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Major Indy streets will stay closed through Labor Day weekend to help with outdoor dining

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The street closures on certain sections of Massachusetts Avenue, Broad Ripple Avenue and Georgia Street will be extended for weeks. The city made the announcement Wednesday.

These streets were made for walking. Well, at least since May. City leaders chose to bring restaurant seating outdoors amid the COVID-19 pandemic so restaurants could offer more meals to more patrons.

“I think it’s awesome! It’s wonderful. It makes it easily accessible for my son and I to come down and enjoy the beauty of our city,” said Kate Moon, an Indianapolis resident.

The street closures were scheduled to end this weekend, but today, the Department of Public Works announced segments of Massachusetts Avenue, Broad Ripple Avenue, and Georgia Street will stay closed through Labor Day weekend.

“That’s good!” Donavan Avance, of Indianapolis said. “I mean, summer is still going, the weather is still nice.”

DPW said the extension came after feedback from merchant’s associations plus public health and pedestrian count data.

“I love it. It’s cool,” said Adrian Gomez, of Indianapolis. “There’s not a lot of places like that, in other cities I’ve been to.”

Silver in the City store manager Kelly Williams says the street closures are good for business.

“We were really concerned with the closure,” Williams explained. “We were afraid it was going to, like, stop our customers from coming in and having a harder time to find parking, but we haven’t had that issue. We’ve actually been pretty busy, especially on the weekends.”

Across the street, at World of Beer, bartender Dustin Bassett says he’d like the closure on Mass Ave to be extended even longer.

“Yeah, you should keep it always,” Bassett explained. “Make it like Georgia Street. Like, just close it all the way down. I think everyone loves it like this.”

Not everyone agrees.

Steve Koors and his wife live just blocks from Broad Ripple Avenue.

“If the city could do something to moderate the noise then I’d be all for this being a public space, because it would be much more enjoyable for the people that live here,” Koors said.

Koors says traffic passes in front of their home all day. On weekends, loud traffic happens as late as 3 a.m. Sometimes with blaring music and mufflers.

“We’re thinking about moving, just because we can’t sleep on Friday nights, and Saturday nights, and sometimes Sunday and Monday nights,” Koors said.

The streets had been closed to help allow for socially-distanced outdoor dining.

“As we continue to evaluate public health data and monitor pedestrian counts, we believe the volume of visitors to Broad Ripple Avenue, Georgia Street, and Mass Ave continue to warrant additional space to safely distance within these street segments,” Indy DPW Director Dan Parker said in a statement to News 8.

“Since they were originally installed in May, these closures have always been envisioned as strictly a temporary measure allowing pedestrians to reasonably visit dense, commercial areas while following public health guidelines to stay socially distanced. While we will continue to monitor pedestrian count data and stay in tune to our public health officials, our plan is to reopen the streets to vehicles after Labor Day weekend,” said Indianapolis DPW Chief Communications Officer Benjamin Easley.

DPW said it is looking for ways to add more parking to Mass Ave.