Orange is the new look of New York Street as city reconfigures campus thoroughfare

By Diane Brown, IU Communications Specialist:

Let me say what everyone thinks when they first encounter all those orange-striped barriers blocking two left lanes of New York Street through campus.

What the heck!?

OK, maybe what they are saying isn’t quite that tame, but you get my drift.

What are those barricades? How long will they be in the way? When will we get back to four lanes of New York from White River Parkway to West Street?

Let’s make one thing clear: There is no going back to four eastbound lanes. (Keeping this in mind could help prevent head-on collisions when the final orange New York Street barriers come down next year.)

Construction junction: New York Street and University Boulevard.

Construction junction: New York Street and University Boulevard.

And depending upon your perspective, travel along the street is going to get a little worse before it goes from good to better.

How so?

This announcement was in my email Wednesday: “The New York Street entrance to Lot #63 (Lansing Street and New York) will be closed starting on Monday, July 20, 2015. Parking Services will have signage in place to help make faculty, staff, students and visitors aware of the entrance closing.”

That message followed this one from the day before: “Work is progressing, but only at the pace that weather will allow. In order to help expedite and gain efficiencies in the work, the New York Street entrance to Lot #58 will close early this week.

“The good news is that the Lot #54 will be closed only until about July 27. … You will be able to enter and exit Lot #58 off of Patterson St.”

Now, in case you have been away from campus or the city this summer and have no idea what is going on, check your emails from around June 24:

“The City project to convert New York Street from one-way to two-way traffic is ramping up!!

“Lane restrictions are in place on New York Street.

“We should expect the permanent closure of Beauty Avenue and Patterson Drive at New York Street to take place this week.”

So there you have it: New York Street is on its way to becoming a two-way thoroughfare. (Michigan Street is scheduled for the same transformation, but that’s a blog for another day.)

But don’t fret over IUPUI using budget funds for the reconfiguration.

“The city is paying for all the New York Street improvements,” said Niraj S. Patel, senior construction manager for Campus Facilities Services. The improvements are being financed by the Indianapolis Downtown tax-increment-financing fund.

Patel is coordinating the New York Street project activities as they affect campus operations.

Phase one of the New York Street restructure, now underway, includes the construction of a 8-foot-wide bike trail adjacent to the north side of New York Street, a new entrance to Parking Lot 63, and the complete closure of the New York Street entrances to Beauty Avenue and Patterson Street.

The western portion of New York Street that will be converted to two-way traffic over the next year.

The western portion of New York Street that will be converted to two-way traffic over the next year.

This phase also includes construction of new center medians on the eastern end of the street, and the widening of New York in front of the IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law.

The New York and Michigan street reshaping is part of IUPUI’s Master Plan and offers multiple benefits, according to an Inside IUPUI article by Ric Burrous.

According to the article, which includes a helpful FAQ section, those benefits include:

  • Improvements to vehicle and pedestrian safety
  • Facilitated traffic movement
  • Increased travel options for drivers, transit and cyclists
  • Creation of a sense of place on campus

Despite some delays due to inclement weather, the work on the north side of New York Street is on schedule to be completed by Aug. 10.

After that, the work will move to the south side of the street, before moving into the third phase that includes improvements to the intersections at West Street on the eastern edge of campus and the west side of the bridge at White River Parkway on the west side of campus.

“Once that is complete, (the city) will open the street to two-way traffic,” Patel said.

According to Patel, the city’s contractor said that traffic along the construction zone is moving about as well as could be expected.

In the meantime, what’s the word from Patel?

“Drive safely. As always, be aware,” he said.



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