Indianapolis and IUPUI have always wanted to have two-way streets through campus. Since the beginning of the New York Street conversion IUPUI and the city have wanted to convert Michigan Street as well. Since it started in November the Michigan Street construction has slowly taken shape.
This construction is seen by the university and the city as growing pains. These growing pains will continue until “substantial completion” finishes in September 2017 and “final completion” finishes in November 2017.
Niraj Patel, IUPUI’s senior construction manager for campus facility services, has seen IUPUI change a lot in the 17 years he has been here.
According to Patel the project will create “more of a connection with downtown, it will be safer and it will look better.”
The plan will turn Michigan Street into a two-way like New York Street. New additions will include narrowed traffic lanes, a raised center median, High-Intensity Activate Crosswalk (HAWK) signals, and new eastbound bus lane. The south side of the road will receive the biggest changes, from the road there will be a curb, some green space, a protect two-way bike line, another curb and a wider sidewalk. Blackford Street will also be widened and turned into a two-way street.
According to Patel the construction will occur in three phases. The first phase will focus on the centerline to the south side of Michigan Street. The second phase will be the completion of West Street, which will widen the street and bury the power and telephone lines running down the west side of the street and add another stoplight at Vermont Street. The final phase will be the north side of Michigan Street. The south side of Michigan will have the protected bike lane and sidewalk from Porto Alegre Street to Blackford Street.
Currently construction workers are tearing out ground cover on the south side of Michigan Street, and starting to remove the pavement near Porto Alegre Street. Soon they will be removing the curb and taking out everything to the silt fence.
“This is only the beginning, spring and summer will be much more intense,” Patel said.
IUPUI did make an effort to save as many trees as they could during the initial planning. According to Patel nearly 40 trees have been moved to other streets around campus. The medians will get landscaped similarly to the medians on New York Street.
Patel says that the conversion has been the plan since he first arrived at IUPUI. After the completion of New York Street the push to convert Michigan Street ramped up. This project is again being paid for by the city of Indianapolis, just like New York Street was.
According to an article by Ric Burrous for Inside IUPUI, “the Michigan Street two-way conversion construction will be paid for by the city of Indianapolis' downtown tax increment financing fund, or TIF. The funding will also cover the cost of the bus-only lane that will connect to IndyGo's Red Line plan.”
During the rest of construction Patel wants students to pay attention to what’s going on around them and wants to remind them that even though campus might seem like home it’s still a construction sight.
“Be conscientious, get out of the electronic world and get your eyes up. Around the construction sites you have to keep your head up.”