Indianapolis to convert parts of eight one-way streets into two-way

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Ushering in what Congressional Rep. André Carson called “a new era for infrastructure,” Indianapolis plans to utilize a $25 million U.S. Department of Transportation grant to convert eight one-way streets into two-way roadways and update more infrastructure, beginning as soon as 2025.

The Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity, or RAISE, grant will be matched with just more than $20 million in city funds, providing $46.5 million for the street conversions and for infrastructure projects including:

  • 16 intersection projects
  • 12 signal modifications
  • more than 300 curb-ramp improvements
  • the resurfacing of 49 lane miles
  • two miles of multi-use path
  • resurfacing 5.5 bike lane miles
  • improvements on 3.5 miles of sidewalk

The Department of Public Works has not yet finalized the design and placement of all the projects, spokesman Kyle Bloyd told IBJ.

The following stretches of one-way streets will be converted to two-way traffic:

  • Capitol Avenue from 21st to 38th streets
  • Illinois Streets from 21st to 38th streets
  • Pennsylvania Street from Interstate 65 North to Fall Creek Parkway South Drive
  • Delaware Street from Interstate 65 North to Fall Creek Parkway South Drive
  • Alabama Street from Washington Street to Michigan Street
  • New Jersey Street from Washington Street to Michigan Street
  • East Street from Washington Street to 10th Street
  • College Avenue from Virginia Avenue to Market Street

The city pointed to studies that say two-way streets tend to slow traffic while creating more direct routes, visibility and the opportunity for more commerce.

City-County Council President Vop Osili said some of the city’s one-way roads have effectively become expressways. The shift will “transform the streets into places that capture our city’s walking spirit and highlight our ongoing effort to create safe residential streets,” he added.

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett said the changes could result in better outcomes for business and reduced rates of crime. Other Midwestern cities have used the same strategy. In Louisville, one study reported a 60% decrease in collisions while another reported a 32% decrease in crime on the shifted streets.

“This adjustment to traffic patterns can restore and will restore a sense of being in a neighborhood for families living along busy thoroughfares,” Hogsett said.

The streets were chosen out of a Department of Public Works traffic study of the city’s one-ways in 2019 and 2020, Ericka Miller, chief engineer, told IBJ.

The project is expected to go out to bid in 2026 and be complete in 2027.

The city has already converted several streets from one-ways to two-ways. Hogsett said he’s seen the lasting effects of the changes. A Central Avenue conversion was mentioned recently at a neighborhood meeting at which constituents asked that it be extended for another two blocks to East Street, he said.

“It’s just one of the most popular things that we’ve done from an infrastructure perspective,” Hogsett said.

This year, the Department of Public Works will begin converting stretches of Michigan and New York streets from one-way streets to two-way. Michigan Street will become two-way between College Avenue and Ellenberger Parkway. New York Street will be converted between College Avenue and East Pleasant Run Parkway.

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21 thoughts on “Indianapolis to convert parts of eight one-way streets into two-way

  1. Dumb idea- these “expressways” efficiently move people around a growing city. I live on one of these streets. This is a shotgun approach to utilizing federal funds, absent a larger traffic improvement plan.

    As much as I hate the state legislature jumping into the city’s business- hopefully this gets noticed. We have time before 2026.

    Idea- use funds to fill the potholes / resurface these same routes. How many accidents are from the craters in our Marion county streets? Hogsett administration doesn’t want those numbers published.

    1. Darn it. You’ve figured it out. Hogsett’s secret pothole-safety-data-one-way conversion scheme has been foiled. And he would’ve gotten away wit it too if it weren’t for you snooping kids!

    2. Every time there is a 1-way -> 2-way conversion plan, people start dooming and gloming over traffic. But traffic never actually gets worse while the experience for pedestrians and bicyclists improves. Does anybody remember the doom predictions when New York Street and Michigan Street were converted to 2-ways through IUPUI? If anything, traffic improved afterwards.

      Accommodating pedestrians and bicyclists property is a “traffic improvement plan” because it provides infrastructure that makes people feel safe getting around in ways that don’t require a car. Converting one-way streets to two-way streets also improves traffic by allowing people to have easier access to their destinations.

  2. I can understand the people that will be irritated that the road that they used to weave and zigzag down at 40 miles an hour will suddenly change, but these people would have been irritated at any kind of change that would have slowed them down.

