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Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

Indy to Repurpose Stadium Seats at Bus Stops

[ You may remember an older post of mine about how an independent urbanist group in Indianapolis called People for Urban Progress undertook a super-cool recycling operation for the roof the of the now demolished Hoosier Dome. Well, they’ve done it again. PUP has partnered with Indianapolis Fabrications and Ecolaborative to re-purpose the seating from the now closed Bush Stadium minor league ballpark for bus stop seating and other purposes. This might seem inferior for places that have honest to goodness bus shelters. But in Indianapolis there is very little in the way of furnishings at bus stops, so this is an upgrade. Kevin Kaster of Urban Indy provides this update. If you are interested in seeing more pictures and learning more about what PUP is up to, check out their Facebook page – Aaron. ]

The first Bush Stadium seats have been installed at the corner of Alabama and Vermont Streets. The official unveiling was took place at 10:00, and I was fortunate enough to be invited to attend the event. I chatted with Michael and Jessica Bricker from People for Urban Progress, as well as Bryan Luellen, Annette Darrow, Jessica Mitchell’, and Samantha Cross from IndyGo in the hopes of finding out some more information about the project.

Urban Indy: How did this opportunity happen?

Michael Bricker: Ryan Fitzpatrick and his brother Kevin (from organization called Ecolaborative) were working with the Bush Stadium reuse people and came up to us with the idea for salvaging the seats. We also had an intern named Ryan Gallagher, whose college thesis was based on increasing bus ridership, and he believed that increasing amenities would help towards that goal. Basically, our organization was the facilitator that brought these two ideas together.

UI: Which bus stops are next in line?

MB: College and Alabama is the pilot. There are 4 other bus stops proposed. They will be at 10th and College, 86th and the Monon, Broad Ripple and Carrollton, and Fall Creek and Meridian. After that, other organizations can sponsor their own bus stops through the PUP Stop program.

UI: Is there funding in place for maintenance?

Bryan Luellen: IndyGo will maintain them. It is possible that they might become part of the adopt-a-stop program. But the seats are pretty sturdy, and they are designed to be outside, so they will not need much maintenance.

UI: Has anyone else done this?

MB: Not that we know of. Other stadium seats may be in the private domain, but these are the first to be re-purposed for public use that we know of.

UI: How did you get the city to buy off on the project?

MB: It was pretty easy, actually. We worked with Develop Indy and the developer of the Stadium. Develop Indy helped us quickly secure access to the stadium and the seats. We have to get them out of the stadium by March 2nd.

BL: Also, IndyGo pursued a license from the city to place the bench in a public Right-of-Way.

Indianapolis Transit Expansion Proposal

This week Indianapolis business leaders also unveiled a $1.3B proposal for a major transit expansion, including doubling the footprint of the local bus system and building a commuter rail line. This faces many hurdles in getting through the state legislature and then a referendum. We’ll see if this fares any better than most transit proposals in similar sized Midwestern cities, most of which have failed. Urban Indy has the story. Here’s a map of the proposed system:

Thanks so much to Kevin Kastner and Urban Indy for this contribution.

9 Comments
Topics: Architecture and Design, Sustainability, Transportation
Cities: Indianapolis

9 Responses to “Indy to Repurpose Stadium Seats at Bus Stops”

  1. Travis says:

    The coolest thing about this is how it matches Indianapolis’s brand of trying to be a sports capital. Nothing like sitting in stadium seats to wait on a bus in what is attempting to be the sports capital of the world!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Plus, homeless people can’t lay asleep across them easily. The transit system managers I know say that is a consideration for bus-stop furniture.

  3. Travis, that is a great point! A huge thanks to all of the people who have supported this project, and who will see this grow to a city-wide initiative. For more information, go to http://www.ecolaborative.com and see all the progress being made.

  4. This is a great way to reuse seats that otherwise would have ended up in the landfill, or, best case scenario, recycled.
    I wonder if there are other areas in the city that might be interested in reusing these seats, for instance, parks, bus and train terminals, airports.

  5. D4R: The plans are for any and all of those suggestions. Little League Baseball Fields, Parks, Trails, Offices, Transit Centers.. anywhere a seat is needed. We’re also looking at coupling the seats with the RCA Dome roof material for shade structures to go above the seating. The future is bright for this gigantic save. Speaking of repurposing, your company looks like it could maybe do something really ingenious with the stadium seats.

  6. Carl Wohlt says:

    Travis, per Aaron, great observation… a neat example of how having a clearly articulated civic brand promise can help to drive public improvement strategies that align with and support the brand. There was no reference to this in the post, so maybe this was a happy accident. But a very good one for Indy.

  7. jhen says:

    I love this! Kevin, when you’re designing this new shade structure (and more repurposed seats for that matter), it would be nice if the structure and the seats could contain some imagery/language recognizing where they came from. This would let people outside of these blogs realize their source and really give Indy’s sport theme some history and responsibility.

    Otherwise people might just assume IndyGo went out and bought new seats and new teflon covering.

  8. Jhen, Great advice! Signage is currently in the works to go up at each individual bus stop. There will be a short history of the seats and the proper logos for who is involved. With bus stops come the restrictions of space use, easements and where certain things like shade structures can be placed. Since this is the first one, I believe the rest of them will be finessed into great looking, historically significant locations. Our hopes is that for neighborhoods who would like our services, we would paint murals, plant trees & flowers and help upkeep behind and/or around the bus-stop/shade structure. We also hope to get community members involved in planning such locations and activities. We’re really looking for more than just placing seats on the streets, we’re looking at the seats as a conduit for community change and discussion. We shall see.

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