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Street projects to reshape IUPUI traffic

April 14, 2015

Plans to convert both New York and Michigan streets into two-way traffic on the IUPUI campus are scheduled to begin in May when work starts on New York Street, and will continue until November 2017 when changes to Michigan Street are expected to be complete.

Two-way streets

The western portion of New York Street that will be converted to two-way traffic over the next year.

By the time the projects are finished, both of IUPUI’s primary east-west thoroughfares will become two-way streets between West Street (on the eastern edge of campus) and White River Parkway (on the west side of White River).

The project is part of IUPUI’s master plan and offers multiple benefits, including:

  • Improvements to vehicle and pedestrian safety
  • Facilitated traffic movement
  • Increased travel options for drivers, transit and cyclists
  • Create a sense of place on campus

The project was announced last July as part of a long range partnership with the city of Indianapolis and IUPUI, including upgrades to the IU Natatorium and other changes to westside neighborhoods near campus. The improvements will be financed by the Indianapolis Downtown tax-increment financing fund and supervised by the city’s Department of Public Works.

The project will provide landscaping changes along both streets as well as new and safer bicycle lanes and safer crosswalks for students, employees and guests as they visit the campus.

The project includes two phases: New York Street changes will be made from May of this year to May 2016. Michigan Street will be revamped beginning in the summer of 2016, ending in November 2017.

Project supporters believe that street changes on the IUPUI campus will not only benefit the campus community, but also will support economic development to campus neighbors in communities such as Haughville and Stringtown.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are New York and Michigan Streets being converted to two-way streets?

The conversion of New York and Michigan streets, which is consistent with IUPUI’s Master Plan, will improve vehicle and pedestrian safety, facilitate traffic movements and increase travel options for drivers, transit and cyclists, and help create a sense of place.

When was this road construction project announced?

The city of Indianapolis and Indiana University announced the project on July 15, 2014.

Who is paying for the project?

The road improvements will be paid for by the city of Indianapolis Downtown TIF (tax-increment financing) Fund.

Who is managing the project?

The city of Indianapolis Department of Public Works supervises and manages all public works construction projects throughout Indianapolis.

When will the construction project begin and end?

The construction will take place in two phases:

  • Phase I - The conversion of New York Street will begin in May 2015 and will continue through May 2016.
  • Phase II - The conversion of Michigan Street will commence in summer 2016 and conclude in November 2017.

What are the details of Phase I – New York St. conversion?

The New York St. conversion will consist of the following:

  • Two through lanes along New York Street in each direction between West Street and White River Parkway.
  • For eastbound New York Street travel:
    • Exclusive left turn lanes at Barnhill Drive, driveway to parking lot No. 58 just east of the Barnhill Parking Garage, University Boulevard, Blackford Street and West Street.
    • Left turns will also be permitted at Limestone and Lansing streets.
    • Exclusive right turn lane travel at West Street.
  • For westbound New York Street travel:
    • Exclusive left turn lane at Blake Street.
    • Raised medians will be installed at all of the exclusive left turn lanes noted above.
    • The New York Street/White River Parkway intersection will be improved to provide traditional left turn access (via double left turn lanes) for southbound White River Parkway to eastbound New York Street travel.
    • Widening along the north side of New York Street between Blackford and West streets.
    • Installation of a HAWK pedestrian traffic signal near Blake Street.
    • A protected, off-street, two-way bike path parallel to New York Street in the grassy area north of the oak trees between Lansing and Blackford streets.
    • Dedicated on-street bike lanes for travel along New York Street between White River Parkway and Lansing Street, and between Blackford and West streets.
    • Existing New York Street traffic signals will be modified to accommodate westbound traffic. No new traffic signals will be installed.
    • Beauty and Patterson streets will be closed in preparation for the eventual extension of Riley Hospital Drive from Michigan to New York streets. Minor construction work will be performed on lots proximate to those streets in order to facilitate circulation and access to parking. Specific information about those changes and affected parking spaces will be communicated on Parking and Transportation Services’ website as information becomes available.
New York Street conversion

What are the details of Phase II – Michigan Street conversion?

