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Public Works to convert near east side streets to two-way traffic

Traffic changes coming to near east side

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Indianapolis Department of Public Works will convert Michigan and New York Streets to two-way traffic to help reduce speeding and enhance safety on the near east side.

The bulk of the construction work will happen in 2024, but cones and signs are already out for early steps in the project.

The work will start at the edge of downtown on College Avenue and stretch out east to Pleasant Run Parkway. DPW will add a separate bike lane with landscaping or a curb to divide bikes from traffic.

Jordan Williams is a senior project manager of roadway design for the Indianapolis Department of Public Works on this project.

“Right now, you have multiple lanes in one direction, and it creates a lot of opportunity for people to subconsciously want to change lanes to pass one another,” said Williams.

Having the ability to pass allows people to speed through these near east side neighborhoods. The goal of this project is to slow traffic with the added benefits of new enclosed bike lanes. Pedestrian safety should improve as a result.

“There will be curb separation with landscaping. As much as we can, we’re going to extend that landscaping separation for the bike and sidewalk users,” Williams said. “Where it gets a little bit narrower is there won’t be as much room to fit trees per se, but there will still be a curb to separate it,” said Williams.

Neighbors and advocates in the area want to see safety improvements where they live.

Melissa Benton is the community development officer for the John Boner Neighborhood Centers. She said neighbors have been fighting for this change since 2007.

“We have schools that sit on those streets, and it can be a little terrifying in the morning when you see cars that are completely ignoring those school zones and just speeding down Michigan in an effort to hurry up and get into downtown,” Benton said. “Literally putting the safety of kids and families in jeopardy, and so I think the conversation of those will allow for safer streets.”

DPW said other cities that have implemented these changes saw a 30% to 40% decrease in vehicle vs. pedestrian crashes.

The city will maintain the same amount of eastbound and westbound lanes by converting two streets.

Early stages of the project will begin this month, while the bulk of the construction will begin in 2024, with final touches added at the beginning of 2025.