Thursday, March 21, 2013

Report Shows Indianapolis is One of the Least Dense Cities in the Country

In 2011, the Trust for Public Land, which is aimed at creating urban parkland, did a report on density of the 100 largest cities in the United States.   The cities were classified according to density into the following categories:  High, Intermediate-High, Intermediate-Low, Low.

Indianapolis fell into the "Low" category, ranking 81st out of 100, with 3.5 persons per acre.  New York City has 43.0 while Chicago has 19.6.  The city we are most often compared to, Columbus, OH, has 5.7.

For mass transit to be financially viable, you have to have density.  Indianapolis just does not have density.  Even after building this system, not enough riders are going to use it to make it financially viable.  The "build it and they will come" approach has never worked as a strategy to develop mass transit.  Because in most places in Indianapolis it is very easy to travel by car, people are going to choose that mode of transportation over mass transit.

With rail also in the mix, Indianapolis is building a white elephant that will hang as an albatross around the city's neck for decades.  The only one who will benefit from this huge tax increase to fund this project will be the pay-to-play crowd that dominates Indianapolis politics.


Pete Boggs said...

"Victims of discrimination" billboards around the city invite the question- what do you mean by dense?

Paul K. Ogden said...

I think some people would say our residents are very dense. Good point, Pete.

Gary R. Welsh said...

I learned something about this bus rapid transit they are promoting now in place of the light rail. It cannot make a 45-degree turn, which means they have to pick a straight-shot route and stick with it and include turnabouts at the ends of the route to head back in the other direction.

Indy Rob said...

I would like to meet some of these young urban professionals who would move to Indianapolis only if we had a better bus system. I would be curious as to the type of profession that they practice as well as any long term employment goals.

Cato said...


Density sucks.

Density is for weaklings who want to spend their entire lives in a dorm in the student quad.

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