The design of the Michigan Street construction project is in the preliminary stages. However, it is anticipated that the improvements will be similar to the New York Street project.

Will New York Street be closed during Phase I?

No. A minimum of two eastbound travel lanes will be provided for travel on New York Street during construction. New York Street will not open to two-way traffic until the conversion from the White River Parkway to West Street is complete.

How will the conversion of New York and Michigan streets to two-way streets improve safety?

Narrowed traffic lanes

With the conversion of New York and Michigan streets to two-way streets, traffic lanes will be narrowed to 10ft, and, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, narrower lane widths help manage and reduce speeds as well as shorten crossing distances for pedestrians.

Landscaped raised medians

Landscaped raised medians provide traffic calming and help control traffic movements, as well as provide a safe in-between refuge for pedestrians as they make their way across the street.

High-Intensity Activate Crosswalk signal

The HAWK signal provides a protected pedestrian crossing and is designed to increase pedestrian safety. The signal remains dark until the walk button is activated. The signal will then flash yellow to warn drivers of a pedestrian wishing to cross the street. The flashing yellow light is followed by a solid yellow light and then signal will change to a solid red warning drivers to stop at the crosswalk. At that time, it is safe for the pedestrians to cross. After a predetermined amount of time, the solid red light will then convert to a flashing red signal, which indicates that drivers can proceed through the intersection when it is clear and safe to do so. The HAWK will then go dark with the “Don’t Walk” sign displayed for pedestrians. Drivers can continue through the intersection without stopping until the button is again activated.

Protected bike lanes

The conversion project includes a two-way, 8-foot dual-directional bicycle path, similar to the size of the Monon Trail and the Indianapolis Cultural Trail: A Legacy of Gene & Marilyn Glick, that will physically separate cyclists and motor vehicle traffic between Lansing and Blackford streets. The bike path, designed to increase safety and create a sense of place, will include flush mounted, solar powered LED lights that will provide visual delineation and assist in guiding the path of cyclists. The bike path will revert to the existing on-street bike lanes west of Lansing Street and east of Blackford Street.

Additional lighting

New decorative lighting will be installed on both sides of New York and Michigan streets.

Will any additional work be performed around campus as a result of Phase I construction?

Additional campus improvements include curb ramp and sidewalk repairs.

How will the road construction impact traffic and pedestrian flow?

Traffic and pedestrian patterns may be rerouted along New York Street so please allow extra time for travel, parking and walking. 

Will there be any events or existing construction projects on campus that will impact this road construction project?

  • University Hall – Construction of University Hall is expected to be complete prior to New York Street construction. However, furniture delivery and/or the moving of new building occupants is expected to extend into June/July, so traffic may be heavier than normal at the front and back building entrances as a result. 
  • IU Natatorium – Renovation of the Natatorium began on March 30 and will continue throughout the New York Street construction project, but traffic will be maintained to allow access to the venue. 
  • Indy Eleven – The Indy Eleven soccer team calls IUPUI’s Michael A. Carroll Stadium home. Several lots, as well as the Barnhill and Sports garages, have been designated for Indy Eleven parking and that will not change with Phase I construction. IU Police Department-Indianapolis will manage any necessary traffic changes associated with post game traffic on an as-needed basis.

Will the New York Street/Michigan Road conversion project include any green elements?

The off-street, protected bike path will include flush mounted, solar powered LED cycle guide lights that are designed to add visual delineation and assist in guiding the path of cyclists. Also, new decorative street lighting will feature LED technology that will help reduce light pollution and improve visibility and safety.

How will I learn about upcoming changes to traffic patterns or general project updates?

Please join the traffic listserv at traffic-l@list.iupui.edu (instructions) for up-to-date information about traffic pattern changes. Also, you can follow us on Twitter (@IUPUI) for important project updates.

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