QA: Mayor answers questions about Monon improvements

Monon Boulevard

Monon Boulevard (Submitted rendering)

This morning the City of Carmel announced a major expansion and transformation of the Monon Greenway in Carmel. The cost will range from $20 million to $23 million, and the project includes transforming the current 12-foot wide path into a 140-foot wide area that will include new dedicated lanes for cycling, sidewalks, green spaces, two one-way streets and additional parking on either side of the trail. There will also be a new Midtown Plaza at 4th Street SW near the Allied Solutions corporate headquarters.

Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard held a press conference at City Hall and answered some questions from the public about the upcoming project.

How will the city pay for the project?

Brainard breaks it down: $18 million comes from county option income tax bonds, $2 million comes from general obligation bonds and $3 million comes from Midtown developers.

When will the project be complete?

Brainard said the City will start this summer in conjunction with the 4th Avenue project, which includes a new roundabout. The project will be done in stages. He said it will be complete in the summer of 2018.

Have all the bonds associated with the project been approved already?

Yes. Brainard said the money is literally in the bank. It’s funded through previous bonds that didn’t necessarily specify this exact project but were meant for infrastructure. The Monon was mentioned in the more than $200 million in bonds approved last year.

Will relocating utilities be a challenge? Does the city know what’s underneath the land?

Yes and yes. Brainard said he’s negotiated for months with Duke Energy to get power lines buried in this area. It’s very expensive but necessary to get this project going. “Utility and movements are always an x-factor,” Brainard said. “The publicly traded utilities are obligated to move out of our right of way but how fast they do it can vary, so there’s always that risk with construction.”

Which developers are contributing the $3 million?

Brainard said that will depend on who develops the Allied Solutions property. All the developers building along this area of the Monon will share the obligation, he said.

Will the Monon be closed for a certain period of time?

Brainard said the current stretch of path will be closed but there will always be detour in place. “We’re committed to always keeping the Monon trail open during this project,” he said.

What about tree preservation along the Monon?

Brainard said the City will plant a lot of additional trees and there will be an additional landscaping plan with trees, shrubs, flowers and green space. He said it’s easier to work with a blank palette to create beautiful landscaping.

What about lighting? 

Brainard said there will be lighting along the entire length of the Monon and there will be holiday lighting during the winter months.

Will the new one-way streets connect to other roads?

Brainard said they will connect between Third Avenue and Fourth Avenue. He said one day they might connect to Range Line Road if the Monon Square shopping center is ever redeveloped.

How will this affect flooding and drainage?

Brainard said that’s part of the project. While they reconstruct the Monon the City will improve storm water drainage in the area at the same.

What will the materials be like on the new trail and cycle track?

In some places there will be traditional concrete, but in other places there will be special surfaces similar to what is seen on the Indianapolis Cultural Trail. Brainard said there will be a colored surface that is marked differently. It hasn’t been selected yet, but he said it will be porous so water can drain through the track without having to move it off site.

Does anything of this require City Council approval?

No. Brainard said it’s all been approved in the bonds passed in January of 2016.

Will there be roundabouts along the Monon?

Brainard said 4th Avenue and Range Line Road will have a new roundabout, and he said there are two roundabouts along the Monon in other places so it’s not that crazy but it’s not in the plans.

What’s a good comparison for what this will look like?

Brainard said center of Stockholm, Sweden, has an area that looks a lot like this. “Those streets are beautiful,” he said. “I’ve seen them. It’s gorgeous.”

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