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Bill blocking IndyGo Blue Line advances over neighbors’ concerns

Blue line ban advances

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Residents of the Irvington neighborhood on Thursday told Indiana lawmakers a bill to block a bus rapid-transit line makes their streets less safe.

Dozens of people representing businesses and residents on the east side packed a Statehouse committee room Thursday morning to testify on a bill that would block construction of the Blue Line. Jordan Gleason, an Irvington resident and business owner, told lawmakers blocking the project would hamper the neighborhood’s ability to bring in economic development.

Fellow resident Nathan Height said he often has close calls with cars speeding along Washington Street. “I’m afraid to walk to some businesses because it is so busy,” he said. “I really invite anybody who has hesitations about the Blue Line or rapid transit in general to come take a walk with me.”

The Blue Line is the last of three planned IndyGo bus rapid-transit routes in Marion County, following the already-operational Red Line and the Purple Line, which is currently under construction. The Blue Lie route would run from the airport to the town of Cumberland, with much of it following Washington Street.

Business owners along the planned route have told News 8 they fear dedicated bus lanes will impair customers’ ability to access their stores and thus drive down foot traffic.

Sen. Aaron Freeman’s bill originally would have blocked any future bus rapid-transit lanes entirely. On Thursday, at his request, a Senate committee amended his bill to block further construction through July 2025 while the state studies the issue further. The committee also added language to specifically exempt the Purple Line from the legislation. The Indianapolis Republican said he wants to give policymakers time to take a second look at dedicated rapid-transit lanes versus shared, multiuse lanes.

“The federal government is pushing this. They’re pushing grants through dedicated lanes, or fixed lanes,” he said. “I think we as a general assembly should push back on that. There’s plenty of opportunity for shared lanes.”

The bill passed committee and now heads to the full Senate. It would have to go to the House if approved.