How homeowners, small business owners, and commuters might come out on top in the end
The Indianapolis Red Line has been a hotly debated topic in local news for the past few months, and a dividing topic amongst Indianapolis residents. Driving down downtown streets, you’ll find many yards sporting “IM ON BOARD for better transit” signs, showing their favor for a transit system that is more ecofriendly and accessible for Indianapolis residents. But, on the other side, you’ll find many are grumbling about slow morning commutes due to construction and mentions of the Red Line being a “glorified public bus”.
So what is this infamous Red Line and how will it truly effect Indianapolis?
The Red Line is a radical project that has been in the works for 10 years now. The intention is for the Red Line to completely change how Hoosiers commute around Indianapolis. Interestingly enough, it will be the nation’s first completely electric Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, utilizing a special lane lined with stops located in the center of the street, and run up north from Broad Ripple Village all the way through down town, and then down south to Fountain square. The route will consist 28 different stops in total. According to Indy Connect, “The Red Line will offer a fast, frequent, and comfortable transportation option to over 100,000 people who will be within walking distance of the 35-mile corridor.” Indianapolis residents can expect to take their first ride on the Red Line late this summer.
What Should You Expect from the Red Line?
Many residents feel that the Red Line is not in the best interest of the city primarily because it is 1) over budget and 2) behind on construction. Probably the worst consequence of the Red Line may be that many small business owners have suffered as a result of construction closing street parking. The owner of one popular lunch spot located on College Avenue has reported that they have seen their business drop between 35% and 40% less than this time last year. Luckily, we are close to the finish line and the long-run benefits of the Red Line are expected to far outweigh the negatives. For instance, home prices in areas within walking distance are expected to see a rise in value. According to Indianapolis housing statistics, the average price for a home on College Avenue in 2016 was around $200,000. Today that number has jumped to around $250,000. That is a 20% increase in just three years, and many housing experts are pointing to the Red Line as a primary factor in this spike. Furthermore, small businesses that are currently suffering will most likely see similar benefits.
Why Are Homes Increasing in Value due to the Red Line?
As we discussed in our previous blog, many millennials are choosing to move to Indianapolis due to the low cost in housing and plentiful job market. These same millennials are moving into single family homes – the style of home that dominates College Avenue and the surrounding area. Millennials prefer public transit and the Red Line will extend the distance that home owners in the Indianapolis area can travel without putting their keys in the ignition. More importantly, the Red Line is an eco-friendly form of travel, also high on the list of importance for many millennials. If you are not lucky enough to live within walking distance of the Red Line, don’t think that you are left out. It is expected that the Red Line will help with traffic congestion within the Indianapolis area as well. Overall, the Red Line may be causing some short-term pain for homeowners, small business owners, and commuters across the downtown Indianapolis area, but the long-term positives of the project appear to directly benefit those that feel slighted right now.