Tag Archives: Sustainability

Fishers Nickel Plate District Trail Project

Fishers Trail Project 116th Street (Image: IBJ.com 11/18/11)

Within the past couple weeks, the Fishers Nickel Plate District Trail Project has reappeared on my radar. I first saw the news story when it broke in the Indianapolis Business Journal last year in November. I recently came in contact with it again when I spoke with the person who works for the company responsible for the unique pavement techniques used in the project. Once I saw some of the pictures, I had to take a look myself. Continue reading

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Hey Walgreen’s, This is an unacceptable a bike rack

A few days ago, I decided to take the scenic route on my way home from work. On my way to my house, I decided to stop into Walgreen’s to buy a drink for when I got home. I locked my bike to an obviously unattached bike rack only because I decided I could run into the store, buy my drink and get back outside before anyone could possibly steal my bike (and the bike rack). When I came back outside, my bike was still there (phew!) but I decided to take a better look at the bike rack. Not only is the rack not attached to any surface, it was somewhat lightweight. I could pick it up if I wanted to. Below is a picture of the bike rack in question.

This is a perfectly good example of what I would call an unacceptable bike rack. Since it is in the parking lot, someone could easily drive by in a pickup truck, get out and pick up a bike with the bike rack attached. Secondly, this does not shed positive light to its owner. It looks as though they took a railing and welded it to a rusted metal window frame. Not to mention also, should an employee want to ride their bike to work, the bike could still get easily stolen without taking the bike rack. This type of bike rack makes it hard to lock the BODY of the bike so the WHEEL is the one getting locked to this structure. Most bikes nowadays have quick release mechanisms. Mine takes seconds to remove the front tire.

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Greg Goodnight’s positive effect on the City of Kokomo

Kokomo’s Mayor, Greg Goodnight, is up for reelection tomorrow. Many reasons noted by unions for backing Goodnight for reelection is because of his dedication for quality of life issues and retaining and attracting new business to the city of Kokomo. Here are some of the reasons why I support Greg Goodnight:

The City Line & alternative transportation

Before Greg Goodnight was mayor, the city of Kokomo was one of the largest cities in Indiana without a free or low-cost public transportation option. (Source) The city itself has been lacking a mass transit source for over 40 years, and has been relying solely on automotive transportation and within the past 10 years has just begun delving into alternative transportation sources. Under Greg Goodnight’s reign as mayor, the city of Kokomo has seen the birth of the City Line trolley as well as a mile and a half of new multi-use pathways and 5.5 miles of bike lanes within the last year. The city created the Industrial Heritage Trail, a rail-with-trail project that cleaned up an unused railroad line creating a safer place for people to bike as well as beautifying a formerly littered industrial area of the city. In the past year to 2 years, the city essentially created alternative transportation infrastructure, catching Kokomo up to other similarly sized cities that already have these amenities in place.

Downtown Revitalization

In the past 4 years the city has seen some tremendous things happen in downtown Kokomo. For the first time in years, the majority of the downtown area had new pavement at the same time as well as a reduction in sign and street clutter and the introduction of the “bump-out” to the “City of Firsts.” Our downtown hasn’t looked better than it does now. With the creation of the “Riverfront District,” downtown Kokomo has seen an influx of businesses making downtown a more attractive business location. With the removal of 4 one-way streets that often confused drivers and deterred customers, the city is more accessible by all modes of transit.

Business Growth

Under Greg Goodnight, the city has attracted new businesses and the opening of many new stores and restaurants. New businesses includes a $25 Million Delphi expansion, Carney-Echelbarger Machining relocating to Kokomo, Angie Meyer’s Design Studio, Planet Mind Learning Store, Comics Cubed, MC Sports, a relocation of Artworks to downtown, Westwind Wood Specialities and a $5 Million Fed-Ex expansion. Some of the eating establishments include Cook MacDougals, Dunkin Donuts, Chipotle, The Vault, Hibachi Grill, Whisky Creek, Supreme Buffet, and two “Green” Subway’s.

