Inez Evans, the new CEO of IndyGo, took the reins in 2019 just before the launch of the Red Line. Then the coronavirus pandemic hit Indianapolis.

Indianapolis Star

As the new executive director of the Central Indiana Regional Transportation Authority (CIRTA), I read James Briggs’ Oct. 6 column about the Red Line with a different perspective than would most readers.

I’m not going to use that perspective to suggest the Red Line is without its challenges. However, I will assert that transit in Central Indiana is much more than the Red Line, and therefore shouldn’t be judged positively or negatively based solely on that one component.

Providing transit service to Central Indiana is no small task. IndyGo alone operates 31 fixed bus routes and an Americans With Disabilities Act paratransit service in Marion County, providing nearly 10 million passenger trips a year in an area that covers 403 square miles — more than double the size of most of Indy’s peer cities, including Chicago.

But connecting the people of Central Indiana to the region’s workplaces, commercial centers, amenities, services, schools and more also requires service that extends beyond Marion County. So while IndyGo rightly focuses on improving its service within Marion County, CIRTA works to function as a truly regional transportation authority, pursuing a regionwide strategy to ensure that all area residents have access to reliable and affordable transportation that takes them to the places they want and need to go, whether they’re riding to, through or around Indianapolis.

For example, our three Workforce Connectors allow riders to transfer from IndyGo stops to our shuttles providing access to job sites in Plainfield and Whitestown. Without this IndyGo-CIRTA partnership, hundreds of Marion County residents who work in north Plainfield, south Plainfield and Whitestown wouldn’t have access to their jobs. And, of course, that means employers would have greater labor shortages than they have now.

Job growth in Central Indiana continues to be decentralized. For that reason, and due to the success in Plainfield and Whitestown, CIRTA is exploring opportunities for more workforce connectors in Johnson, Hancock and Shelby counties, where new distribution centers are under construction.

So, while IndyGo continues to sharpen its offerings and operations in Marion County, CIRTA will support improving and expanding mobility options across the region. Clearly, Central Indiana job growth doesn’t stop at municipal boundaries, and neither does CIRTA’s mission of connecting people to opportunities throughout the region.

John Seber


IndyStar’s IMPD K-9 dog bites investigation illustrates need to abolish the unit

Your October 11th reporting on the wildly disproportionate use of canines by the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department is shocking, almost beyond measure.

When you have a huge K-9 unit in your police department, with 26 officers, of course you are going to have many more dogs unleashed on citizens than in any other city in America, by far.

I am not an advocate of defunding the police. But defunding the IMPD K-9 unit, in fact, abolishing it? Yes. Reform will not work. Clearly, the unit is too entrenched and powerful in the IMPD for that.

Disband the unit as just the first step toward making IMPD an organization that works with the community, rather than one that routinely terrorizes it. It’s just Police Reform 101.

Michael Mahern


I appreciate op-ed writer’s personal story about abortion. My friends have one, too.

I would like to respond to the personal story of Jennifer Pike Bailey and her decision to have an abortion because her son had a cephalic disorder, which would likely result in death after he was born.

I wanted to thank her for sharing her story. I am hoping, however, that a different perspective can be represented.

One of my dear friends also had a child diagnosed with severe anencephaly. There was no way their baby would survive past a few days. She would be lucky to make it through the birth process.

This couple are also Catholic, like Jennifer. It was devastating. We all rallied around them, offering friendship, prayer, meals and child care for their children.

They opted to have their daughter. She was born and had an emergency baptism and confirmation right in the hospital room. They brought her home, with her head covered with a little pink cap. Family, friends and our pastor all spent the day being together, also with a hospice worker who helped the family navigate this very difficult, yet precious time.

We were there when she took her last breath. I held her body while it was still warm. Her funeral Mass was beautiful, and every pew was packed. My kids still talk about the impact that day had on them, seeing life, suffering and death.

My little boys recall that it wasn’t a sad day for them, they remember playing ball outside with friends and the girl’s siblings, only breaking the activity to run in for a quick kiss on her sweet head on their way to get some water.

It was life. Life isn’t always perfect. Faith is about the “fiat” — about the “yes” when life isn’t what we want but oftentimes what we need. I think you would be surprised at how much leaning into the scary things reveals enormous amounts of love and strength that you never knew you had.

Blessings to you and yours.

Caren LeMark


Sen. Todd Young’s notion of fairness is apparently subject to change

U.S. Sen. Todd Young (“Barrett deserves a fair hearing”) has a strange view of fairness. With voters now on the verge of replacing President Donald Trump and the GOP potentially losing its majority in the Senate, Sen. Young wants to rush Barrett’s nomination through without proper care or deliberation.

In 2016, Young’s own party insisted successfully on preventing any consideration of Merrick Garland, then-President Barack Obama’s nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, until after the elections. But what was fair to Young and his right-wing buddies then is apparently unfair now.

Conservatives used to believe in respecting tradition and the rule of law, not in rushing to pack the courts with extreme ideologues who will ultimately undermine the Supreme Court’s public standing. All Americans, conservatives and liberals alike, will suffer because of Young’s extreme partisanship and brazen opportunism.

Bill Scheuerman


Indianapolis and its women owe a great debt to Tamara Zahn

As I read the wonderful story commemorating the life of Tamara Zahn, many thoughts ran through my head. While I never actually met this remarkable woman, I certainly have a great appreciation of what she did and what she brought to what once was “India-no- place” with her strength, courage, knowledge and foresight. Thank you, Tamara.

From the little girl who road downtown to L.S. Ayres to get my shoes with my mom to the woman who had the opportunity to attend Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis as an adult, I have watched with awe as Indianapolis grew and became what it is today.

As I read the story, I finally had a name to attach to my pride in my former home. I also learned about something much more important to me: Tamara’s advocacy for women, particularly as a mentor for young women.

Indianapolis, like many cities, has many issues that must be dealt with to make sure everyone has the opportunities that I had growing up, a strong family, good education and many mentors and supporters.

With women like Tamara and Ruth Bader Ginsburg gone from us, it is up to the young women of today to take what we have learned from these remarkable women and step up not only for Indianapolis, but for our world.

K. Jane Adcock


Backyard fire pits in Indy are pollution as entertainment

It’s another fine fall October evening when homeowners should be enjoying the mild temperatures in their yards and in their homes with windows open for the fresh air.

But, no. The proliferation of the fire pit has changed all that. Completely oblivious to the discomfort of neighbors and the damage to the environment, inconsiderate modern suburban homeowners think they have a right to watch a fire burn in their backyards —pollution as entertainment. Marion County’s pathetically weak and unenforced open-burning law has so many loopholes as to be unenforceable. Does the City-County Council care?

It is time for a much stronger law that bans all burning, at least through the outdoor season. No burning from Easter to Thanksgiving sounds about right. This no-cost solution would noticeably improve the quality of life for Indy residents, greatly improve air quality and reduce pollution from electricity generation when homeowners like me are forced to close up and run air conditioning rather than have my windows open. Indy government, it’s time to get tough. Mr. Mayor, are you listening?

Gary Thompson


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