Indianapolis Professional Firefighters Local 416 is transforming it Mass Ave Cultural District location

04/01/16| Promethean Walk: an emerging civic space

An exciting development is occurring near the corner of Massachusetts and College Avenues. Indianapolis Professional Firefighters Local Union 416 is expanding its headquarters there and consolidating its campus to better serve both its membership of over 2000 active and retired firefighters, and its neighborhood. 30 years ago, the Firefighters purchased and restored the abandoned 1872 Fire Station No.2, establishing their union hall on a then-struggling Massachusetts Avenue. Mass Ave is now prospering as a Cultural District, and restored Station No. 2’s Fire Museum, Survive Alive program, and community-shared meeting rooms and green-spaces have been a catalyst towards that revival.

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a strategy created by storrow|kinsella using expertise in planning, urban design and land architecture

10/151/15| State of the Art in Virginia

We are excited about the recent release of  Virginia’s statewide guidelines for multimodal planning and design. Our role as advisor and peer reviewer during development of the plan was based on our experience in producing a series of multimodal planning documents for the Indianapolis eight-county region over several years. The Indianapolis Regional Center Multimodal System Plan and its supporting Multimodal Corridor and Public Space Design  Guidelines were a Best Practices reference for Virginia’s process.  Production of the Virginia guidelines was managed by Transit Planning Manager, Amy Inman, and the guidelines document was produced by the Renaissance Planning Group. It received an American Planning Association award and was featured in that organization’s 2013 Annual Conference in Chicago.  The following abstract is from the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation:”The Multimodal System Design  Guidelines provide a holistic framework for multimodal planning with a step-by-step process of identifying centers of activity, designating connected networks for all travel modes, and designing and retrofitting specific corridors that fit with the surrounding context. This process can be applied to the full range of contexts throughout Virginia to plan connected regional transportation networks to serve all travel modes.”The Guidelines and three videos that summarize their content can be downloaded here:  

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Columbus, IN National Historic Landmark Theme Study

06/12/14| The Rewards of Historic Preservation

Historic Preservation and Cultural Resource consulting is sometimes dismissed as an honorable though not particularly cutting-edge undertaking for a design-based studio such as ours. We think otherwise. Public landscapes and spaces are ephemeral either through inattention, succumbing to competing spatial/economic pressures or mismanagement (and yes, design has a hand in that as well…not everything old is good, and in contemporary terms, much of the new is mediocre if not bad). Public spaces need constant attention and periodic renovation/renewal. And too many design plans either don’t survive the political and funding cycles of public work, or are implemented as cost-constrained phased work that may or may not accrue critical mass impact, in the sense of an intended inter-relatedness of systems. Too visionary on the client or designer side? Maybe, but think Olmsted,  Burnham or Kessler and the lasting values of their visions!But also think of the sometimes wayward/sometimes brilliant  ’60s (now historic) and the current challenge in seeing past the aging trendiness of that period to value the mid-century modern masterpieces it generated and that are being revisited today.  We had the pleasure of guiding the National Register process for modernist work in Columbus, Indiana, and it has been rewarding to see […]

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06/01/13| Rapid Transit: The Downtown Approach

Background: In 2013, Indy Connect was in the public comment stage regarding proposed regional rapid transit routes and how/where they originate, network, and converge on the Indianapolis Downtown. Two specific route alternatives were presented for the Green Line from Noblesville as it departs the NE Corridor rail alignment and enters the street network near East 10th Street. Technologies in contention are either Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) or some Light Rail Transit variant (LRT).  From there, two route alternatives were proposed: Mass Avenue or 10th Street/Fort Wayne.  Our strong preference for a modified Fort Wayne route was coupled with the recommendation that an urban design system of places and connections be integrated into the process rather than as an afterthought. In 2013 public discussion began for the current round of rapid transit alternatives. Mass Ave was one of several alternatives for how the Green Line rapid transit gets from the East 10th terminus of the Hoosier Heritage Port Authority rail corridor, which partly parallels the Monon Trail, to a downtown  transit center (or, though unlikely, to Union Station). It had been called the Northeast Corridor in earlier studies for a rapid transit line from Noblesville to Downtown that, unfortunately, resulted in selection of […]

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