IndyGo Red Line proposal reveals left-turn restrictions

Red Line proposal. (Provided Image)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — New details about IndyGo’s Red Line indicate commuters on Meridian Street, College Avenue and 38th Street will have fewer opportunities to turn left.

The proposed list of 53 intersections was approved with road, signage and traffic light updates by the Indianapolis City-County Council’s Public Works Committee Tuesday night. It includes intersections ranging from Meridian and 18th to College and 63rd. The proposal is scheduled to go before the full City-County Council before the end of the year.

The left-turn restrictions are a trade-off for sophisticated public transit in Indianapolis, according to Public Works Committee Chair and District 17 Councilman Zach Adamson who voted in favor of the Red Line.

“We have seniors beyond their working years who need public transit to get groceries and get to doctor’s appointments,” Adamson said. “Students who attend IUPUI who can use the Red Line to come down and go to school. Transit serves everybody.”

Information published by IndyGo reveals at least one goal of the Red Line is to link more residents to their jobs with public transit. IndyGo reports 25 percent of Marion County jobs are within a quarter mile of the Red Line’s routes, and the Red Line will drop off and pick up passengers every 10 minutes for 20 hours a day, 7 days a week, making a big difference for thousands of Hoosiers.

The Red Line’s bus lane is described as a light rail on rubber tires and will feature several raised stations for the BRT (Bus Rapid Transit). To run the bus system, crews must install several 4″x18″ mountable medians the road, disabling other vehicles from using the bus’s lane. As the Red Line plan stands currently, those dividers will disable drivers from making left turns at 53 intersections along the bus’s route.

“There are certain places where you can make a U-turn, and those places will be marked clearly,” Adamson said. “Signage and metering or traffic lights will be designed to allow a U-turn.”

Adamson admitted that any time traffic patterns change, there will be some degree of confusion, but he says he’s confident the changes will be a net positive.

“I think the investment to our transit system is long overdue,” he said. “I think once people get used to it, they’ll be able to navigate this just like any other transit system in the rest of the country.”

However Lee Lange, principal of the College Corridor Business Organization, says she wholeheartedly disagrees.

“These are permanent bus-only lanes — only buses will be allowed to go to down them,” Lange said. “It will permanently alter travel along College Avenue and accessibility in this neighborhood.”

Lange and several fellow business owners and managers along College Avenue have written letters to Mayor Joe Hogsett and city-county councilors to stop the lane-dominant Red Line buses from running in front of their businesses and homes.

“People will not be able to get across College Avenue unless they jump a curb,” Lange said. “There’s so many issues – reduced accessibility to homes [and] businesses in this wonderful college corridor that has been built.”

She also says she worries about parking loss, less bus stops total along College Avenue, bus drivers controlling signals and emergency responders who may need to take that left turn.

Adamson says they’re working it out with IMPD and IFD, and is confident the big-wheeled vehicles will be able to navigate over the mountable medians.

Lange says city leaders and IndyGo engineers need to come up with a better solution.

“Run more buses, run them more often,” she said. “The planners say they need to achieve a certain reliability. Great, achieve that reliability with more buses. If you need to do lane control, do some lane control. Many communities have lane control and it works very well.”

The Red Line project, which has already received a federal grant, is still awaiting final detailed approval from the City-County Council and approval on construction bids, with an eventual plan to connect as far north as Westfield and as far south as Greenwood.

IndyGo hosts frequent “Transit Talks” to take public input on their projects. The next scheduled talk is Sept. 14 at 4:30 p.m. at the Hotel Tango Artisan Distillery, 702 Virginia Ave., and more “Talks” on on the schedule through Sept. 29.

Here is the list of the proposed intersections that would be impacted by the Red Line:

  • Meridian Street, southbound 18th Street, eastbound
  • Meridian Street, northbound 19th Street, westbound
  • Meridian Street, northbound 20th Street, westbound
  • Meridian Street, northbound McLean Place, westbound
  • Meridian Street, northbound 22nd Street, westbound
  • Meridian Street, southbound 23rd Street, eastbound
  • Meridian Street, northbound 24th Street, westbound
  • Meridian Street, southbound 24th Street, eastbound
  • Meridian Street, southbound 25th Street, eastbound
  • Meridian Street, northbound Fall Creek Parkway, North Drive, westbound
  • Meridian Street, southbound Fall Creek Boulevard, North Drive, eastbound
  • Meridian Street, northbound 27th Street, westbound
  • Meridian Street, northbound 29th Street, westbound
  • Meridian Street, southbound 30th Street, eastbound
  • Meridian Street, northbound 33rd Street, westbound
  • Meridian Street, southbound 33rd Street, eastbound
  • Meridian Street, southbound 34th Street, eastbound
  • Meridian Street, northbound 34th Street, westbound
  • Meridian Street, northbound 36th Street, westbound
  • Meridian Street, southbound 36th Street, eastbound
  • Meridian Street, southbound 37th Street, eastbound
  • Thirty-eighth Street, eastbound Broadway Street, northbound
  • Thirty-eighth Street, westbound Broadway Street, southbound
  • College Avenue, northbound 39th Street, westbound
  • College Avenue, northbound 40th Street, westbound
  • College Avenue, southbound 40th Street, eastbound
  • College Avenue, southbound 42nd Street, eastbound
  • College Avenue, northbound 44th Street, westbound
  • College Avenue, southbound 44th Street, eastbound
  • College Avenue, northbound 46th Street, westbound
  • College Avenue, southbound 48th Street, eastbound
  • College Avenue, northbound 48th Street, westbound
  • College Avenue, northbound 50th Street, westbound
  • College Avenue, southbound 50th Street, eastbound
  • College Avenue, northbound 51st Street, westbound
  • College Avenue, southbound 51st Street, eastbound
  • College Avenue, northbound 53rd Street, westbound
  • College Avenue, southbound 53rd Street, eastbound
  • College Avenue, southbound Bungalow Court, eastbound
  • College Avenue, southbound 55th Street, eastbound
  • College Avenue, northbound 56th Street, westbound
  • College Avenue, southbound 56th Street, eastbound
  • College Avenue, northbound Northview Avenue, westbound
  • College Avenue, southbound Northview Avenue, eastbound
  • College Avenue, northbound 58th Street, westbound
  • College Avenue, southbound 58th Street, eastbound
  • College Avenue, northbound 60th Street, westbound
  • College Avenue, southbound 60th Street, eastbound
  • College Avenue, southbound Paxton Place, eastbound
  • College Avenue, northbound 62nd Street, westbound
  • College Avenue, southbound 62nd Street, eastbound
  • College Avenue, northbound Westfield Boulevard, southwest bound
  • College Avenue, northbound 63rd Street, westbound
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