IndyGo to seize properties ahead of Red Line construction

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – While IndyGo is moving forward with meetings for potential Red Line contractors and efforts to seize North College Avenue private property under eminent domain, Mayor Joe Hogsett said he has some unanswered questions about the transit system’s admittedly incomplete plans.

“I think that the DPW team is working very closely with the IndyGo team,” said Hogsett in Broad Ripple Sunday, “to make sure that if there are gaps that still exist, that they get filled before any dirt is turned and before construction begins.”

IndyGo intends to begin work on the 12-mile long Red Line route from 6300 College Avenue to the University of Indianapolis this year.

Chuck Mack, owner of Moe & Johnny’s at 54th Street and College Avenue, has already received IndyGo’s notice of intent to seize most of his street side parking lot under eminent domain to compensate for driving and parking lanes that will shrink or disappear due to the Red Line Mass Transit route.

“The access to my building and the egress from my building, it’s going to take it away,” said Mack who said he is being offered a one-time payment of $800 to surrender at least five parking spaces, reconfigure two remaining spots and lose vehicular access to his property off College Avenue.

“It is predatory. It is so negative as to be predatory,” he said. “It’s adversely going to affect my business so now it becomes a degree. Is it adversely affected to where it puts me out of business? I don’t want to entertain that but it could easily be that severe.”

Mack said he will appeal the seizure.

IndyGo will host contractors to explain the scope of the project and the bidding process at the main branch of the Indianapolis Public Library at 11 a.m. Tuesday.

The Red Line is estimated to cost $96 million with federal grants totaling $50 million.

Even though Congress has approved the Red Line funding at two-thirds the level IndyGo sought, President Trump has proposed eliminating the grant program under which the money was allocated.

This fall, a transit tax will go into effect to raise $54 million annually from Marion County residents through a levy that will cost $100 per year for every $40,000 of income.

IndyGo has said that it can still build the Red, Purple and Blue lines of its mass transit master plan but at a slower pace if federal funds are withdrawn.

While Mack fears construction as well as the Red Line’s permanent presence will drive him out of business, others are optimistic that the anticipated popularity of the new service will reduce traffic congestion in Broad Ripple.

“We like to think, based on the trends not only in the city but across the country, with people embracing Ubers, embracing car sharing, bike riding, walking, this has always been more of a walking village than a driving village,” said Mark Wolf, President of the Broad Ripple Village Association. “It’s been a parking problem in Broad Ripple for decades. It’s nothing new. With the density of the living as well as the Red Line station, we like to think that people would be able to come find one parking spot, walk throughout the whole village.”

Wolf is unfazed by the lack of specificity of IndyGo’s Red Line plans.

“I go back to General Schwarzkopf, ‘We’ll get a decision made and it will work itself out by the time it gets implemented.’ I have faith that the process will get done and done correctly.”

IndyGo has been scheduling public meetings regarding its proposed Purple Line, to join Lawrence bus service with the Red Line, next month.

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