DUFFY, DUFFY & PICKETT, GIBBS & STONER, HARRY C. FRENCH, MORRELL HEIGHTS, FRANK RUSSELS, AND TOMLINSON ADDITIONS
ADOPTED AUGUST 11, 2008
In an effort to help revitalize, strengthen, and improve some of the older, established neighborhoods around the Plainfield Town Center, the Plainfield Department of Planning and Zoning staff began 2008 with the goal of starting a Neighborhood Planning Program. The Duffy/Gibbs (short version) neighborhood was chosen as the first neighborhood to start this process. Traditionally, a neighborhood plan begins when a neighborhood is feeling development pressure such as commercial use encroachment or rental/apartment conversion. In this instance, neither of these conditions were major factors even though there is an apartment and rental presence in the neighborhood. With the sewer separation project that is currently underway in the neighborhood, staff thought this neighborhood a good candidate with which to initiate the neighborhood planning process.
Some of the goals of this process were to bring the neighborhood together to see what their concerns were, to develop a strategy for tackling those issues, to start a grass-roots effort that will empower the neighborhood, and to set realistic goals and objectives to enact with the ultimate goal of creating a sustainable neighborhood by improving property values that will endure.
II. Neighborhood History, Plats, and Statistics
Starting in 1820, the first residents of the area now known as Plainfield settled along White Lick River after coming primarily from Guilford County, South Carolina along the National Road. One of the most prominent of those settlers was named Carter, and he claimed the area that is now downtown Plainfield in 1823. He used it to farm, and in 1833 he sold the first piece of his land.
This lot became part of the 1839 platting of the town of Plainfield. It was a plan of 64 lots from West Street to East Street, running two lots deep on either side of the National Road, which was renamed Main Street. At this time, the residents decided to incorporate as a town, but after some difficulties, decided to go with township rule. This stayed in effect until 1903 when the town reincorporated.
As time went on, Carter sold more of his land to be turned into lots until the neighborhoods reached the boundaries of North and South Streets in 1876. The land to the east of Carter's was then owned by a man named Luke Duffy. He split up the land around Indiana and Eastern Streets, and then held a contest between local school children to name the neighborhood. The first place winner was the name Amitydale, followed by the name Luduff Place. By 1908, the neighborhood had formed between Avon Ave. and Carr Road.
Some useful statistics include the age and population of the residents in the neighborhood, as well as the ages of the neighborhood’s buildings themselves and the uses they are put to. This information is shown in the following tables.
Table 1 contains census data from 2000. It includes data collected from those living in Census Tract 2109, Block Group 1 (BG1), which contains most of the area of the Duffy/Gibbs neighborhood. (See Figure 1 for an outline of BG1.)
See page 3 of the pdf version of this document for Figure 1.
The total population of this area in 2000 was 781 people. Table 1 shows a breakdown of the population and genders at the time of the 2000 census. An interesting trend showed a large portion of the female population was elderly and a larger portion of the male population being under 21. The middle ages were fairly evenly spread. The 2000 census also has some housing data. Overall, it counted 391 housing units where 21 were vacant at the time and 370 were occupied. Of those 370, 237 were owner occupied and 133 were rentals. The average household size contained 2.11 people.
Table 1. Population & Gender
5 - 9
10 - 17
18 - 20
21 - 29
30 - 39
40 - 49
50 - 59
60 - 69
70 - 84
Table 2 gives the number of buildings per use type as well as the average ages of those buildings divided by both use and subdivision they are located in. The data in this table was collected from the Hendricks County Assessor’s website as well as the Hendricks County GIS website. The ages of each building was collected as the building date of the primary structure and the uses were also determined from this information. This means it is possible for some homes to have been converted to different uses (typically multifamily) since the time of the information collected on the Assessor’s site. Also keep in mind that the multifamily numbers listed is per building, not per unit. There are more multifamily units in the Duffy/Gibbs neighborhood than just 33.
