Thursday, October 16, 2008

Keeping the Lid on the Oil Can; So We Have A Retractable Roof But We're Rarely Going to Use It?

The questionable wisdom of city leaders is once again in display in this morning's Indianapolis Star. It turns out that that retractable roof stadium that cost $720 million dollars is actually not an open air facility that can be closed in bad weather, but an enclosed stadium with a sunroof that will rarely be opened. Unlike in other cities, when Indianapolis built the Lucas Oil Stadium, they didn't shell out the additional $500,000 for a drainage system.

The Star reports that the $15.7 million roof won't be open but rarely. The figure is misleading. While the roof itself might have cost $15.7, as I recall designing a stadium with a retractable roof cost about $200 million more.

So in short, because our city leaders didn't shell out the extra $500,000 for drainage, the extra $200 million dollars we spent in order to have a retractable roof goes down the drain.

Mike Lloyd, is an engineer for CMX Sports Engineers in Phoenix, who designed the removable grass field and drainage system for Phoenix Stadium, describes Indianapolis city leaders attitude toward Lucas Oil Stadium as a "bit curious" and suggests it would have been wise to make the stadium more flexible. Well, Mr. Lloyd some of us here in Indianapolis have a different word to describe city leaders who have bungled this project from the beginning but to be polite I won't use it.

So they designed a retractable roof stadium without drainage so the roof can't be used 90% of the time. That bonehead decision is a little like estimating the cost of the new stadium and failing to include the $20 million dollars needed every year to operate the stadium.


Anonymous said...

This restrictive & therefore seldom available for use concept is similar to the engineered frustration built into many cars with partially opening rear windows; child protection left to lawyers rather than adults known as parents.

Apparently "there's money" in these "products" of public finance...

Downtown Indy said...

I long ago estimated each open-roof event as having a $500K pricetag. My figure is based on the roof cost ($100M), the stadium lifetime (30 yrs) and 10 events per year where the conditions are 'just right' to open it.

That's a lot of taxpayer dough invested just to be 'cool.'

For that money the city's just-announced bike trail project could have been funded 5 times over, done 5 years faster, or been 5 times as extensive.

M Theory said...

And downtown indy....the bike trail is FREE! Unlike the Oil Can, every Hoosier can afford to use the bike path and it promotes physical fitness.

Paul K. Ogden said...

I'm a biker and ride regularly to work down the White River trail. I do have mixed feelings about the bike lanes. (I think that is what you mean when you say "bike trail.") Very often these lanes are quite narrow and just inches away from passing traffic. (See the ones in Carmel.) Glass, large rocks and other debris often gets pushed into the lanes. There have been some communities that have tried bike lanes and abandoned them. Fort Wayne gave up on theirs, or at least I've been told.

The ideal would be to have a completely separate path, apart from the rodeway. Of course if those aren't built in initially to a roadway plan they would be very expensive to develop.

Downtown Indy said...

Yes, 'trail' should have more precisely been 'lane.'

I ride a couple thousand miles or more each year on city streets, mainly because there are no trails in my part of town.

I hadn't contemplated the maintenance of bike lanes, but you are right on. The space where those lanes will be IS where the junk settles.

And so, I must ride farther left than I should have to because of it. I walked home twice last year *7-10 miles each time* because I hit large bits of glass that made patching the tube imposible.

There are few streets that see a sweeper, and those probably once or twice (if lucky) during the year.