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Monday, August 27, 2012

Let’s again become transportation leaders...


Indy Connect Day was Aug. 17 at the Indiana State Fair. Visitors could experience the future of Central Indiana transportation through stations that included bus rapid transit, light rail and commuter rail. The crowds responded enthusiastically.
Mass transit is a hot topic in Central Indiana. The current Indy Connect comprehensive transportation plan includes a regional bus and rail network, roadway improvements, and bike and pedestrian walkways.
In 2012, REALTORS® in Central Indiana are celebrating their centennial anniversary. During this milestone, we are reflecting on the changes we've witnessed in the real estate industry and Central Indiana’s evolution during the past 100 years. The current momentum behind stronger transit systems brings to mind that Indianapolis was once a regional transportation hub, home to America’s first Union Station. Now, the station serves as a historic home to the Crowne Plaza hotel and several restaurants. A noble use certainly, but one that reminds us that — as a region — we are no longer among the transportation innovators. Where we were once a leader, we’re left lagging behind other major cities that have modernized and expanded their transit systems.
As transit supporters across the state are rallying state lawmakers and officials, we must not forget that what comes next — the public referendum — will seal the deal, which is why the Indy Connect Day was so important.
Residents are realizing that transit is an essential solution to our economic, energy and environmental challenges. Attitudes in Indiana, once the nation’s top auto producer, are shifting toward alternative transportation options.
As a REALTOR®, I know the huge impact transportation has on real estate and communities. In talking to potential homebuyers, I’m aware of the concerns for connectivity. Potential homebuyers want to be assured that they’ll have easy access to work, shops and restaurants and entertainment. Transit would set our region up for neighborhood growth and development and undoubtedly make Indianapolis and our entire region more livable.
John Creamer
Past President, Co-Chair, Metropolitan Board of REALTORS® Centennial History Council
(Published in The Indianapolis Star, 8.21.12)

6 comments:

  1. I am violently opposed to Mass Transit. If it's not viable on it's own, Why should the taxpayers subsidize it? The last thing we need is
    more debt. People will have LESS money to buy houses. They have tried this in China, nobody uses it. They have tried it elsewhere with the
    same results. We need less taxes not more.

    This makes No sense. It will be just like the Post Office, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid
    etc. Another government boondoggle. Bankruupt and inefficent. Taxpayers will pay more and more.

    The answer is NO.
    Chris Hanley, Broker- Sycamore Group Realtors

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    1. Mr. Hanley – Thank you for your comments. At one time, transit had a rightful place in the transportation system of many Indiana communities. Unfortunately, over the past five or six decades, we have overemphasized the automobile and dedicated nearly all of our transportation spending to roads and highways designed for car travel only. As a result, we have seen negative impacts to mobility, public health and safety, the environment, neighborhood development and our overall quality of life. Reinvesting in transit systems will help to redefine our communities as more viable places to live, work, learn, shop and play.

      There is growing demand for transit in Indiana and around the country. Ridership in many places is at an all-time high. People don’t just want more travel options, they need them. At the same time, transit funding has dwindled to its lowest level in years. Existing transit systems are cutting service or going out of business altogether; few can meet the full demand of users because of funding limitations.

      While it is true that transit does not pay for itself, no form of transportation does. Roads and highways are funded with a mix of federal, state and local tax dollars in just the same way. Furthermore, that investment of public dollars into our transit systems is far from “wasted” money. Every $1 spent returns $4 to $6 to the local economy through jobs and business development. There is not a transit system in the world that pays for itself.

      A combination of federal, state and local dollars, as well as transit fares, will likely be used to build and operate the transit system. It will be up to the Indiana State Legislature to determine what kind of local funding will be used, but a group of local elected officials, civic and business leaders proposed that counties have the option of implementing a 0.3 percent (3/10ths of a percent) increase in their local option income tax via a referendum to help fund the local share.