Table 2. Building Uses and Average Ages.
L. W. Duffy
See page 5 of the pdf version of this document to see Figure 2, a map of the neighborhood and its major subdivisions.
III. Initial Survey and Results
On February 29, 2008 Town staff mailed out a letter and survey informing the approximately 471 neighborhood residents and property owners of the intent to start a Neighborhood Revitalization Project in the area enclosed by Main Street, Carr Road, Avon Avenue, and the old railroad right-of-way which is where the Vandalia Rail Trail passes through. The letter encouraged the recipients to meet and interact with their neighbors as well as fill out the surveys and return them within two weeks for staff to review. In addition the letter informed the recipients of the Town’s intent to have a neighborhood meeting a few weeks after the letter was sent out to discuss the results of the surveys and to open a dialogue between the residents and Town staff about any issues they may be having in the neighborhood.
A copy of the survey that was sent as well as a detailed collection of the data retrieved from the returned surveys is part of the appendix for this report. The following is a summary of that information.
Out of the 471 surveys that were sent out, 120 were returned. This was a very impressive 25% return and showed a strong interest from the residents to get involved with the Town in order to improve their neighborhood. In addition of those 120 surveys returned, 98 replied that they would be interested in attending the meeting staff had hoped to hold. An additional 8 were interested depending on time/date/location of the meeting itself.
The survey asked for residents to rank sidewalk, street, street lighting, and property conditions in the neighborhood and then to make any specific comments they felt needed to be made. The ratings were from 1 – very poor to 5 – excellent or if there were no sidewalks for example, they were to put NE for non-existent. Several other questions asked about the responder’s favorite thing about the neighborhood, something the neighborhood was lacking, what the Town could do to improve pride in the neighborhood, and any other concerns.
The results of the ranked section are listed in Table 3, below. All four of the categories except for sidewalks were rated on average at approximately three. Sidewalks were rated at closer to 2, with 69 respondents listing them as non-existent. This indicates room for improvement in all areas.
Sidewalks in the neighborhood are mostly non-existent. It is likely that much of the area was developed at a time when subdivision control ordinances did not require sidewalks or curbing which are both required today. Lack of curbing in most areas is an impediment to sidewalk development due to drainage issues that can be caused by walks. Main Street and Avon Avenue have sidewalks, but only a couple internal streets have sidewalks and those are only partial if not in poor condition. Existing sidewalks in many cases do not comply with current ADA regulations due to steps and grade. A few survey respondents stated that sidewalks may not be needed as long as traffic remains slow and sparse in the neighborhood, however many other respondents showed an interest in having sidewalks installed.
The streets in the neighborhood have been torn up this summer for the construction of a combined sewer separation project. It is hoped that when the streets are repaved after this project is complete that the rating for the streets might be more favorable than was shown on the survey responses. Potholes and street cleaning were also listed as issues for the neighborhood. A few respondents noted that the snow removal is very good, but that street sweeping really needs improved.
Street lighting in the neighborhood is a slightly contentious issue. Generally the respondents thought the street lighting was average, but a few people (13) believed that the lighting was either very poor or non-existent. A survey of the street lighting has been completed by staff and residents and has been discovered to exist and work at most intersections and some long street stretches. However, it appears that the covers and possibly the bulbs themselves have gotten fairly old and/or dirty and may need to be replaced. Some respondents showed interest in having decorative lamp post style lighting installed.
Property condition was also rated as average by those who entered a rating on their survey. The conditions of the properties can be based on many things, but the prime factor may be the age of many of the homes which were built at least 50 years ago. In addition, several surveys noted only a couple of properties that were littered with junk, and the ratings may have been affected by this perception. Some comments also described some homes that have unfinished projects and that rental units in the area are often not maintained.
