You’ve probably read about the Red Line, IndyGo’s planned bus rapid transit route that will eventually offer fast, frequent service along a 35-mile route stretching from Westfield and Carmel through downtown and south to Greenwood.
The Indy Chamber has been a long-time advocate of regional mass transit, and the Red Line is the first leg of the Indy Connect strategy for expanded bus and new rapid transit service across the metro area. It’s a big step forward for Indianapolis…like any change, it’s come with lots of discussion. To add to the conversation, here are five reasons we support the Red Line:
1. A more convenient commute…
Why does snow always seem to hit during rush hour? This week’s winter storm caused traffic headaches for many of us – let’s face it, the morning drive is rarely the best part of our workday.
The Red Line adds a new option to IndyGo’s existing service. Imagine all-electric buses with WiFi and other commuter-friendly additions, running every ten minutes in dedicated lanes (making travel times similar to driving, even with stops conveniently located every half-mile or so along the route). Get a little work done, or just sit back and relax with your morning coffee.
2. Connecting people and jobs.
The Red Line is on the fast track because of its broad impact – the first leg of the route in Marion County runs within easy walking distance of 64,000 residents, one of every four jobs in the city, college campuses like IUPUI, Ivy Tech, Butler and UIndy. It boosts our economy by connecting our workforce with growing employers (Chamber members consistently rank reliable public transportation for their employees as a top concern).
This includes many neighborhoods where job opportunities are scarce. From Broad Ripple to UIndy, one of every four households on the Red Line is below the poverty line and a similar number don’t own a car. In these areas, transit equals access to employment and education.
3. Helping neighborhoods grow.
The Red Line can also create opportunities in neighborhoods. New residents are drawn to areas with rapid transit service, bringing new commercial, retail and housing development (and new jobs) with them. In Cleveland, for example, the Health Line bus rapid transit line serves roughly the same number of people and jobs in the urban core as the Red Line will – and in seven years, it has generated nearly $5.8 billion in new economic activity!
4. Indy wants you!
Talent is a top priority for business today, and rapid transit service attracts people…including skilled workers who want to be less reliant on their cars and closer to their jobs. (A recent national real estate survey shows that 77% of Millennial and Boomer homebuyers prefer more urban, walkable neighborhoods.) By appealing to the lifestyle their employees want, transit helps us attract new investment and jobs from companies that put workforce first.
5. Another big step towards regional success.
The economy doesn’t function according to county lines or city limits – to grow, we have to work together. The Indy Chamber convened local officials across our nine-county region on common challenges like workforce, shared resources like water, and a coordinated approach to economic development. As our first foray into fixed-route transit across multiple counties, the Red Line is a red letter project for regional cooperation.
Those are just five of our reasons for embracing the Red Line. You can learn more by visiting www.indygo.net/redline, add your own reason using #IndyGoRed, and go public by adding your name to a growing list of supporters here (a petition started by friends of mass transit).