      Extensive research and cost benefit analysis have been done over the past four years for this plan. The transit system has been modeled around cities where it has been successful. While there may be certain areas in China where the system isn’t success, by and large the transit systems we are modeling (Charlotte, Denver, Cleveland, Minneapolis, Washington DC) have seen a great deal of use and investment.

      The National Association of REALTORS® supports transit as well. We encourage you to take a look at their toolkit: http://www.realtor.org/programs/smart-growth-program/transportation-toolkit

      Here are a few articles worth reading about the connection between transit and development:

      http://urbanland.uli.org/Articles/2012/July/HellendrungHealthLine
      http://urbanland.uli.org/Articles/2012/Jan/MacCleeryNOMA

      Contact Sara Laycock at saralaycock@mibor.com for more information about REALTOR® involvement in the transit campaign.

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  2. I am in favor of mass transit, especially the train from Noblesville that could go down through Fishers and into Castleton, etc. Just think of how many people we could get off the congested roads - and we all know how bad they are up that way! Much of the infrastructure is already in place. I really don't see why the funding for this type of project couldn't be raised. (Look at how much the candidates are all collecting for their elections!) We need to find ways to get people where they need to go without using their cars all the time.

    Although I do agree that debt is not a thing we should embrace in any way, or welcome, the value of such a service would be immeasurable with benefits extending far beyond just the transportation itself. The benefits to our environment and the possible savings that could be gained from the endless expanding of our roadways (all year long now) would be worth a great deal. And since I brought up the subject...why couldn't the savings realized on the roadways in the northeastern part of Indy be diverted to the railway project instead? Oh, yes, but they are already spending so much money on the road construction up there now, I suppose they think they wouldn't have to do it again for a long time...

    It seems to me that if we are in an industry that is full of salespeople, why in the world can't we get more people to rally around this project? We need to start looking at alternatives to the form of transportation we have come to know as our only mode. Think out of the 'box,' but in this case, the 'box' would be your vehicle.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for your feedback! We’ll continue to champion the benefits of a robust transit system for our region because of the positive impact it can have on the housing market and welcome member participation. We encourage your office to pass a Resolution of Support for enhance transit (http://cirta.us/pages/resolutions/) and sign the petition for dedicated transit funding at http://cirta.us/pages/petition/. For more ways to get involved visit http://www.indianacat.org.

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  3. Thanks for talking about the mass transit in this area! I know there are many areas in the USA and in other countries where mass transit is the way most of the population gets around. I am highly in favor of mass transit form many reasons. I am not impressed with the bus system in Indianapolis. There are many people who cannot afford to own a car and still need transportation to get to work, jobs, be with family members, etc. The system we have in Indianapolis is not very complete and sometimes not safe. I was not aware of how difficult it was to use until I befriended a person who didn't own a car, was needing to be at her job by 5 AM. (which meant she had to take a taxi because the buses didn't run that early) and her second job didn't get off until 9 or 10 PM. This meant she had to take a taxi home as well because the bus routes stop around 8 PM. Every day she had to take a taxi to and from work, she actually worked three hours of her day in order to pay for the cab fare.

    I know of another person who has a car that was needing repaired. He checked into taking a bus to work for the period of time the car was not going to be available to drive during the repair. He check the routes and discovered it would take him about 2 hours, once he walked a mile to the bus stop to begin, to get from around 465 & Keystone to the pyramids. He was willing to do that however in order to be at work on time, he would have to leave earlier than when the buses started running.
    There is a growing number of people who will also need mass transportation due to age or who are differently abled. What will their choices be. I think it is difficult to meet everyone's needs but in order to be a thriving community in the future and also responsible for our carbon footprint, the mass transit picture needs to be looked at and expanded often in order to meet the needs of our community both near and far. Thank you!
    Liz Michael

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    1. Liz, thank you for sharing these moving examples of why this issue is so important. In order for people to buy homes, they have to have jobs and most importantly have access to jobs. Our current transit system does not meet the needs of the working public. A dedicated funding source for transit will enable our region to better connect workers to jobs. For more ways to get involved in the push for more transit please visit http://www.indianacat.org.

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