Six Downtown blocks of College Avenue to return to two-way traffic

Work is poised to begin on the project to establish two-way traffic on six blocks of College Avenue from Market Street to Massachusetts Avenue.

This project will be closely followed by a similar two-way conversion of Michigan and New York streets on the Eastside – from College Avenue east to Emerson Avenue. The $6 million project is set to begin in the spring of 2023 and end the summer of 2024.

Traffic on College Avenue between Market Street and Mass Ave will become two-way and feature bicycle lanes.

As for the College Avenue two-way project, (and as Urban Times reported in the May 2022 edition) officials with the Department of Public Works said the emergence of the Bottleworks District is a prime motivation for the timing of the project. A second reason is that the North Split interstate construction project has removed access to south Interstate 65 from the Delaware Street ramp – with the elimination of one-way traffic in that section of College Avenue will help facilitate traffic flow to the Washington Street on-ramp.

The project includes bicycle lanes along the two-thirds-mile project, linking three existing bicycle tracks – east-west routes on New York Street and Michigan Street, as well as the Indianapolis Cultural Trail at the northern end of the project.

The final leg of the bicycle route, from Michigan Street to the Cultural Trail, will take the form of a two-way “cycle track” with traffic buffers.

The project will also result in the loss of parking along the route:

  • Market Street to Ohio Street: No change on west side; 14 lost in non-rush hour times. (Currently no parking 6 to 9 a.m. and 3 to 6 p.m.)
  • Ohio to New York: 12 lost on west side; 13 lost in non-rush hour times on east side.
  • New York to Michigan: Six lost on west side (leaving 13 intact along the row of Lockerbie Square houses); 27 lost on east side.
  • Michigan to Mass Ave: 18 lost on west side; one added on east side.
  • The total losses are 36 on the west side of the corridor, 27 on the east side (during non-rush hour times), and 10 lost all day.

The southern end of the project is at Market Street because of the problems posed by the railroad overpass at Washington Street. (A plan to extend two-way lanes south to Virginia Avenue in Fletcher Place remains on the timetable, but bears a much higher cost because of the overpass.)

The College Avenue project follows other recent conversions, including New York and Michigan streets through the IUPUI campus on the west side of Downtown, and Central Avenue on the Near Northside.

The two-way projects for New York and Michigan Streets will include improvements to existing sidewalks, curbs and ADA ramps, crosswalk and railroad enhancements as well as street resurfacing. DPW officials said the upgrades will increase safety and improve community access for residents, commuters, transit riders, pedestrians and bicyclists on the city’s Near Eastside.

A much larger project – dependent upon federal funding – includes the eventual conversion of several one-way street pairs through Down­town from 38th Street to I-70 to create (in DPW’s words) “a vibrant downtown, enhance neighborhood connectivity, encourage new development and improve mobility and safety for all modes of transportation.”