Table 3. Rated Neighborhood Survey Issues
Average rating (between 1-5)
Noted as Non-Existent
A large portion of the survey was left open for comments from the respondent. One question asked what the respondent liked most about their neighborhood. These responses were primarily that the neighborhood is quiet and the neighbors are friendly. Some other common comments included the neighborhood having an old town feel, that there is a variety of character in the homes, the location to shops and schools and that they feel safe. A few less frequent comments included that it’s affordable, established, has low traffic volume, mature trees, and a new access to Plainfield’s trail system.
Most of the other comment and question areas led the respondents to air issues with or suggestions they have for the neighborhood. The main issues mentioned that did not include the four ranked categories were many and varied. Ranking at the top of the list, however, was the poor drainage the neighborhood experiences along with some commentary on the combined sewer issue. The good news for this topic is that the Town is currently working the third phase of a $2.1 million project that will separate the sewers in a large portion of the neighborhood, which will help to improve the drainage situation. In the future, the Town will continue to separate sewers that remain combined in the area and this will again alleviate some of the issues remaining in the areas where the combined sewer project has not yet been completed.
Traffic was another topic of interest and in particular the main complaint was speeding along Harlan Street, Main Street, and Avon Avenue. In addition there was a comment about the timing of the light at Carr Road and Main Street making it more difficult to leave the neighborhood.
Another big issue was the condition of the alleys in the neighborhood. Many residents have garages or access at the back of their lots via alleys and it was commented that these are in poor shape and could really use paving instead of the gravel that is present currently.
There were several other less frequently mentioned issues. Those included an interest in curbs on the streets, not only to help drainage issues, but to also keep cars out of yards. A problem was noted with some greenery, especially at corners in the rights-of-way that make it difficult to see to pull out. Several respondents complained of aggressive dogs that escape their yards. On street parking was described as dangerous to those who park in driveways. There was a desire to have a neighborhood park installed. Some complaints were made about the number of sex offenders and drug dealers living in the neighborhood. Signage was recommended to note trail connections and neighborhood boundaries. A recommendation to provide financial assistance, in particular for fixed income elderly resident, to help with upkeep on their properties. One last set of comments noted that leaf removal is too infrequent and that some areas are skipped.
IV. First Neighborhood Meeting
Tuesday April 8, 2008 at the Plainfield Recreational Center was the date and location of the first neighborhood meeting. The agenda included an introduction of the Town staff that was present as well as a covering of topics. The meeting was set up to discuss certain topics pertinent to a particular staff member and then have a question and answer section for each of these staff members to answer.
OFFICER CALEB GIBBONS
The meeting started off with Officer Caleb Gibbons from the police department. He was present to discuss the issues raised in the survey of speeding, ignored stop signs, barking and escaped dogs, as well as sex offenders and drug problems.
Officer Gibbons informed the attendees of the department's new Traffic Control division that is made up of four officers. They typically patrol the main corridors of the Town, but would be happy to patrol for these traffic violations more frequently in the neighborhood, now that they know there is a problem. In addition, these officers also are in charge of patrolling the trail system. The rest of the force is on hand to help curb any traffic violations, however, these particular officers are focused on traffic as well as accidents and are most likely to be doing any traffic stops that are necessary. A couple of specific complaints were raised about concrete trucks speeding on Carr Road as well as drivers taking the curve from Harlan Street to Eastern Avenue at excessive speeds. In addition, the main missed stop sign was specified as the one at Harlan and Duffy Streets. One of the recommendations made by an attendee was that the department should install for a period of time a sign that tells each driver his speed in order to get them to slow down. Officer Gibbons mentioned that this type of sign had worked in the past in Brownsburg, and that their department had obtained the sign through a grant process that Plainfield could try and obtain. In addition, Officer Gibbons explained to the attendees that Lt. Jill Lees would be the one to contact with any traffic issues as she is the Traffic Division Lieutenant. As a side issue Lt. Lees is also the person to contact if there are inoperable vehicles in the neighborhood.
