Work on LaSalle Avenue Streetscape Project underway
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - You may have already noticed this if your commute takes you through downtown South Bend, but construction has begun on the LaSalle Avenue Streetscape Project.
The plan is to slow traffic and provide a safer route for bikes and pedestrians.
“We want to improve the pedestrian experience first by creating raised intersections that help people cross the street, giving pedestrians the priority,” said Tim Corcoran, director of planning and community resources for the City of South Bend. “We’re expanded sidewalks, we’re adding a two-way cycle track or a bike lane facility on the north side of the street. We’re adding more parking; this includes street trees and lighting as well. So, we really feel like this is going to be a pretty major and exciting addition for the East Bank Neighborhood.”
The project starts on LaSalle Avenue near the river and will continue to Eddy Street, with Hill Street and Niles Avenue also seeing improvements. LaSalle Avenue will see a narrowing down to two lanes and a center turn lane, as well as a protected bike lane, upgraded crosswalks, on-street parking, and improved lighting.
“The development of the East Bank has increased over the last few years,” Corcoran said. “We’ve got more restaurants and bars and more people, and with that raises concerns about pedestrian safety. There have been instances where cars have left the road and hit traffic signals and utility boxes. They’ve even hit a few of the businesses along the street.”
The plan is for vehicles to pass through LaSalle Avenue at 25 mph instead of the existing 30 mph speed limit.
“One of the goals is to slow traffic down, but in reality, it’s just to have vehicles travel at the posted speed limit,” Corcoran said. “Right now, we see a lot of cars traveling far too fast down these streets, and not obeying the posted speed limit. And really, the only way to affect driver behavior is through street design. It’s safety for those in cars, those walking, those riding a bike, and people having fun downtown.”
Westbound traffic will be maintained throughout the project, but eastbound traffic will detour to Colfax Avenue.
Construction will be completed in three phases and is expected to wrap up in early November.
The city’s construction plan is enclosed below:
- Phase 1 (June 12 through mid-August)
- Construction will begin on the south side of LaSalle Avenue from Hill Street to the river. Motorists will only be allowed to travel westbound on LaSalle Avenue from St. Louis to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. boulevards. The Hill and Niles intersections will be open for westbound traffic to turn north.
- Phase 2 (Mid-August through early October)
- Work will move to the north side of LaSalle Avenue from Hill Street to the river. Motorists will only be allowed to travel westbound on LaSalle Avenue from St. Louis Boulevard to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. The Hill and Niles intersections will only be open for westbound traffic to turn south.
- Phase 3 (Early September through early October)
- Work includes the repaving of LaSalle Avenue from the river to Eddy Street and the installation of a protected bike lane from Hill to Eddy Streets.
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