The Justin Plan for Indianapolis

I often use products or services and think, “Now why would they do that?”.

Last week when the city’s trash truck came by to collect my trash, I thought, “Would it have killed them to tie a a snow plow on to the front of that thing?” I know they can — it’s part of DPW’s plan in case of major snow storms that require more muscle to move snow. At that point, they plow (but don’t salt) residential streets using independent contractors (guys with pickups) and the city’s trash fleet. However, not until there’s 6 inches of snow at once. Nevermind if it falls an inch a day over 6 days like we’ve had lately. What’s with the 6″ nonsense? At least where the city’s fleet of trash trucks is concerned, they’re going the same route regardless.

And then that resulted in my jotting down these other ideas…

  1. Synchronize all the stoplights down streets and roadways in a North/South, East/West manner. Some streets do well with synched lights that let you flow pretty well as lights change before you get to them, but that gets blown apart when there’s traffic. Your light is green, but the next one isn’t and no one in front of you can move. So, sync all the lights so all N/S lights go green at the same time and all E/W lights flip accordingly.
  2. I got out my car a couple weeks ago to find a meter flashing “Error. NO PARKING.”¬†When a parking meter breaks, don’t tell me I can’t park there after I’ve already gotten out of my car. If it says it’s broke, that makes it a freebie and doesn’t waste space for a business.
  3. Rather than having a bunch of city-controlled committees and commissions for things like education, arts, etc., take half as much money and give it to the organizations in this city that know that stuff best. Why should the city spend time evaluating the arts when foundations from the IMA or IRT are better suited?
  4. How much cheaper in the long run would it be for libraries to consolidate into one warehouse and to provide books online? Want to read War and Peace? Fine, you can either have it mailed to your house at the Post Office’s book rate, which is about as cheap as a postcard, or you can download it to a device that supports the necessary DRM, like an iPad (using an appropriate app). The eBooks can auto-delete themselves, solving licensing issues. And, if you don’t mail the book back in the pre-made envelope, a la Netflix, then you get fined just like you do now. Shut down half the smaller branches and leave the computers and other library services open to other public facilities, like fire stations by putting in computer kiosks. And don’t tell me that can’t work because I have one word for you: Bookmobile. It can’t be cheaper and more efficient to pay a guy to drive around in an old van all day to bring books to kids that don’t want to read anyway.
  5. Sell IPS’ old stuff. For reasons only they could know, IPS is hanging on to a lot of old school buildings that aren’t used anymore, probably to prevent charters from buying them up. The problem here is that they still have to maintain the grounds, insure them and they’re sitting in some prime spots around town that’d be ripe for re-investment.

Harter 2012.

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