What do you want in a community? Do you want to be able to walk to vibrant business districts? Ride your bike safely, any time of day, to work or for recreation? Greg Goodnight has been a forward-thinking mayor compared to past mayors and the city as a whole has benefited from his guidance. As I illustrated in this post, Greg Goodnight has removed Kokomo from the Forbe’s list of fastest dying towns and became the Community of the Year according to the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. We need to continue that success for the next four years, instead of relying on someone who clearly doesn’t know the demands of running a municipal government like Scott Kern.

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Senior Citizen Housing development coming to downtown Kokomo

Yesterday in the Kokomo Perspective a new development downtown was revealed on a currently dilapidated parcel near the Railroad Station district of downtown Kokomo. The project includes 50-70 units in a 3-4 story building located at the intersection of Washington and Taylor Streets across the road from the Masonic Temple. The project was mentioned here in the Kokomo Tribune.

Senior Housing Site Plan (Image: Redrawn by Ross Pierce 8/8/11)

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Picture Post: Russiaville Interurban Station

may or may not have a friend working at Brenner Design in Indianapolis, which is working on preservation designs of the historic Russiaville Interurban Station. I told my friend that I would post anything sent to me… in a loud bar, so hopefully they realized that I was serious. We caught up recently and spoke about our projects and they put together that Russiaville is close to Kokomo, so we began a pretty long conversation about the design and mentioned that they would send me some of the historic images.

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Main and Union changes to two-way

Roadways change to two-way roads today.

The project that I mentioned twice now in the past is reaching an end. The two roadways are nearing completion with little work left to be finished, but today the city crews are out removing bags over the added signage for two-directional traffic, finishing up roadway striping, decorative crosswalks and syncing the traffic lights.

The project features stormwater (Past articles with pictures are here and here) which allows rain water to infiltrate the ground via the planters rather than going into the sewer system. With a heavy rain, water will go into the sewer system should the planter reach it’s maximum yield. This sustainable project will help improve water quality, relieve the sewer system of some water, while improving the circulation and making the area more walk and bike friendly by tweaking and changing the streetscape.

Looking South on Main without traffic lines (Image: Ross Pierce 6/3/11)

Thermoplastic Crossing Main at the Walk of Excellence (Image: Ross Pierce 6/3/11)

Bagged Traffic Lights and existing "Do Not Enter" sign will be removed (Image: Ross Pierce 6/3/11)

One aspect which I really love is this enlarged traffic island which veers southbound Union onto Home Avenue. The planting itself needs to grow in a little, but it will look really great soon to come.

Island diverting N/S traffic on Union to Home Avenue. (Image: Ross Pierce 6/3/11)

Bike Path

In a related project the walk and bike path, which begins south of the Markland and Main intersection is starting to be paved and posts are being installed for the fencing. And if you look closely, you can see two people walking their dog on it already.

Bike Path at Main and Markland (Image: Ross Pierce 6/3/11)

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Main & Union Street Improvement Project: Construction Update

If you remember an earlier post I wrote about the Main & Union street improvement project, I highlighted some early thoughts on the specifics on the project. I met with Carey Stranahan on Friday, March 25, and we talked for about an hour about the Main and Union project as well as some general ideas for the future of the city of Kokomo. After the talk, I got a better understanding of the method behind the placement of the new stormwater planters along Main and Union Streets and more information about the overall project.

On Saturday, April 22, I took a walk along Main and Union Streets to see how the construction of the stormwater planters are coming along. As of Saturday, most of the stormwater planters were poured except for some on north Main. When I spoke with Carey, we talked about the biggest planter which will be located near the connection of Union Street and Home Avenue. I am most excited about this planter, because it will direct traffic more efficiently than it did before, and it will almost serve as a gateway point for that area. The planted median will be vegetated with some evergreens and other plants.

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It is kind of hard to tell, because there has been quite a lot of construction in these pictures, but as I mentioned in the previous post, the planters are not completely symmetrical as you move down the street because they are taking out existing stormwater inlets and creating the stormwater planters where those inlets where located. The asymmetrical location of the planters makes complete sense utilizing existing locations of storm water inlets. By doing this, the project is as minimally invasive as possible. Crosswalks will be marked with a faux brick texture, making the streets more pedestrian friendly. Main and Union Streets will accommodate two-way traffic, but Main Street will accommodate bike lanes and Union will not. Bike racks, flower baskets, street furniture and possibly other traffic calming techniques are focused near the Main Street business district near Markland Avenue.

