Indianapolis Entrepreneur Wants To Make Watching Highway Traffic a Form of Entertainment

Sitting in traffic, or trying to change lanes on a busy highway are not the most relaxing things in the world, but one Indianapolis entrepreneur thinks that sitting idly on the side of a highway and watching other drivers go through these daily ordeals can be quite entertaining and even therapeutic.

Most motorists drive past the big grassy space between the I-65 and I-70 highways in Indianapolis without giving it a second thought, but local businessman Tom Battista thinks the undeveloped land has the potential to provide entertainment in the form of traffic. He wants to turn it into a gathering spot where people can get together to socialize and relax by watching cars zoom by or just sit in traffic. Tom acknowledges that it’s a crazy idea, but he’s also sure that people will love it.

Photo: Daniel Axler/The Idle

In a short interview with Indianapolis’ 13WTHR news station, Battista said that sitting by the merging point of the I-65 and I-70 highways can be entertaining “because we’re sitting here calmly while they (the drivers) are all worried about whether they merge or not. You can hear the horns honking and people are all excited. But we’re already where we need to be, which is watching them. Our blood pressure is going down. Theirs is going up.”

Are you sold on his idea yet? Well, neither was the Federal Highway Administration, but let it sink in, maybe watching traffic will grow on you.

Photo: Daniel Axler/The Idle

“No way, it’s way out of the box, we’ll never do that,” the Highway Administration told Tom, even after hearing that Indianpolis authorities were ready to go ahead with his project. But he’s not letting a simple “no” mess up his vision, so he’s now trying to raise funds for the traffic viewing spot overlooking the two highways through crowdfunding. He’s set up a campaign on Patronicity, but with 50 days to go, he has yet to raise a single dollar of the $41,000 goal.

The Indianapolis entrepreneur, who served as Jimmy Buffet’s stage manager for 25 years, says he will need a total of $82,000 to make The Idle, A Point of View a reality. He plans to set up three rows of seats and a sunshade atop the viewing mound, so people can watch traffic in comfort. To put safety concerns to rest, a fence will be built just below the viewing area to ensure no one can get on the highway, and no structures will be built in the area.

Photo: The Idle

“It’s crazy and I understand that, but I’m a bit crazy,” Battista said with a laugh. “I’m a big advocate for the city and always have been and I think it will be a place where people will bring friends and out-of-town people because it’s so crazy.”

“When Tom came to me with this idea I was, like, ‘This is crazy enough to work’,” Paul Smith, head of the Southeast Neighborhood Development Corporation (SEND), said.  “What I really like the most is that there’s not another one like it anywhere in the country, it’s one-of-a-kind and I think Indy does best when it does its own thing.”


No other like it, huh? I wonder why that is…