Central Avenue

Hopefully this blog post, along with two other recent posts (Red Line FAQs and Red Line Construction Updates) will address the many questions and concerns about this topic I’ve received. As a resident who lives 1 block east of College, I fully understand the frustration that is occurring right now. The expedited timeline is a double-edged sword; the construction period will be much more challenging, but the challenges will last a much shorter period of time.

An related side note: I recently evaluated all of the alleys along the Red Line College Avenue corridor for repair and resurfacing. (Ps- Thanks to Michael McKillup of Midtown Inc for doing this with me! Two people made it a much more manageable job.) With the additional parking restrictions along College Avenue due to the expedited schedule, alleys are going to be even more critical for businesses and residents to have access to their homes and for their customers. Alleys will be resurfaced, but funding has been a question mark. TIF funding will be used as a last resort, as resurfacing alleys is a critical part of making the project successful long-term as well as lessening the construction pain short-term. Each alley was ranked on a 1-3 scale (one being urgent attention needed, 3 meaning good repair). As soon as the funding and timeline is figured out I will post the details. Alley Evaluation Report

Please note, the signal changes and traffic calming measures that have been made in the past several months along Central Avenue are temporary and will be removed upon completion of project construction. If MKNA would like to keep any of the changes and make them permanent, that would require a city ordinance to get passed through the typical public process. The proposal would be introduced, then it would have to pass out of the Public Works committee and then pass at the Full Council level. From my perspective, I would only introduce an ordinance at the direction of the neighborhood, and even then such changes may be hampered by budget constraints. 

Here are some additional modifications in store to the existing temporary changes along Central Ave. I believe some of these have already happened but I am awaiting confirmation:

  • Revising the “Speed Table” signs to include a 15mph advisory speed placard under each sign.
  • Installation of flexible bollards adjacent to each speed hump for additional visibility by roadway users.
  • Extending the time given to pedestrians at the signalized intersections near the schools to help better accommodate the student crossings.
  • Restricting turns on red at 57th & Central during arrival and dismissal -currently coordinating w/ school officials –  requested for 57th, 46th and 42nd thus addressing right turns on red for all four schools on the corridor equitably. 

Also requested by myself at the direction of MKNA (not yet confirmed) is pulling up the tape that creates the crosswalks at 40th to eliminate with the stop sign being removed temporarily. 

Here is a statement from MKNA Executive Director Chelsea Marburger that may be helpful:

DPW informed MKNA of the changes to Central Monday, February 4th morning as they received a heads up from IndyGo of their Tuesday press conference expediting the construction on College Avenue. DPW did not get the opportunity to give the three week look ahead they had promised because the timeline was changed drastically overnight. 
At that time, I made a judgement call on Monday morning to first inform the schools. I personally spoke to a representative at all four schools and proceeded to send an email to the contact given to me. I stand by my decision to inform our schools first. Two of the schools were grateful for the heads up while another two claimed to have not received the information. The latter two have since recanted as the lack of communication was within the school, not between the school and MKNA. After contacting the schools, I sent an email to our entire mailing list as well as posted online. We recognize the value of mailers as some neighbors aren’t on social media but with such short notice, it wouldn’t have been helpful in this instance. 
On February 6th, DPW reached out after observing the street for the day and have updates they would like to make in the coming weeks but they weren’t specific; I have made requests for “NEW TRAFFIC PATTERN AHEAD,” “NO PARKING HERE TO CORNER” (to increase visibility) and to limit turning on red near in the schools zones. Councillor Fanning is also holding DPW accountable for those changes and we hope to see them sooner rather than later.
As of present, I have talked to IMPD and officially, there have been no accidents. Councillor Fanning has also committed to added pressure on IMPD to be present for proper enforcement as well. The traffic sector has committed to being present and I’ve seen them at SJOA (at the end of the school day) and again on my commute to the sitter on North Central this morning. I have been told a volume of reports in a given area increases response from IMPD so please continue to use the traffic report form found here.  
Every day in which we adapt and are able to avoid incident is a “win.” The silver lining, to me, is that these changes have always been temporary but with the accelerated timeline, we’re looking at six months rather than the entire year. Also, DPW intentionally left the sign posts at both conversions to symbolize the return of the stop signs. Please be reminded that by City Ordinance, the signs must return. Additionally, these changes have been discussed at length for the past six months and DPW did make some concessions to this system of changes; I use the word system because the combination of speed tables, lights and signs work together and aren’t independently executed thus not independently altered.