If you drive through downtown South Bend today, you may notice that Lafayette Boulevard is closed temporarily between Monroe and Western Avenue with limited one-way traffic access just north of there. Sidewalks along the route are being torn up and parking is restricted.
South Bend Voice reached out to the city to see what is going on. Lafayette is not scheduled to convert to two-way traffic until October. The travel restrictions seemed a bit odd.
The city says that they have indeed begun preparations for turning Lafayette into two-way traffic. The project calls for beautification work along the sidewalks, bike lanes on the street, and a return of two-way traffic to one of downtown’s main thoroughfares.
The timeline for completion is late October. Earlier this month, the city converted William Street from one-way to two-way. That project got underway as previously scheduled.
The city’s long-term goal is to turn the two main downtown arteries — Main Street and Michigan/St. Joseph Street — into two-way roads, although these plans are simply in a concept phase at this time. The state of Indiana currently maintains those roads as part of the state highway 933. The Indiana Department of Transportation would have to relinquish control of those streets in order for them to become two-way once again.
The changes are part of the city’s “Smart Streets” initiative. According to the mayor’s office, “Smart Streets is an effort to improve how South Bend’s streets contribute to safe, efficient transportation and the overall quality of life. Smart Streets projects utilize the complete streets philosophy, providing equal access to pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and transit riders.”
Meanwhile, if you are driving down Miami Street between Ewing and Donmoyer on the south side of South Bend, you may want to find a different route. While the street remains open during construction, the road is rough and exposed manholes are elevated several feet above the road. The city did not have a timeline for when the work along Miami will be completed.