Monday, July 20, 2015

Going West: Columbus and Indianapolis

Nothing irks natives of a city more than a tourist blowing into town and after a few hours making pronouncements that wouldn't hold the water if the stay would just have been a few hours longer. Nevertheless, it is fun, so here we go!


Columbus, Ohio' namesake is a famous Italian but the city is famous for its large historic German Village and unlike Baltimore's  German Street it wasn't re-named into Redwood Village either.
German Village, German Flag and German food

Columbus honors the Italian with a replica of one of the three explorer boats but it lacks the water to make a good show of it.
German Village, a large quaint historic district
the type setting from where New Urbanists gleaned
their rules
But it is home to more than a dozen Fortune Five-hundred companies and it boasts a vivid and well stocked indoor Market that represents all that Lexington Market aspires to, a wide range of foods and customers. 
It's Sunday dead downtown was boosted today by some type of festival that in passing looked like Artscape but smaller. To the north of downtown Columbus has a well established arts district that is more Fells Point than Station North. 
In spite of beating Baltimore's population by a solid 100k, Ohio's capital has no rail transit at all and plenty of freeways instead. One of them is pretty cool covered by what looks like historic arcades. 

A bike parking place with roof in the arts district

A freeway cover of high quality (there is a corresponding arcade on the other
side of the street

A view to the south into downtown, a jumble of scales

Short North Arts District, they still like their arches

North Market

North Markets is compact but full of good stuff

the outdoor market stalls on the parking lot adds a bit of flavor and
would be easy to do at Lexington Market as well


Indianapolis, the capital of Indiana has also many freeways and no rail transit, is also larger than Baltimore (by more then 200k) and it's downtown streets are at least as wide as those Columbus, mostly one way, no less. Plenty of space for a Cultural Trail for bikes and peds ( the dual trail at the Inner Harbor on steroids), a neat idea to get folks to explore the city without needing a map or a plan. Problem is only that this "cultural" trail is pretty peripheral most of the time, but that is cool, because it gets you places you would normally not go to, especially if you have a bike which is easy here, since they have bike-share. They did also a lot of new things, ballparks, conventions center, museums, a canal walk and a State Park along the White River.

Like many of the newer cities the fabric of the core is very eroded by freeways and huge surface parking lots like we know them in Baltimore only in the vicinity of the JFX downtown. But the real inner core of Indy is pretty intact and lively with restaurants and an amazing array of retail including a road spanning downtown mall. Best of all, Monument Circle gives downtown a real heart, even if the buildings surrounding the monument do not stack up to the architecture we have around Baltimore's Washington Monument which sits, not really in the heart of downtown anyway. Massachusetts Ave is a street with an industrial past (Coca Cola bottling, for example) and a eating and drinking presence. There is a rails to trails bike way going north to the little arts town of Broad Ripple. There is Also the vast expanse of an abandoned sports facility where nature is trying to take over the ocean of asphalt. 

On a road trip time on the computer really isn't a high priority, therefore I will just post a bunch of photos and let them speak for themselves.

Indianapolis Cultural trail, a way to explore the city

Monumental, axial and a bit sterile

Scales at Monument Circle

The monument is dedicated to war heroes

covered intersection downtown (mall above)

the new native Indian Museum

a re-purposed bridge over the White River is now part of a State Park and trail

Klaus Philipsen, FAIA

This article still needs refinement

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