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
- Keystone is an extremely busy 4+ lane thoroughfare that serves as a primary artery north and south in this part of the city.
- 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).
- 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.
- We have no sidewalks in our neighborhood.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.