SB Mayor offers details on 2-way street program

A roundabout near South Bend’s Leeper Park now appears to be part of the administration’s proposed 2014 Smart Streets Initiative.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg is still working to finalize details on his plans to convert some one-way streets to two-way traffic but shared the latest progress today with News Center 16.

The mayor has asked the South Bend Common Council for $11 million for Smart Streets in 2014 but he has yet to provide details as to how the money would be spent.

Today Mayor Pete Buttigieg outlined four key elements of the plan, including a return to two-way traffic on six blocks of Lafayette Street and three blocks of William Street, along with the construction of a roundabout near Leeper Park—south of the river and north of Memorial Hospital.

The roundabout would be designed to spread out some of the inbound downtown traffic by diverting vehicles onto Lafayette. “No matter what you do with the streets once you are downtown, there’s a pinch point right, there’s only one bridge that really covers that north-south route and it’s only got those four lanes,” said Mayor Buttigieg. “So when cars come off that bridge we need to distribute them better around downtown, especially if we want cars to move efficiently in a two-way street system.”

The fourth element of the mayor’s plan involves some streetscape work on Jefferson Boulevard that was more to solve some drainage and pavement problems, and less related to the return to two-way traffic in the downtown.

The South Bend Common Council has the final say on the $14 million budget request. Earlier this week, Council Member Valerie Schey requested detailed information from the administration about how the money would be spent.

She cited a similar two-way street project in Louisville, Kentucky that carried a price tag of just $2.2 million.

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