‘Friends of 38th’ coalition hopes to spark conversation, change along busy corridor

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Neighbors say a corridor that connects thousands of people to central Indiana has been neglected for years. Although there’s been some change along 38th Street, one coalition says more needs to be done.

Friends of 38th Corridor Advocacy Coalition was created to start a conversation with the city and focus on the efforts they believe needs to be addressed.

“I live south of 38th Street and our daycare is north of 38th Street,” said Chelsea Marburger, who works and travels along the busy corridor every day.

Marburger says there’s potential that’s going unnoticed.

“It’s not been a street where you’ve felt safe, particularly crossing on foot or on bike,” said Marburger. “The properties along it have been in disrepair for a number of years as well. The speed limit of 38th Street is 35, and you can clearly tell no car is going 35 miles per hour.”

She’s not alone. The issues are catching the attention of other neighbors who live along the street.

“It is a viable street, it is an important street and it gets us basically where we need to go. Everybody trying to go up 38th Street. Everyone including our bicyclists,” said Vadetta Whitley. “Look at this, this is a hot mess. They build everything else, but I mean 38th needs to be revitalized.”

That’s what the Friends of 38th Corridor Advocacy Coalition wants to do. Their goal is to reverse the trend and make room for redevelopment on 38th Street from the Indiana State Fairgrounds to Newfields. The hope is to stretch beyond those two locations in the future.

“In some places, it’s up to 15 years the life expectancy is higher north of 38th Street and lower south of 38th Street and that type of disparity and quality of life is something the coalition is saying is not okay,” said Marburger.

The coalition is made up of several neighborhood associations and businesses that connect to 38th Street and want to see change. Some of the issues Friends of 38th would like to address is quality of sidewalks and streets, the enforcement of the speed limits and buildings that have fallen into disrepair.

“Our particular topic of interest right now is the pedestrian, cycling bridge that would go up and over 38th Street on the Monon,” said Marburger.

The Department of Public Works says the Monon Trail bridge over 38th Street would improve trail safety and mobility by eliminating the crossing on the busy street. The bridge project is a collaboration with the Indiana Department of Transportation. The project would cost $5.5 million.

However, Friends of 38th says more discussions need to happen first.

“The further we were able to dig into the design plans what you’re going to see is that allow for proper incline what you’re doing is effectively cutting off access to 38th Street,” said Marburger. “We don’t want to provide opportunity to avoid 38th street we want to provide people the opportunity to engage at 38th street.”

Construction on the proposed Monon Trail bridge over 38th Street could start by January 2020 and be complete by November of that year.

Marburger and the Friends of 38th say they want what’s best for redevelopment of the corridor and they hope their group can be used as a tool to reach city leaders.

“This bridge happens to be the first of many issues that we’re all going to tackle together that are between these two incredible anchor institutions,” said Marburger.

For more on the Friends of 38th Corridor Advocacy Coalition, click here.

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