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Irvington business owners say IndyGo bus rapid transit will drive away customers

Inrvington residents in Indianapolis concerned about IndyGo Blue Line bus rapid transit project

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Indianapolis City-County Council will vote on approving a $125 million bond on Oct. 16 to help pay for IndyGo’s Blue Line bus rapid transit project. IndyGo says it will service the debt on the bond.

The 24-mile bus line will link Cumberland to the Indianapolis International Airport. The line will go through Washington Street in the heart of historic Irvington.

“People who want to get here via vehicle aren’t going to be able to do that with the bus coming in, so we’re definitely not excited about that,” said Jason McClure, owner of Smash’d Burger bar on Johnson Street.

He worries construction on the Blue Line will prevent drivers from turning from Washington onto Johnson Street.

Several business leaders say they are worried about how a bus line that cuts a swath down Washington Street would impact this historic neighborhood which was established in 1870.

“The community worked together to raise funds for the streetscapes, as a community we put in, that’s now at risk of being torn out,” said Lisa Bennett, owner of Black Sheep Gifts.

Bennett worries customers won’t be able to access her business should Washington Street be reduced from 4 lanes to 2.

“We would love to see the Blue Line moved off of Washington Street, whether it’s Brookville or 10th Street. Those have areas that do not have this corridor of business,” she said.

IndyGo said this in a statement to News 8.

“The long-term benefits of the Blue Line will far outweigh any temporary angst. The Blue Line will not only mean faster, more efficient transit from Cumberland to the Indianapolis International Airport, but it will also mean significant infrastructure improvements, including 9 miles of new or replaced sidewalks, 7 miles of new street paving, 300+ new or replaced ADA curb ramps, 2 miles of new crosswalks and more. Add to that the nearly $2 billion in economic development already invested along the line, and this project is clearly going to bring major benefits to this thoroughfare.”

Carrie Black, IndyGo Spokesperson

There will be a community meeting to discuss the Blue Line at 7:15 p.m. on Oct. 10 at Irvington Insurance at 7369 E. Washington St.