INDIANAPOLIS — Construction is nearly complete on Indianapolis’ first rapid transit line. We've put together some information to help drivers learn to navigate the new Red Line routes and traffic directions.
Here's what you need to know:
The 13-mile bus rapid transit route between Broad Ripple to the north and the University of Indianapolis to the south is scheduled to begin operations on September 1.
IndyGo’s Red Line will change parking and traffic patterns from 66th Street in Broad Ripple to the University of Indianapolis on the city’s south side.
The new bus lanes, turning lanes and medians are already in place on some of Indianapolis’ busiest roads and they already have some people very confused. (Like the person in the photo below.)
RTV6 captured an image of this motorist parking in a RedLine turn only lane.
In some cases, the lanes alter when and where motorists can turn. In other cases, they reduce the number of travel lanes or remove parking spots to make room for the new bus lanes.
Another thing that might throw off drivers if they aren’t prepared: A bus going the wrong way on a one-way street. IndyGo installed a northbound bus-only lane on Capitol Avenue so they can move drivers north and south along the route in that area.
If you want to give these new buses a try, IndyGo is offering free Red Line rides for the entire month of September. The rest of IndyGo’s buses will also be free for the first two weeks of September.
To help make the transition a little easier, we’ve put together a bit of information about how the IndyGo Red Line bus routes will work, what all the new colorful signs and road paintings mean and what you can (and can’t) do.
Where did all my driving lanes go?
The Red Line system is causing some lane changes on some of the busier streets you might travel. This includes fewer lanes in general and fewer places for motorists to make left turns.
Meridian Street, for example, will go from four lanes down to two — with protected left turn lanes at certain intersections.
Northbound College Avenue is going from two lanes down to one and left turns and U-turns can only be made at marked intersections.
What’s up with all the “red” lanes?
The new Red Line corridor will have two different kinds of bus lanes: bus-only lanes and bus/left turn lanes.
The bus only lanes will be painted solid red and will have the words “BUS ONLY” painted on them.
These solid red lanes are completely off-limits to general traffic and should only be used by the Red Line buses.
The combination lanes are painted with horizontal red and black lines and will have the words “BUS ONLY EXCEPT TURNS” painted on them.
These lanes can be used by motorists wanting to make a left turn or U-turn at certain intersections, but drivers should only merge at the intersection to make the turn.
Signs explaining what kind of lane you’re in or coming up towards will also be placed throughout the routes.
Can I still make U-Turns?
In the Red Line district, U-turns will only be permitted at intersections that have a protected left turn light as part of the normal traffic cycle.
So, if you can turn left, you can make a U-turn as well.
What’s up with those new median-thingies?
Notice the shiny new low-profile medians down the roads where the Red Line runs? The gist of these is, don’t drive on them — under any circumstances.
Why are the new bus stops in the middle of the road?
The new crosswalks allow passengers to catch the bus at the new bus stop locations — some of which are in the middle of the road. IndyGo says all of their crosswalks are at signaled intersections, so they’re safe for pedestrians to cross.
There are also bus-only signals at some of these intersections that allow buses to move ahead of traffic in order to make a turn or get through the intersection.
The bike lanes have changed, what's up with that?
IndyGo's Red Line is not only changing the way drivers are getting their cars through Downtown Indianapolis; it's also changing the way bicyclists get from point A to point B.
The bike lanes on Capitol Avenue going south have been removed and IndyGo has added a new two-way bike lane on the northbound side of Illinois Street.
Sound confusing? It kinda is.
That two-way bike lane is the lane that was formerly used for parking on the side of the street. Which means there's no where to park at the side of the road anymore... anywhere.
It should be obvious and you shouldn't be tempted to do it anyway, because those shiny new poles are meant to keep your car out and to protect bicyclists from car traffic.
But if you do decide to try it, just know you'll definitely get a ticket.
Still confused? Watch the video below - we don't promise it'll help, but it might.
How do we handle emergency vehicles now?
Moving for emergency vehicles isn’t changing, you’ll still move to the right when you hear and/or see one coming.
All buses will stop in their lanes when an emergency vehicle is approaching and those emergency vehicles will utilize bus-only lanes as needed to get around traffic and make their response as quick easy as possible.
If you’ve made it all the way down here and you’re STILL confused, don’t worry.
IndyGo also put together some pretty nifty videos showing how some of the other major intersections along the route will work.
You can check them out below.
Red Line: 54th Street and College Avenue
Red Line: Maryland Street and Meridian Street
Red Line: Capitol Avenue and St. Clair Street
Red Line: 18th Street and Capitol Avenue
Red Line: Washington Street and Capitol Avenue