INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (April 19, 2016) - City officials are still trying to figure out where the $6 million will come from to pay for the city’s Blue Indy project. The project though has been up and running for more than seven months and there are almost 100 cars sitting at stations throughout Marion County.
“The parking along this particular section of Delaware Street is no parking, stopping, standing during certain hours of the day,” said City Councilman Zach Adamson (D – District 17).
But Blue Indy cars are apparently parked above the law. The cars sit at two spots of the already busy, parking limited, congested stretch of Delaware Street in downtown Indy.
“The public from what I’m understanding is still not happy with the locations, the variety of them especially in very high density areas of the city which were already experiencing crises in parking,” said Adamson.
Adamson said docking stations sit in some of the worst possible parts of Indianapolis, in part, because Blue Indy never asked or notified the public when they first began instillation.
“The new mayor had some concerns overall with constituents that had negative comments about the way the process was vetted for the contract, that it wasn’t publically processed,” said Julie Voorhies, the Marion County Auditor.
Voorhies pulled the plug on paying for the $6 million Blue Indy project after she says she realized it had not gotten council approval, or been properly vetted, with the money coming from the city’s parking meter fund; an improper use she says, of that account.
The Ballard administration Voorhies claims, entered into the Blue Indy contract without notifying a single city leader, “No one on the city-county side realized the terms of the contract and didn’t even know that the city was involved in the negotiations,” she said.
“I don’t see them ever moving so if that’s any indication of a successful program or not, it would be hard to call it a success if they’re not being utilized,” said Adamson.
Blue Indy representatives would say otherwise though, giving us this statement:
“Success is determined by consistently increasing membership and rides taken on the service, both of which we are experiencing at a better rate than we had hoped. We’ve actually been getting great feedback from neighborhood groups and businesses, and are diligently working with the City on public engagement efforts for any future stations.”
Blue Indy’s President added in a statement:
“The service is used extensively. The number of rides is increasing daily and now regularly exceeds 100 per day. There have been approximately 15,000 trips since inception so any notion that the service is not used is false. On contrary, the Indianapolis community has received Blue Indy very warmly and we are improving transit options which was our goal and the goal of past and present community leaders.
A lawsuit was filed by the Auditor in the fall against the City and Blue Indy over the funding and legality of the contract. This lawsuit was settled and the Blue Indy funding and contract are therefore not in question anymore.
Blue Indy is engaging in broad consultation over site selection. We have solicited and received numerous suggestions on our website for the last 18 months. We have consulted with community leaders, universities, business and neighborhood groups on many occasions and continue to do so. We are working closely with the City and their neighborhood liaisons to receive input and feedback on locations. At the suggestion of the new administration and of the council, we have increased the City’s ability to direct site selection. We are also working closely with Councilor Adamson and other Council leaders to continue improving our engagement with the anticipation of resolving any question from the Council or the community.”
Initial plans called to have 500 cars at 200 Blue Indy charging stations, but for now, details are still being hammered out between city council and Blue Indy representatives to figure out how exactly this contract will be paid for.