In reference to dogs that have escaped the owner's property or that are barking excessively, Officer Gibbons told the attendees that they would need to keep calling the non-emergency number for the police department to report these instances. Unfortunately, and officer is unable to enforce the Town's ordinance on these issues unless he personally sees or hears an offence. So, in this case persistence is important for the residents of the neighborhood.
When questioned about sex offenders in the neighborhood, Officer Gibbons informed the public that the list of offenders is relatively new and also a voluntary process which means the list is often not updated. In addition, the surveillance of any offenders and maintenance of this list is actually performed by the Hendricks County Sheriff's Department, so in reality, that would be the department to call if there is a problem.
In relation to crime in the neighborhood, the residents felt that drugs were their main problem. Officer Gibbons said that the best way to get something done about this issue would be for the residents to call in if they feel their neighbors are behaving suspiciously (e.g. if a resident has many different visitors coming and going late at night). He said that the public provides the most tips against crime. In addition, the neighborhood could set up a crime watch. Lt. Jill Lees was again the person to call for this request. She would have a block party with the neighborhood to set this process in motion.
TIM BELCHER, TOWN ENGINEER
Tim Belcher, Town Engineer, was the next to speak to the assembly. He talked about drainage and the combined sewer project; alleys, on-street parking, and sidewalks; as well as street lights.
Mr. Belcher started off his portion of the meeting discussing the current, on-going construction that's happening in the neighborhood. This project's purpose is to create separate sanitary and storm sewers. He explained to the attendees that the federal government had mandated that local governments would be required to separate the sewer systems by a certain year or face the penalty of fines. This year a relatively large portion of the neighborhood was on the plans for sewer separation. (Another portion had been completed previously, and the rest of the combined sewers in the neighborhood would still need to be completed in future years.) This project which has torn up the road ways and caused issues accessing residences should be completed sometime around August of 2008 and would include a repaving of the roads most damaged. In addition, it should help to alleviate some of the drainage issues in the area as well as other low lying areas in the neighborhood that would previously have had run off from the area where the project is currently occurring. In addition, Mr. Belcher mentioned that any extreme drainage issues should be reported to his office and amendments to the plans could possibly be made to correct those while the contractor was on location.
The residents' main complaint about this project was the conduct of the construction workers and the lack of communication from the Town. For the first, Mr. Belcher stated that his department would gladly take any complaints and try and work them out with the contractor. In addition, any drives, landscaping, etc. that is torn up by the contractor will need to be replaced by them and the residents should notify Mr. Belcher's office so that these things can get corrected before the contractor is deemed finished with the project. As to the lack of communication from the Town about when and where the project would be moving, Mr. Belcher stated that his department would try and get together with the contractor to pass out flyers or somehow otherwise inform the residents when the more intense construction would be moving into each area.
The next issue that was discussed was a combination of several issues as they all are interrelated. The on-street parking, sidewalks, and alleyway condition each affect the other in many ways. For example, the presence of on-street parking, which is prevalent in the neighborhood, precludes the installation of sidewalks, as they would be in the same location. Even if both were present they would interfere with each other for this reason. The paving of the alleyways could improve access to the rear of many yards and may make it more accessible for residents to build garages or driveways here and allow for the removal of on-street parking and thus leave room for sidewalks along the streets.
