffic problem for residents in the neighborhood immediately bordering this intersection. 


Update: The apartment building and Bennett Innovations on 56th Street are currently zoned as D4, a residential zoning. The apartment building and Bennett Innovations have filed a rezoning petition to change from D4, a type of residential zoning, to a C-4, which would allow the development of a variety of high traffic commercial businesses. 

The hearing for this rezoning is Thursday, October 23, 1:00 PM at the City-County Building, 2nd Floor, 200 E. Washington Street.

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We should reinstate the draft.

usa

The Problem

Our elected officials now flat out to refuse to do any work within six months of an election, for fear of having a vote on the record that will hurt them in an upcoming election, in this case the midterms. This is inexcusable. They are elected to govern and serve, not to be re-elected.

The clearest indication of their collective abdication of responsibility is their unwillingness to debate the prospect of again entering into a significant military engagement in the Middle East. If any issue is deserving of debate, surely it is the choice to send Americans into war?

I don’t even have a strong opinion about whether or not we should go or at what level. I have only a rudimentary understanding of the issues and players involved and I feel like I really don’t know enough about the situation to have a credible opinion. This is where (ideally) our elected officials would gather advanced intelligence from sources better than mine and debate the various options to come to a considered decision.

Instead, we get the mess we have in Washington, where officials are terrified to go on the record within months of a midterm election. Just look at this exchange on ABC between George Stephanopoulos and Speaker Boehner:

“If no one else will step up, would you recommend putting American boots on the ground?” Stephanopoulos pressed.

“We have no choice,” Boehner warned. “These are barbarians. They intend to kill us, and if we don’t destroy them first, we’re going to pay the price.”

If the president requested new authorization for the use of military force, Boehner pledged to call the House back into session “next week.”

“I’d be happy to,” he said. “The president has not done that. He believes he has authority under existing resolutions to do what he’s done.”

“You don’t agree?” Stephanopoulos asked.

“I think he does have the authority to do it, but the point I’m making is this is a proposal that the Congress ought to consider,” the speaker said.

Oh, heavens! Congress would like to debate the president’s actions and America’s response to a serious national security threat but President Obama hasn’t asked them to discuss it! Whatever shall they do?

I think we all know just how dearly Congress treasures the president’s feelings so it’s understandable that they are paralyzed without his explicit invitation. /sarcasm  To ALL in Congress: Shame on you.

The Solution: Reinstate the Military Draft

First, let me be clear that I’d like to reinstate the draft with no exemptions for those of wealth or privilege. It’s critical that no one gets deferred because of their connections.

Put the children and grandchildren of the wealthy and influential in the mix and try to get by without a serious debate about the personal and societal costs of war. It won’t fly. You can be damn sure that if a good number of people in Congress (or their major donors) thought their loved ones might be sent to war, they’d have a debate about whether or not this is worth it.

Maybe it is worth it, maybe it isn’t. We’d at least hear reasons and arguments from all involved. Now, we just get cowards living out the truth of Bob Dylan’s Masters of War, hiding behind desks while they send others to death:

Come you masters of war
You that build all the guns
You that build the death planes
You that build the big bombs
You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks