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Indianola in Clintonville to Get Road Diet, Bike Lanes in 2017

Brent Warren Brent Warren Indianola in Clintonville to Get Road Diet, Bike Lanes in 2017Photo by Walker Evans.
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A plan to change the configuration of Indianola Avenue in Clintonville is now moving forward, over 13 years after first being proposed in a neighborhood planning document. The segment of the road between North Broadway and Morse Road – which currently has four lanes, two running in each direction – will be rearranged to accommodate two travel lanes for cars, a middle turn lane, and a bike lane along each side.

Not everyone is happy with the plan – many residents voiced concerns at an open house held on Tuesday, and the Clintonville Discussion Forum on Facebook has featured a spirited back and forth between proponents of the project and those who are worried about increased traffic congestion. Some residents also said they were upset that they are just now finding out about the proposal, long after the decision to move forward has been made.

“This idea has been in planning documents forever, but it takes a long time to get these projects done, so its hard to fault people for feeling like they’ve never heard of it,” said Andrew Overbeck, who as chair of the Clintonville Area Commission’s planning and development committee has worked since 2012 to gather support and secure funding for the idea.

The committee held a public meeting in 2013, arranged for a city-funded engineering study, and presented a final list of prioritized infrastructure projects to the city in early 2015 that included the Indianola road diet and bike lanes. All told, the Area Commission has voted to move forward with the plan on three separate occasions.

“This is a UIRF (Urban Infrastructure Recovery Fund) project, a city fund in existence for about two decades,” said Jeff Ortega, Assistant Director of Public Service, “and the only way projects get on that list is if they exhibit community support.” He cited the commission’s latest approval, in January of 2015, as proof of that support.

Will Koehler, a bike advocate and Clintonville resident, sees the reduction in lanes and the addition of bike facilities as a win-win.

“The new configuration will be significantly safer for everyone – people in cars, biking and walking,” he said, citing a Federal Highway Administration study on similar projects. The study found that travel times for cars did not change drastically, and that streets generally saw about a 40% reduction in car crashes after being reconfigured, as well as a 70% reduction in what it described as “aggressive speeding.”

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“The new configuration will also create a more pleasant street environment and make it easier for people to bike and walk to destinations in the neighborhood,” added Koehler.

Also included on the list of funded infrastructure projects is phase one of Koehler’s Clintonville Neighborhood Greenways project, as well as a series of new medians and crosswalks on High Street and Indianola. New sidewalks for Indianola are also funded, but not scheduled until 2019.

Ortega said that work is scheduled to begin on the road diet and bike lanes in 2017. Minor repairs to the roadway will be made as the new configuration is implemented.

More information on the UIRF program can be found on the city’s website.

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