Mr. Belcher described several potential road blocks for these projects to happen. The main issue, even if all the other steps were to take place would be to get funding for sidewalks for the whole neighborhood. The Town's policy is to install sidewalks/trails along major corridors that connect various neighborhoods to each other and to the Town's amenities, not to install sidewalks inside individual neighborhoods. The Subdivision Control Ordinance requires all new neighborhoods to be developed with sidewalks and the developers/residents of these neighborhoods are the ones that have paid for their sidewalks, not the Town, and it would be unfair for the Town to use taxes from all the residents to install sidewalks inside a neighborhood that would be of limited use to the Town as a whole. He emphasized that this did not mean sidewalks could not be installed by the residents themselves, if they were to all get together and start a fund, or something similar, but it would be unlikely for the Town to take on this project. It wouldn't be out of the question for the Town to possibly put sidewalks (or an on street path) along one side of Harlan Street and Eastern Avenue, or some other similar route, and the Town would be likely to put in sidewalks along Carr Road should that roadway ever be reconstructed from US 40 north, however, reconstruction of Carr Road is not likely in the next 10 to 15 years. In addition, the Town would speak in favor of and possibly pursue on its own sidewalk maintenance and improvement along Avon Avenue and Main Street, which are both controlled by INDOT. Currently the Town is advancing a project along US 40 between White Lick Creek and Carr Road that would greatly advance the streetscape and sidewalks along US 40. That project is planned for 2009 although some state approvals are still pending. Avon Avenue is more problematic in that there are no known INDOT projects programmed for this segment. Since the initial public meeting the Town has agreed to pursue design of a segment of walk along the east side of Avon Avenue from the Vandalia trail connector south to connect with existing walks.
Another obstacle for the project would be the paving of alleyways. Currently the Department of Public Works spreads new gravel on the alleyways as maintenance. The attendees complained that this has gotten to the point where the alleyways in some cases are higher than the lots next to them because so much gravel has been spread over the years. Mr. Belcher mentioned that he had spoken with the Town Superintendent of Public Works, Jason Castetter, who would actually be interested in paving these alleyways, as they would be easier to maintain if paved and so the situation would benefit the residents as well as the Town. The obstacle in this case is funding. This project would have to be budgeted and would likely end up with a few alleys being paved each year until they were all complete. So a survey of conditions and use would be a very important factor in which alleys would be first on the list of any paving project.
A couple of related side issues were discussed as well. Mr. Belcher after hearing some complaints from the residents mentioned that if the attendees were interested, it may be possible for the Town to designate some streets as no parking areas; in particular, those on hills that could make pulling out from a side street more dangerous. There was a little bit of discussion on the US 40 streetscape project that was approved by the Town and INDOT a few years ago. This project's completion would improve the sidewalks along Main Street and also likely slow down traffic there, which was a common complaint from the surveys and attendees. However, the Town has been trying to get INDOT to cooperate on this and redo pavement sections at the same time in order to cut down on the number of construction projects that would occur over time. Another brief topic for slowing down traffic, particularly on Harlan Street, was to possibly install speed bumps. If done these would most likely be a “tabletop"; style which is an elongated speed bump with ramps up to a flat top. A speed table is being planned near the Brentwood Elementary School which will allow the Town and residents to test the effectiveness of these devices on speed control. If successful, something along Harlan could be attempted.
Mr. Belcher's last issue was street lighting. He explained that the Town works with Duke Energy in this area for street lighting. Duke installs a street light where the Town requests one and then the Town pays a monthly fee for each light installed. He mentioned that he had driven out to the neighborhood a couple of days before the meeting and that there were street lights at most of the intersections and other junctions where the Town would normally request a light, but since he had gone out during the day he couldn't verify that they were actually working. He requested that the residents check and get back to him if the street lights were not working. (Additional information about further action on this issue is described above in the survey section of this report.) The addition of street lights is a Town Council decision as any new lights increases the cost of operating the Town.
JOE JAMES, DIRECTOR OF PLANNING
The next staff speaker was Joe James, Director of the Planning and Zoning Department. Mr. James spoke of the zoning issues in the neighborhood which mostly involved properties that are not maintained, in particular with junk, trash, and debris. Several of the attendees stressed that two particular homes were upsetting their property values, and Mr. James described what was happening with those properties as well as the process that the Planning Department is required to follow before ultimate action can occur. The attendees urged a change in the zoning ordinance to somehow speed up the process and allow enforcement to be more effective.