Bike Path

The proposed bike path will start at the intersection of Main and Markland and will continue south along the ROW of the railroad until the path meets Boulevard Street near Chrysler. This bike path is part of a plan to include alternative modes of transportation, hoping to connect to other greenways in the area. This pathway will serve the city as its north and south spine and will support the east/west Wildcat Creek Walk of Excellence.

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Ball State University Immersive Learning Project Part2

Over the past few weeks, the Environmental Planning class has been coming up with ideas for the Indiana Interchurch Center in Indianapolis. The overview of the project can be found here: Ball State University Immersive Learning Project Part1. A few weeks ago, we went to Indianapolis to present our preliminary ideas. The following images are our final presentation boards (Click to get higher resolutions). The overall project at the Indiana Interchurch Center will be multiple phases. Pictured below:

(Image: BSU Environmental Planning Course 2011 Student Work)

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Ball State University Immersive Learning Project Part1

In a class that I’m taking this semester, we are learning about environmental planning. We have spent a good portion of the semester learning about environmentally friendly design features like rainwater planters, impermeable pavements, native vegetation as well as some of the dangers to our natural wildlife. We are using our learned knowledge to construct wildlife habitats on a site in Indianapolis near the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

Indiana Interchurch Center (Image: Ross Pierce 03/25/11)

This project is located at the Indiana Interchurch Center (IIC) at 42nd Street and Michigan Road and is in association with the Center for Interfaith Cooperation (CIC), Ball State University, the Indiana Wildlife Federation and Keep Indianapolis Beautiful (KIB). The interdisciplinary project involves students from Urban Planning, Landscape Architecture, Natural Resources and Environmental Management and Architecture departments from students in their second year up to graduate students. Designing and installing a wildlife habitat to be certified by the Indiana Wildlife Federation is the main goal of this project but not limited to creating a master plan for future site development, maintenance and future funding and grant opportunities to continue development of the site. We are receiving native trees and native grasses and wildflowers. Trees coming from KIB in association with the Arbor Day Foundation called “Planting with a Purpose,” and grasses and wildflowers from Spence Restoration Nursery.

“This installation will increase the amount of livable area in the city for our native birds, insects, and mammals, as well as making the highly visible site more beautiful and environmentally sustainable.  The students will be presenting their preliminary site plan design to the IIC and other invited guests on Saturday, April 2nd at 10:00am in the second floor chapel of the IIC.” – Lisa Dunaway ASLA LEED AP

These are some preliminary site images of our site: Indiana Interchurch Center near the intersection of Michigan Avenue and 42nd Street. We are focusing on the entire site. I only took pictures of the street side of the building at this first site visit.

Image Locations (Image: Ross Pierce 03/25/11)

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We are currently looking for additional native plant and mulch donations, and installation equipment to borrow such as shovels and buckets. Please forward this to groups or organizations who would  be interested in donating. If you’d like to donate, please contact Lisa Dunaway via the Urban Planning Office at Ball State University by phone 765-285-1963 or by fax 765-285-2648.

UPDATE: Ball State University Immersive Learning Project Part2

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Renovation of KHCPL by krM Architects

Library Before Renovation

Before I started Kokomotive, I wrote a short article about the proposed (at the time) renovation of the Kokomo-Howard County Public Library Main Branch. Originally, the library board was intending to build a new structure downtown in coordination with a new YMCA building as a bold attempt for downtown revitalization. If you live in Kokomo, you are probably aware that the library had many factors that resulted in the decision to renovate the current library building instead. I’ve had been following the plans for a newly constructed library downtown up until the final product and originally was disappointed to hear that they were planning on only renovating the existing library. I then found some images the architects created of a completely different exterior that are shown below, which gave me high hopes for the library project. Continue reading

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