    But these same people often overlook the functionality of city street grid without the complications of one way streets. When there’s an accident or a signal malfunction that causes a back up on one artery, they now have the option of cutting across a side street and using the other formerly one way street. In addition the traffic will self balance between the former one way streets. On top of that, it will become safer for pedestrians and former highway like speeds are moderated. For too long traffic planners gave priority to cars to the exclusion of everything else including the people that actually live in the city.

    There are also the people that avoid downtown because of the complications of one way street. Often your destination my be a block away, but it take driving another 4 blocks to get there.

  3. I see disaster coming!!! traffic is already backed up on these roads when there are 2 lanes going in the same direction. Now we are reducing this to 50% and think this isn’t going to be a problem. I’m glad I walk and can watch this from the sidewalks while drivers become enraged. We are supposed to be using these funds to better our city not to cause more disruptions!

    1. Your overlooking the fact that the other street will have a new lane open the other direction and there is NO REDUCTION IN THE NUMBER OF LANES.

  4. I’m all for anything that makes city streets safer (which mostly means slower). If people are frustrated at how much time they spend in traffic, they should move closer to the city (or demand transit options to relieve the traffic)

  5. This seems like a good idea. Now let’s consider parking meters. Do we need them? Other than raising money, what purposes do they serve? I wonder how much better downtown restaurants would do without meters?

    1. Even if you give away street parking, there are huge economic costs to providing that “free” parking. There are huge costs to businesses when parking spots don’t turn over and nobody can park anywhere near the business as well.

      People need to get over the fact that they believe you should be able to store 1.5 tons of their personal property anywhere they go for free.

    2. Customer turnover is good for businesses and metered parking encourages turnover in high-demand areas.

  6. I know this isn’t going to be a popular position, but this is a free country and people are allowed to voice their opinions in open honest debate- or at least this used to be the case-not that it matters-this appears to be a done deal.

    These one way streets were set up in the past to make it quick and easy to get in and out of downtown for the hundreds of thousands of people that commuted there every day, and for big events like Colts games etc. One of our assets as a city was how easy it was to get in and out of our downtown. The dismantling of this express street grid in favor of bike lanes that are rarely if ever used, the ill fated rapid Bus lines, the conversion of one way streets to 2 way streets, or those lovely bog garden pop outs that are filled with weeds and make it impossible to turn a delivery truck through an intersection, is seriously erroding one of the best assets we had as a city. Face it we need suburbanites to come to our downtown area in order for businesses down here to flourish.

    Increasingly suburbanites don’t even want to come downtown, and don’t need to now that their cities have copied the urban feel of our downtown-not to mention the perception-real or imagined-that its not safe anymore. Making it more and more difficult for suburbanites to visit downtown isn’t going to help, and no they aren’t going to ride the red line to get here and back.

    This is I fear, a prescription for disaster for downtown businesses.

    Flame suit on!

    1. Downtown does not have the space for masses of suburbanites to drive in. In the process of trying to cater the suburbanites the city has been demolished for more and more parking lots that leave hot, dead areas. The bike lanes provide ways for dense populations of potential customers to move through downtown and improves the overall look. It also entices people to live downtown which provides a LARGER and more frequent customer base for business.

      Catering to cars for suburbanites will do what it’s always done, make the city look ugly and do nothing to convince people who already have everything they need in their suburbs. However, improving the flow and experience of people on their feet will actually provide a unique reason for people to visit and even live here, which is much more efficient to sustain.

  7. I live on one of these one-way express streets downtown next to the Cultural Trail. Many drivers ignore the flashing yellow lights as they race towards the red light on the next block. Car wrecks and scared pedestrians are common at my corner.

    If done on residential streets, two-way traffic calms and improves the neighborhood’s quality of life. I am all for the decision. Besides, the expressway is easily accessible from three directions downtown.

  8. Mayor Boss Hogsett and do nothing Andre Carson constantly using government and city funds to deflect from their failures.

    $46.5M to free up some roads from the Red Line Failure and potholes throughout the city while Boss Hog is therapy and Andre drums up another racial attack on Indy residents.

    Amazing how the majority of Marion County Voters continue to be duped by these con artists.

  9. 46 million dollars would go a long way to fixing the (c)rap road that currently exist. Carson does not get any TV time for fixing existing roads!