V. Focus Group Meetings
May 8, 2008 brought the date of the second neighborhood meeting. Those in attendance had volunteered their contact information at the first meeting. Around sixteen interested parties were able to attend. Staff presented the first draft of this Neighborhood Action Plan with a focus on presenting proposed Goals and Objectives. (See Appendix A for the Goals and Objectives as originally proposed, as well as the respondents rankings and averages.)
At the second focus group meeting on June 5, 2008 around thirteen residents were in attendance. Those participating were asked to consider the previously discussed Goals and Objectives and to rate them in order of importance. The first question was to determine which overall goals were the most important to the neighborhood. Then within those goals, the attendees were asked to rank the objectives for each goal and then the action items for each objective. A summary of the ten submitted rankings is presented below. The rankings are shown with 1 being the most important. Some interesting results were obtained from these rankings. The residents felt that working on the property conditions in the neighborhood is a very important goal. Enhancing the identity of the neighborhood was either very important or least important to the respondents. It received four #1 rankings and four #5 rankings.
Table 4. Goals Rankings
Enhancing Neighborhood Identity
Since property conditions were such an important issue for the residents, this goal will be discussed first. The objectives for the neighborhood to focus on were to help each other with projects and more importantly, according to the rankings, to help those in the neighborhood who are in need to improve their properties. The Town’s responsibility toward this goal is to update the zoning ordinance to strengthen consequences and timing of enforcement actions.
Pedestrian safety was the next most important goal. The respondents felt that reducing speeding, installing/improving walkways, and then installing signage were the order of importance of the various objectives for the town oriented goals. Within the reduction of speeding objective, enforcing speed limits and then stop signs were the most important and installing some traffic calming along Main Street and Harlan Street were the least important. For walkway improvements, improving those along Main St. and Avon Avenue were the most important action item, followed by developing an overall plan and determining alternatives. Installing speed limit signs was the most important of the signage options followed by installing directional signs for pedestrian ways. The neighborhood actions for this involved various options to install sidewalks along the streets in the neighborhood. The favored option was to gather in small groups (e.g. along a block face) and to pool money and effort to have an area improved. The other options were to form a group to decide if sidewalks were desired and to install completely or not or to install sidewalks as individuals.
Motorist safety and enhancing the identity of the neighborhood tied for the third most important goal. Motorist safety priorities will be reviewed first. Reducing speeding was again the most important objective. The action items for this were the same as presented for pedestrian safety and they received the same order of ranking if not the exact same averages. Next most important was reducing overgrowth. The respondents felt it was most important for the Town to trim any overgrowth that was in the right-of-way and for them to trim any of their own growth that might be obstructing sight lines. The elimination of on street parking and installing signage ranked equally and were the last two objectives. Only installing signage had more than one action point and it was again ranked the same as for the pedestrian safety goal. The practicality of eliminating on-street parking is also in question, so it is less likely to be accomplished in comparison to the other objectives associated with this goal.
Enhancing the identity of the neighborhood was also the third most important goal, if a somewhat polarizing one. Adding a neighborhood park was the favored objective. This involves obtaining the land from the current property owners and then installing amenities, preferably with some input from the residents. The other objective is to install signage. The respondents felt neighborhood identification signs at the entrances would be more beneficial than installing pedestrian directional signage.
The least important goal to those who prepared a ranking was improving the street lighting in the neighborhood. The respondents felt that replacing the bulbs and light shields was the most important, followed by trimming trees that might block the light, and last potentially adding street lights to some key junctures where they are currently missing.
In light of some of the responses to these goals and objectives, or the similarities between or practicalities of others, some of the goals, objectives, and actions have been removed from the following section of the Plan. See Appendix A for the Goals & Objectives as they were originally proposed.
VI. Goals, Objectives, & Actions
Goal: Improve property conditions within the neighborhood.
