The alleys of Broad Ripple are an under appreciated and underutilized asset. They are wonderfully diverse spaces; sometimes very urban other times almost disappearing into nature. They provide glimpses of the more personal and informal ambiance of our community. The “New Urbanism” has long espoused that alleys could lead to better integration of automobile and foot traffic. Where streets are primarily vehicular in nature accommodating pedestrian traffic to varying degrees, alleys could become primarily pedestrian spaces which accommodate the automobile. This could provide an alternative network for strolling, exercising and generally getting around.
Beyond the transportation and recreation possibilities, alleys, if they were Green, could provide more opportunities for a connection to nature while working to ameliorate drainage and sewer problems. Planting a greater variety of indigenous species could enliven the visual space with plants that are well adapted to the climate and would require little or no maintenance. Use of water management techniques such as rain gardens, eco-swales, and semi-permeable paving, while also enriching the visual experience, would, at the same time, ease the sewer burden by providing ways for storm water to return naturally to the aquifer.
At 4:00 PM on Friday, October 3, 2008, City Councilman Ryan Vaughn joined the members of the Board of Green Broad Ripple in a ribbon cutting ceremony of the first Broad Ripple Rain Garden. The site is the alley directly behind 6310 North College Ave. The installation is expected to solve water problems in the area as well as add aesthetic appeal.
On the fourth of December 2008, Green Broad Ripple made a presentation to the Public Works Committee of the City County Council. We presented a holistic concept that included Rain Gardens, Recycling, and Green Alleys. We also talked about the need to build partnerships between government, grass roots groups, and institutions. The video of the committee meeting is posted at the following link.
The video is 1 hour and 48 min. We came on at about 1 hour and 6 min.