INDIANAPOLIS — Irvington is one of Indianapolis' most unique and independent neighborhoods, but some residents worry that a new bus rapid transit line will change the feel of the community.
IndyGo discussed the future Blue Line rapid transit expansion before a group of concerned Irvington neighbors Tuesday night.
"We've struggled for so many years to get Irvington to where it is and we want to maintain that," said Lisa Bennett, an Irvington resident and business owner who arranged the community meeting with IndyGo.
The Blue Line will connect the Indianapolis International Airport and Cumberland using Washington Street, which runs through the heart of Irvington. It would reduce vehicle traffic from two lanes in each direction to one, which Bennett sees as a big problem.
"They're coming through, tearing up our streets, making no left turns, and tearing up our streetscape," Bennett said. "I think when people understand what our concerns are, maybe those opinions will shift a little bit."
IndyGo representatives heard those concerns and assured the crowd the Blue Line would be a benefit to the community.
Chief Public Affairs Officer Lesley Gordon said the reduction in traffic would help Irvington because it would stop drivers from speeding through the neighborhood.
"I'm very excited to see some people slow down," Gordon said. "When you're in those thoroughfares, it can be scary, and witnessing those accidents in person is not fun."
Gordon also told the community that IndyGo would try to work its construction schedule around Irvington's largest annual event, the Halloween Festival.
"We can maintain the festival and still maintain doing this project," Gordon said. "We can work with the construction timeline."
IndyGo plans to start construction in 2025 and open the Blue Line in 2027.
Bennett hopes the transit agency takes Irvington's concerns seriously before the shovels are in the ground.
"Once that line is in there, there's no turning back," Bennett said.