Indianola Square converted to two-way streets on May 17
The change arrives in downtown Indianola plaza starting Monday, May 17, when traffic moves from one direction to the other for the city streetscape project.
Streets being converted include Howard Street and Buxton Street, from West Kentucky Avenue on the north side of town to Highway 92 just south of the plaza. The change also includes all four sides of the square, including West Salem and West Ashland avenues.
At the May 3 city council meeting, council members approved the ordinance amending the city code to formalize the change. City staff also described the steps being taken to alert drivers of the change and how the 380 road signs and 28 pavement markings will be changed to reflect the crossing on two-way streets.
The 10 million dollars streetscape project will update aging infrastructure, including fiber, storm water and sewage networks, and ultimately change the face of the plaza with the addition aesthetic changes and greenery. The project is expected to be completed by fall 2022.
Temporary signs have been placed around the square, including LED signs, from Monday May 10; warning signs, from Tuesday May 4; and “no parking” signs outside the square, from Sunday May 16. The city will also use social media and letters to homeowners by mail to notify them of the change.
Permanent signs, including one-way stops and new “no parking” signs, will also be installed, but a bag will be placed on them until Monday, May 17. The old signs, including one-way, turn the arrows and don’t. enter the signs, will be removed on May 17.
New stop bars, street markings and shared lanes will be installed between next week.
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City Council Member Bob Kling said he saw “six near-collisions” a few weeks ago near Iowa and Buxton avenues, as well as three people mistaking Buxton Avenue.
“My neighborhood is looking forward to this,” he said.
Indianola Economic Development Director Charlie Dissell said in March the conversion would cause some confusion and an adjustment period would be necessary for local drivers. But, he said, the conversion would ultimately create safer driving conditions and bring other benefits to our downtown area.
Dissell said the city’s current parking restrictions will not change after the conversion.
Some citizens expressed their dissatisfaction with the streetscape project on April 19, including the change from one-way to two-way to a public forum on the $ 10 million offer of the Absolute Concrete streetscape project, which came in millions of dollars above the city’s initial estimates.
Michelle Fetters Steen, former Indianola mayoral candidate, suggested the city consider suspending the right-of-way conversion so the city can save money on the bid.
Stephanie Erickson, another former mayoral candidate, said she was also concerned about the one-way-to-two-way conversion and its effects on Simpson College and pedestrian and student safety.
Many other speakers, including business leaders, expressed their support for the project.
Indianola Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Brenda Easter read a letter of support for the chamber’s project that had been co-signed by several businesses in the city, including Peoples Bank, Brickhouse Tavern and Sports Page Grill, Simpson College and Pageturners Bookstore.
Easter said the chamber supported the project because of the need to repair the city’s aging infrastructure under the plaza, which she said hampered businesses and endangered the safety of people.
Indianola City Council finally unanimously approved the nomination on April 19.
At its May 3 meeting, city council also:
- Inflicted civil penalties on Murphy USA on 1502 North Jefferson Highway and Indy West 929 2001 West Second Ave. for violating the Iowa code for the sale of tobacco products to persons under the age of 21.
- Discussed the bringing of electric bikes and electric scooters to the city, including how to adjust and modernize the city code to regulate and license vehicles.
- Approved the request for grant funds for the city’s planned trail connections to North Jefferson Way and South Jefferson Way as part of the COVID-19 Relief Recreational Trails Program grant application to the Iowa Department of Transportation .
- Discussed possible changes to city employee insurance plans.