(Indianapolis) Town Welcomes Those on Foot
Founded in the 1800s along the White River, Broad Ripple has grown intelligently
through much of its history. Though now part of the city of Indianapolis, the community
has retained its identity by preserving classic buildings and protecting open space.
Broad Ripple has a great blend of people and places -- residential areas as well as
jobs, commerce and arts, scenic parks and beautiful trails. The area is served by public
transportation, and a light-rail plan for Indianapolis may extend to Broad Ripple.
Choices for Getting Around: A network of scenic
trails and ample bike racks provide prime cycling opportunities in Broad Ripple.
One distinctive aspect of Broad Ripple is how pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly
the town is. Streets have wide sidewalks, and several areas in town have bicycle racks.
The Monon Trail, a rail corridor turned bike path, and the Central Canal Towpath, a
holdover from the 19th century, provide safe and scenic bike paths that link the village
with nearby neighborhoods.
Aside from the trails there are two popular parks, Marott and Broad Ripple. Marott
Park, located just off the Monon Trail, includes trails running through native woodland
and around Williams Creek. Broad Ripple Park, located on the White River, offers a variety
of recreational opportunities that are within walking distance of local neighborhoods.
Springs (Indianapolis) Hoped-For Park Slips Away
Protecting green space is key to curbing sprawl and Marion County, home to
Indianapolis, has a plan to create new parks and protect open space. But over the past
eight years, due to under-funding and a lack of commitment, 29 of 72 areas tagged as
high-priority acquisitions have been lost.
Gated Sprawl: Sycamore SPrings turned open space that
residents had hoped might become a park into more suburban sprawl.
The development of Sycamore Springs was built on 172 acres of fragile wetlands
and lakeside habitat. Residents thought the open space might become a park. Instead, it
was rezoned, surrounded by a high brick wall and developed. Many of the trees on the
property were cut and little open space was preserved.
Sycamore Springs not only destroyed valuable open space, it's almost totally
automobile-dependent. The roads surrounding the development are busy and have no
sidewalks. There is a bus line nearby but it is difficult to access. Traffic in the area
is a problem and the traffic generated by this gated community will just make it worse.
How did it happen? When faced with the request to rezone the open space, the
metropolitan development commission said yes. Not only were public officials unsupportive
of efforts to protect the land, the parks department had only a pittance to carry out the
The saga of Sycamore Springs shows that there's more to smart growth than a good plan
-- it needs support from public officials, planners and residents. In this case,
opposition by locals wasn't enough to stop the project.
But some area environmentalists are pushing for a simple, free-market way to create
more parks and help slow sprawl: Use impact fees on new development to fund open-space