Students and Faculty Chafe as Construction Continues

As students and faculty enter Michigan Street on the IUPUI campus. They will notice the street is full of orange barrels, dump trucks, and fencing lines.

Picture provided by Inside IU

Picture provided by Inside IU

These signs of construction are going to be common sight for the next eight months on campus. The plan to turn Michigan Street into a two-way similar to New York Street is well underway. As the project continues with phase one, students and faculty are feeling the burdens of the convergence.

Junior Kasen Welling has felt the impact of the construction on her commute from Greenwood. She said the she tries to avoid West Street but cannot always avoid Michigan.

“It’s always problematic, [the construction] could be causing more problems, but I’m not seeing a benefit yet,” Welling said

Others took to Twitter to express their dissatisfaction. Alex Ross wrote that it “makes it worse my dude, it's construction not fun-struction.”

Part of the problem with the construction is the concern of safety of drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists along Michigan. The construction project hopes to address the problem of jaywalking with new HAWK (High-Intensity Activated crosswalk) signs between intersections. However, as the constructions continues, more people cross Michigan outside of the intersections adding to the existing jaywalking problem. Commuter and sophomore Payton Neisler is having trouble seeing pedestrians behind the reflective cones and walls.

“When you’re driving you can’t see people,” Neisler said.

Some avoid taking the risk of going on or along Michigan Street. History professor Rebecca Shrum either walks or rides her bike to campus.

“It’s definitely impacting me as a walker because then  I am on New York and Michigan and it’s just a pain,” Shrum said.

When riding her bike, Shrum takes the cultural trail to avoid the traffic and the construction. She looks forward to having a protected bike lane on Michigan Street, saying she was glad the lane would add protection for cyclists.

“That would feel a lot safer to me, I’m thrilled by that.”

While there are still growing pains, many are happy to see progress.

“I love it, I can’t wait it to be finished,” student Steven Gaw said. “I thought New York was horrible, now it’s pretty great.”

Next to the protected bike lane, the project looks to add a sidewalk besides it as well a wider Michigan Street with a median in the middle. Currently the project is in the first phase, which will work on the south side of Michigan. Then the second phase will feature work on West Street. The third and final phase will then work on the north side of Michigan.

Niraj Patel, the senior construction manager for Campus Facility Services sends out periodic updates on the project.

“Crews are currently working on the south side of Michigan Street, between West and Vermont Street,” Patel wrote in a statement.

In addition, crews are working south towards Military Park. While crews are working to put back sidewalk between University Boulevard and Port Allegro, sidewalk is being demolished between University Boulevard and the ET building. Blackford Street will experience closures next week.

Picture provided by Inside IU

Picture provided by Inside IU

With all the rapid construction, Patel wants pedestrians to be on high alert.

“Congestion continues at all major intersections and along the entire Campus Corridor … Please encourage all pedestrians to look for designated crosswalks and pathways; alternate routes may change on relatively short notice,” Patel wrote.

With this project, IUPUI hopes to improve the flow of traffic throughout campus.

“The goal of this two-way conversion project is to improve safety and community access for commuters, transit riders, pedestrians and cyclists,” Ric Burrous, of Inside IU, wrote in his piece explaining the project in Oct. 2016.

As November looms in the distance, students and faculty cannot wait for the project to be finished.