Q&A with Mayor Brainard: Busy Arts District
As the Carmel Arts & Design District continues to grow, city officials are dealing with issues caused by the increased amount of people in the area. Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard talked to Current in Carmel about how to handle the growth.
Is Main Street too narrow to handle the traffic as a two-lane road?
That’s not going to change. That gives the area its quaintness. We’re working on other roads around the Arts & Design District. There will be new streets as a part of the Midtown development that will be a way to reach the area. We worked hard to create a traffic problem in that area quite honestly. We continue to make sure there is parking, and we hope a lot of people use bicycles and other transportation to get to that area. At some point, we might have some local public transit in that area.
Is the intersection at Range Line Road and Main Street a candidate for a roundabout?
No. That’s probably one corner of the city where there’s just not enough room. And somehow that’s appropriate given it was one of the first stoplights in the country. It just doesn’t work there.
How do you deal with concerns about a lack of parking?
I have yet to quickly find a parking space in the Arts & Design District. It’s important to remind people of the free parking that we do have. We have free parking underneath Sophia Square and at the Indiana Design Center. And there are a lot of major cities nationwide where you pay $20 to park and people are used to it, and here it is all free for the public. Every time we redo an area, we allow for more on-street parking, and we usually can increase the number of spots.
How do you deal with increased littering in the area?
We want to remind people that it’s a $400 fine for littering. If a police officer sees it then they are subject to the citation. If there’s a constant problem coming from a certain area, we do have cameras. We have cameras on the streetlight posts and we can see if it’s coming from a certain area. These cameras do help prevent crime or vandalism, so we want people to know that the cameras are there.
How do you deal with more people using the Monon Trail?
We are looking at that right now as we see the Midtown area develop. We are hiring a firm to see how different types of users can coexist, whether we need to widen the trail or create two different trails.