The Indianapolis DPW contracted this job out during 2011. I am not 100% sure of the overall scope involved since I have seen reconstruction of 46th from College Ave all the way to Emerson and even beyond that. For the purposes of this post, I am going to focus on the section that is bounded by College Ave on the west and Keystone Ave on the east; the portion that I have personally witnessed a change worth reporting on.
Previously, I critiqued the effort that transformed 52nd street. That project was a debacle that I hope our criticism may have helped influence. Indeed, comparing the 46th street rebuild to the 52nd one, it would appear that the right design goals were set.
The major improvements along this stretch include:
The 2nd tick-point is the one I want to celebrate the most. You can see in the “before” picture that 46th street in this area used to be comprised of 2 auto-lanes in each direction. This project saw the reconfiguration of that to 1 auto travel lane in each direction, a center turn lane and a bike lane added on the shoulder of each side of the street.
Additionally, most sidewalks that were reconstructed did not involve the need to move utility poles. However, the stretch along Arsenal Park where a new sidewalk was added, was stepped back from the street so that a grass setback now exists where some utility poles are located. This accomplished two things; first the added safety from pedestrians being located away from auto travel lanes and second, conflicts between the sidewalk and utility poles were avoided.
On the east side of the Monon Trail, parking was retained along the north side of the street with the westbound bike lane being located adjacent to the parked cars. it is conceivable that cyclists could be “doored” here, so I would caution that anyone travelling there be extra vigilant. However, the elimination of the center turn lane represents more of the road-diet lifestyle that this project took on.
The portions east of Keystone Avenue are not yet completed. I know that the street was resurfaced and some concrete median work was done. I have also seen bike lanes on 46th Street east of Emerson Avenue, although I have not driven along there. It is my hope that the bike lanes that end at Keystone will travel across Allisonville Road, Binford Blvd and Emerson Ave to create a seemless path from College Ave east that interfaces with the Monon Trail as well as the Allisonville Road bike lanes.
Overall, I am majorly pleased with this project. It represents the promotion of cyclists and recognizes the need for fewer auto travel lanes and the design reflects it. No utility poles conflicted with sidewalks, and new sidewalks were setback away from the street for the safety of pedestrians. I cannot find anything to complain about with this project. It is the benchmark for how all 4-lane 2-way city streets should be handled moving forward. Good job Indy DPW!