Chesterton Tribune



TIF board to look at traffic flow issues at Gateway Blvd and Ind 49

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Commuters who regularly use Gateway Blvd. at rush hour have almost certainly found themselves cooling their heels in queues extending nearly as far east as Village Point.

That’s not just because traffic is heavy early in the morning or late in the afternoon, as Chesterton Street Commissioner John Schnadenberg told the Redevelopment Commission at its meeting Monday night. And it’s got nothing to do, really, with the timing of the traffic signal at Ind. 49 either, he noted. “INDOT has adjusted the light as best they can.”

Instead, the congestion has almost everything to do with the concrete median islands which separate the westbound lanes of Gateway from the eastbound lanes. From the four westbound lanes of directly at the mouth of Gateway Blvd.--two left-turn lanes, a through lane, and a right-turn lane--those islands almost immediately pinch traffic back into two lanes all the way east to Village Point.

That means there are only a few car-lengths’ room in each of the four lanes at the mouth of westbound Gateway Blvd., and that means that a commuter has a pretty fair chance of having to wait for two or three cycles of the traffic signal before getting onto or across Ind. 49.

But Schnadenberg and Town Engineer Mark O’Dell have a possible solution to the problem: cut out a good-sized slice off the two traffic islands, move the curb over 12 feet, and add a third westbound lane. That would create a much longer stacking lane for motorists wanting to turn left onto southbound Ind. 49 and therefore significantly reduce the wait as well of motorists wanting to go straight or turn right.

The commission liked the idea in principle but Member Jeff Trout thought to tweak it a bit. His concern: drivers who’ve exited Ind. 49 for the purpose of getting gas at the Speedway could well find the pass-through cut between the two islands blocked by westbound traffic.

Why not try this instead, Trout suggested: make a single continuous--and less protruding--concrete median island from the two current islands but end the new island at Blackwell Drive. Speedway’s road cut onto Blackwell Drive could then be the main entrance to the gas station and its road cut onto Gateway Blvd. a right-out only exit. Folks leaving the Bob Evans and Hilton Garden Inn, for their part, would get back onto Ind. 49 by first going east on Gateway to Blackwell, then U-turning west onto Gateway at Blackwell.

In any case, Trout said, the traffic issues on Gateway Blvd. are only going to become more complicated as Coffee Creek Center becomes more densely developed. “It may be time to look at traffic flow. We’ve already got all the Urschel people coming in and going out and that property is only half developed. This might be the time to visit the issue because there’s going to be more activity out there.”

Schnadenberg and O’Dell told members that they’d put their heads together and get back to the commission soon.





Posted 1/25/2017




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