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Downtown residents concerned about safety amid North Split closure as traffic clogs neighborhoods

Sylva Zhang, her daughters and their friend
Posted at 12:48 AM, May 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-21 05:24:02-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Less than a week into the North Split closure, problems within nearby neighborhoods are already arising.

Residents in Downtown Indianapolis are concerned about their safety while out walking or bicycling around the streets as drivers try to adjust to the changes.

On Thursday, Sylva Zhang tweeted the following video below:

Zhang lives in the historic Ransom Place neighborhood. She said she walks the Cultural Trail at least two times a day with her daughters.

"A lot of where we live and why is because we have the Cultural Trail and being able to bike straight from our house to school or walk to school," Zhang said.

She said she's teaching her twins, Maggie and Eleanor, how to be safe and responsible trail users. Now, those lessons have become more important because since the North Split closure, her daily walks have not felt so safe.

Traffic has increased substantially near parts of the trail. Some interstate traffic is diverting into downtown and drivers are taking whatever ways they can to try and reach their destination. That means ending up in an area that crosses the Cultural Trail, causing a lot of congestion.

"This is so much more than typical rush hour," Zhang commented about the traffic that was moving through the area around 5:30 p.m. Thursday.

She hopes that by bringing awareness to this issue sooner rather than later, will prevent any accidents from happening over the next 18 months.

"They need to let people know it's not a highway," Zhang said. "We need signage that say this is an urban area where you need to expect there to be vulnerable road users."

WRTV shared Zhang's video with the Department of Public Works. In an email they said, "It will take a couple of weeks for new traffic patterns to emerge and set. Therefore it will take a couple weeks before our traffic engineering team can really begin to address high stress areas."