The 38th Street (aka Maple Road) corridor runs along the southern edge of Meridian Kessler. The two-way, six-lane primary arterial in one of the city’s most important east/west routes; bridging White River; providing interstate access; and linking major institutions, retail and employment centers, and numerous neighborhoods.
Until the late 1800s Maple Road was little more than a township road flanked by farms and patches of woods. The first major development was Crown Hill Cemetery, laid out in the 1860s west of Meridian Kessler on the Michigan Road. The names “Maple Road” and “38th Street” were used interchangeably from the turn of the century through the 1940s although the name was officially changed to 38th Street in 1920.
Five IndyGo bus routes run through this area.
Route 4 – Fort Harrison and Route 39 – East 38th Street run along 38th Street.
Route 17 – College crosses 38th Street on College Avenue and Route 19 – Castleton crosses 38th Street on Central Avenue.
Route 18 – Nora is a north-south route that runs along Pennsylvania Street and then turns west on 38th Street for one block before turning and heading south on Meridian Street to downtown.
Recent upgrades in service increases the frequency of service to 15-minute intervals on 38th Street route.
- Bus Rapid Transit has been proposed for the 38th Street corridor. Continued study will be needed to determine if/how accommodation of the various modes of travel will relate to each other within the limits of the right-of-way in this busy corridor.
- Despite the high-traffic nature of 38th Street, pedestrian- and bicycle-friendliness should be important aspects of any redevelopment.
The character of the development along 38th Street varies along the length of the street. Four distinct zones are evident. Moving west to east, they are:
- a mid- and high-rise zone in proximity to the intersection of 38th and Meridian streets
- a historic apartment house district between Pennsylvania and Broadway streets
- a retail zone in proximity to the intersection of 38th Street and College Avenue
- a mixed residential zone between Carrollton Avenue and the Monon-Rail Trail
- Desired commercial development in Meridian Kessler may require greater residential densities. This area is an appropriate one for increasing those densities; examples are apartments or condominiums appropriate to seniors or young couples starting out.
Land Use and Design Recommendations for the 38th Street corridor:
- Create a “Green District,” a unique niche that would attract entrepreneurs and art studios/galleries and demonstrate renewable energy sources.
- Promote the grant program offered by Office of Sustainability for “Green district”
- Promote the 38th Street corridor as a transit line, with transit-oriented development at certain intersections.
- Work with the Department of Public Works to improve maintenance of the medians along this corridor.
- Discourage redevelopment that would include fuel stations, cash/pawn stores, check-cashing, payday loans businesses, car lots, billboards, liquor stores or strip malls.
- Encourage businesses to seek façade grants to improve visual appeal of their store fronts.
- Provide appropriate buffers and screens between adjacent commercial and residential uses.
- Signage along 38th Street should be respectful of the character of the corridor.