Georgia Street Improvements

Georgia Street Improvements

Indianapolis, Indiana

Creating a Super Street

When Indianapolis hosted Super Bowl XLVI, the city exceeded all expectations, with weeklong festivities attracting 150,000 visitors and worldwide attention. It was a watershed moment for the Midwestern sports capital.

City of Indianapolis

Leading up to this major event, we embraced the opportunity to create an entirely new entertainment “venue” — permanently transforming a public street into a pedestrian-first, flexible event space. The three-block stretch of Georgia Street, from Banker’s Life Fieldhouse to the Indiana Convention Center, would become a gathering place.

Our curb-less design prioritizes pedestrians. Vehicular flow was reduced to one travel lane in each direction with a broad central pedestrian median, ample crosswalks, and limited on-street parking. The entire street, or a block at a time, can be closed to traffic for events.

Events open and close, but the infrastructure for this urban street park is permanent. Vertical armatures line the street, to handle sunshades, heat, lighting, music, and to house all utilities. And an innovative three-chamber stormwater filtration system, cleans rain run-off and percolates it back into the soil.

Today on Georgia Street, outdoor cafes populate the boardwalk, office workers relax in the shade, and revelers rejoice over last-second shots. It’s a destination worth celebrating.

Forestation for Urban Ecology

Trees line the median, shading understory plantings and passersby alike. These are among the first plantings in the historic Wholesale District.

Catenary Infrastructure Housing

Catenary systems have long been used to support overhead power supply for light rail or trolleys, similar to those that once traveled Georgia Street. Here, the catenary system was adapted to hang the primary light source for the boardwalk, provide for event-specific themed lighting, seasonal heating and support retractable solar shades.

Stormwater Innovation

It’s anticipated that the system will reduce Georgia Street’s runoff by more than 50 percent during a 10-year rain event and 40 percent during a 100-year storm. The boardwalk captures rainwater as it passes through joints to a filtration system below, where it can then recharge the ground water aquifer

Historic Markers

Public art showcases Indiana history. Ten finely crafted “Hoosier Pillars” commemorate U.S. presidents Benjamin Harrison and Abraham Lincoln, alongside Booth Tarkington and Madam C.J. Walker. Each marker features a biography and a likeness drawn by Indianapolis artist James Kelly.

SITES Pilot Program

The Georgia Street project is part of the Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) pilot program, an interdisciplinary effort by the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas at Austin and the United States Botanic Garden. SITES seeks to transform and foster more sustainable site development projects, particularly in urban settings. The SITES initiative employs a rating system developed in tandem with USGBC’s LEED.