US 31 Corridor Comprehensive Plan
The US 31 Corridor Comprehensive Plan was a joint project of the City of Kokomo and Howard County. The original US 31 route passed through downtown Kokomo until the existing bypass was constructed approximately 1 mile east of downtown in 1952. Development soon followed and the highly traveled bypass became Kokomo's primary commercial corridor. The large combination of commercial and industrial land uses, more than 15 traffic lights, three at-grade railroad crossings, and over 140 access points along the corridor created transportation difficulties in both congestion and safety. In 2007, INDOT decided to construct a new US 31 bypass around Kokomo to improve north-south traffic flow.
The new US 31 bypass was constructed as a limited-access interstate roadway with five interchanges approximately 1 mile east of the existing bypass. In order to properly plan and prevent haphazard growth from encroaching on available land along the new US 31, and to improve transportation flow along the existing US 31, the City and County initiated the development of the US 31 Corridor Comprehensive Plan. The Plan addresses land use issues, complete streets implementation, zoning regulations, and redevelopment opportunities to plan and provide for appropriate growth around the new US 31 corridor and improve transportation flow and aesthetics throughout the existing US 31 corridor.
American Structurepoint conducted a market analysis as a component for the US 31 Corridor Comprehensive Plan. The analysis summarized the retail assessment of the area surrounding the existing and future corridors to help formulate appropriate objectives for future land development and growth. A primary trade area was created to inventory the predominant shoppers in the market place, based on demographic analysis within this particular area. An opportunity gap analysis was also performed to compare consumer expenditures with retail sales within the trade area. The analysis helped identify retail attractors, local balance, and local growth potential to assist in identifying retail trends of the area to help target specific retailers to the area. Current commercial retail trends were also evaluated to identify whether either of the corridors could attract national retailers based on land and market availability.
The US 31 project employed a comprehensive public involvement process that included a large kickoff meeting on the Indiana University-Kokomo campus to learn more about the planning process and the goals of creating the comprehensive plan. The meeting explained the opportunities available where the public should get involved and explained when input would be needed throughout this process. Two interactive workshops followed in the process. The first used breakout groups to participate in identifying the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) affecting both the new and existing US 31 corridors. Each group's ideas were combined to make a comprehensive list that identified all the key SWOT. The second workshop focused on the development of a common vision of what the future corridors would look like. Attendees worked in small groups to build off results from the first public workshop to develop a vision of how the new and existing corridors will be 20 years from now. Each group presented elements that needed to be included in the vision. Once a consensus was reached, participants came up with strategies, programs, and policies necessary to achieve the vision. In total, over 150 attendees provided input through the process.