Objective: Update zoning ordinance to strengthen consequences and timing of enforcement actions. (Planning staff)
Objective: Gather together as neighbors to help each other when in need. (Local residents)
Objective: Determine which neighbors may need and would accept assistance, and find ways to help them improve or maintain their properties. (Local residents)
Goal: Improve safety of pedestrians in the neighborhood.
Objective: Reduce speeding along neighborhood roads.
Action: Enforce speed limits, especially along main neighborhood roads such as Avon Avenue, Carr Road, Harlan Street, and Main Street. (Plainfield Police Department Traffic Control Division)
Action: Enforce stop signs in the neighborhood, especially at the intersection of Harlan and Duffy Streets. (Plainfield Police Department Traffic Control Division)
Action: Add traffic calming facilities along Main Street as part of the US 40 streetscape plan. (Indiana Department of Transportation and Plainfield Transportation Department)
Action: Possibly add traffic calming facilities along Harlan Street such as table top speed bumps. (Plainfield Transportation Department)
Objective: Install or improve pedestrian walkways along main neighborhood streets.
Action: Improve sidewalks along Avon Avenue and Main Street. (Indiana Department of Transportation, Plainfield Transportation Department)
Action: Develop an overall pedestrian plan for the area utilizing a combination of existing or new sidewalks, alleys, multiuse paths and trails. (Plainfield Staff)
Objective: Install signage to signify speed limits and trail entrances.
Action: Install speed limit signs on internal streets to inform drivers of the allowed speeds. (Plainfield Department of Public Works)
Action: Install signage at corners indicating direction of trail connections. (Plainfield Department of Public Works)
Goal: Improve safety of motorists in the neighborhood.
Objective: Reduce speeding along neighborhood roads. (See pedestrian safety goal for Action Items.)
Objective: Reduce overgrowth on corners and in rights-of-way to increase visibility.
Action: Trim trees and greenery along rights-of-way to remove obstacles from line of sight. (Plainfield Department of Public Works)
Action: Trim back shrubs, greenery, and trees so that they do not interfere in vision areas at corners. (Local residents)
Action: Contact residents with greenery, trees, or other items within the Vision Clearance triangle to request removal. (Plainfield Planning & Zoning)
Objective: Install signage to signify speed limits and trail entrances. (See pedestrian safety goal for Action Items)
Objective: Eliminate on-street parking to make it safer to pull out of driveways.
Action: Pave alleyways (starting with more well used alleys) as a multiyear project to encourage parking in the rear of lots. (Plainfield Department of Public Works)
Action: Take responsibility to park in the rear of the lot when or if an alleyway is paved behind your home. Construction of an alley-accessed garage or driveway would be the best way to accomplish this if possible. (Local residents)
Goal: Improve and enhance identity of the neighborhood.
Objective: Add to the neighborhood's amenities by adding a neighborhood park.
Action: Obtain land from the property owners of vacant ground in the center of Gibbs Street, Harlan Street, Tucker Avenue, and Duffy Street. (Plainfield Town Council)
Action: Install amenities of neighborhood choice to make the park most usable to them. (Plainfield Parks and Recreation)
Objective: Install signage to identify and enhance neighborhood.
Action: Install signage at main entrances to the neighborhood.
Action: Install signage at corners indicating direction of trail connections. (Plainfield Department of Public Works)
Goal: Improve street lighting within the neighborhood.
Objective: Discuss with Duke Energy about getting the bulbs and covers replaced with brighter and/or cleaner parts to improve light from existing fixtures.
Objective: Discuss with Duke Energy about getting trees trimmed around and under the street lights to improve light from existing fixtures.
