Mayoral candidates incumbent Democrat Joe Hogsett, Republican State Sen. Jim Merritt and Libertarian Douglas McNaughton participated in a public forum on city neighborhoods Thursday night.
The HUNI + Indiana Landmarks Forum on Neighborhoods was hosted by Indiana Landmarks and Historic Urban Neighborhoods of Indianapolis. Each candidate gave a 15 minute statement before the floor was open to the audience for questions.
When asked how they would improve commuter traffic on the city’s northeast side, each candidate had a different solution.
Hogsett pointed to the expansion of IndyGo’s rapid transit system.
“Providing greater bus service through more and more stops, more frequent routes, more people served,” Hogsett says. “Not just in the bus rapid transit but in the transit system itself so that we can start to rid our dependence on automobiles.”
Merritt focused instead on an optional dedicated toll lane on Binford Boulevard, a thoroughfare from the northeast side to the fairgrounds that he’s suggested before.
“It may end up not happening, but we have to challenge ourselves,” Merritt says. “It’s optional, you don’t have to pay for it. You can sit there in the other line like everybody else, but it’s a good way to possibly bring in more money from Fishers.”
McNaughton says the issue can be solved with more park and go locations and the help of private transportation businesses.
“One of the things the city doesn’t have that really surprises me is more park and go locations,” McNaughton says. “And that is something that I would certainly encourage, but also get private enterprise involved in the transportation as well, so it comes at a low, or no, cost to the city.”
The candidates also discussed road infrastructure, law enforcement and food insecurity.
Hogsett and Merritt will participate in a moderated discussion on homelessness next week.