Objective: Discuss with Town Council addition of six additional street lights at important junctures (trail entrance on Hanley Street, trail entrance on Raines Street, at the intersection of Pickett Street and the alley just north of Main Street, at the intersection of Spring and Poplar Streets, halfway along the length of Gibbs Street between Harlan Street and Tucker Avenue, and midway along Tucker Avenue between Gibbs Street and Duffy Street. (Plainfield Engineering Department)
VII. Proposed Plans
Currently, the neighborhood does not have much in the way of a formal pedestrian route. Most residents currently feel safe walking along neighborhood streets due to the small amount of local traffic as well as the relatively slow speed of most of that traffic. Sidewalk presence is spotty and in some occasions not in the best condition. Recent connections were made to the Vandalia Rail Trail at the north ends of Raines and Hanley Streets, however. The following plan is intended to make pedestrian and bicycle travel more well-defined within the neighborhood. The plan's goal would be to connect the neighborhood more accessibly to the major pedestrian routes that are present in Plainfield as a whole.
The pedestrian plan is shown in Figure 3 below. With three boundaries of the neighborhood almost having completed connections (black for the trail to the north, green for the areas with existing sidewalks along Avon Ave. and Main St.), the main goal of this plan was to connect the interior areas of the neighborhood to these external ones. A good majority of this goal can be accomplished by the paving of the already developed alleys in the neighborhood (red lines are existing stone alleys while blue lines are presently paved alleys). It is likely the Town will be accomplishing a paving project over the next few years that will pave all the currently stone alleys that are within the Town rights-of-way. These alleys could be a low traffic route for pedestrians and cyclists. In particular two major north/south routs would be mostly completed with the paving of the alleys between Duffy and Raines Streets and Raines and Hanley Streets.
Additional connections within the neighborhood could be created by adding a four foot wide bike and pedestrian lane that would be painted right on several of the streets within the neighborhood. A lane along Harlan St. and Eastern Ave. would provide a main pedestrian corridor within the neighborhood. Short lanes along Raines, Hanley, and French Streets would connect the trail to the alley walkways once they are paved. An additional connection from the north/south alleys along Poplar Street would complete the major north/south route that could connect the Main Street sidewalk on the south end of the neighborhood to the trail. Adding striping across the streets where the new paths would cross could also help to improve awareness of the pedestrian ways and safety for both motorists and pedestrians. In addition a path along Duffy Street could serve as a more quickly installed alternative to the paved alleyways as they would take more funding than striping off a four foot lane in the street. In addition, if the paving of the alleys reduces on street parking, the striping would still be there for a potentially more pedestrian friendly alternative in that situation.
See page 17 of the pdf version of this document for Figure 3.
POTENTIAL PARK PLANS
The images included below are examples of possible shared neighborhood green spaces. They were designed to fit along the alley, in the undeveloped square of land behind the houses on Harlan, Gibbs, Tucker, and Duffy Streets. (See Figure 4.) In this space, which is made up of almost 1.25 acres, there is plenty of room for a large park with any number of amenities. Each of the following images shows a variety of uses, any of which could be possibilities. All of the images are shown with a paved alley and a few parallel parking spaces along it.
See page 18 of the pdf version of this document for Figure 4.
See page 19 of the pdf version of this document for Park Options 1 & 2.
See page 20 of the pdf version of this document for Park Options 3 & 4.
A final draft will be sent to the Plainfield Plan Commission for adoption by resolution. After it is adopted by the Plan Commission, it will be sent to the Plainfield Town Council for adoption. Once adopted by resolution by the Town Council, it will become a working element of the Plainfield Comprehensive Plan. Many things must happen to fully implement the plan. A crucial step in plan implementation is establishing a neighborhood committee consisting of several residents to take ownership of the plan who will ensure the plan gets implemented. Other key elements will be adopting new property maintenance standards to give the Town authority to regulate the exterior condition of owner occupied homes and apartments or rentals. In addition, funding will need to be obtained to do capital improvements like paving the alleyways and installing sidewalks. This may be the biggest challenge of all since funding from the state is expected to decrease as the new tax laws take effect. Above all, plan implementation will require patience since the improvements cannot be made overnight. However, with a diligent attitude and cooperation, small successes will be made with the final outcome being improved property values and a more sustainable neighborhood.