GOSHEN — Community members in Goshen offered their views on a proposed plan to redesign and rebuild Pike Street, also known as U.S. 33, between Elkhart River Bridge and Third Street.
The Indiana Department of Transportation met with residents Wednesday evening, Aug. 20, at Goshen High School’s auditorium to present the proposed project.
Under the proposed design, Pike street would remain at four lanes — two lanes for vehicles traveling east and two for those traveling west — but it would also have a 12-foot painted median, which could help cars make left turns onto the roads crossing Pike Street between the Elkhart River Bridge and Third Street.
Other features include a 6-foot-wide sidewalk on each side of the road and ramps to meet the Americans with Disabilities Act. The speed limit on that section would change from 30 to 35 mph.
Indiana State Police Crash database records indicate a high number of crashes in that area because without turn lanes, for example, drivers often stop traffic along the middle lanes, according to the presentation.
Studies also show that traffic will continue to increase in that area.
To complete this project, INDOT would acquire 11 residential properties, as well as part of a commercial property.
Rickie Clark, from the INDOT office of public involvement, reiterated during the meeting that the plan could change depending on the feedback they receive from the public.
INDOT must also complete an environmental assessment before acquiring any properties for construction.
Clark said construction could start in 2016.
After the presentation, community members had mixed reactions to the plan.
Resident Andrea Milne said she was concerned about bicycle and pedestrian safety in that area.
"Even though this is a highway, it does go through a residential area, a commercial area and right past the post office,” she said. “I’m a little concerned that it seems we’re still assuming that ... only cars and trucks are going to move through. A lot of people do walk through there and bicycle along there and I don’t see much of anything that meets those needs.”
Other residents said they were glad to see reconstruction plan for that area because of traffic control and safety.
Rick Kauffman, who spoke on behalf of the Goshen Fire Department, said the reconstruction plan would help alleviate traffic near the central station, which is on the corner of Pike and Third streets.
Residents interested in submitting a comment about the plan to INDOT may do so by mailing Hearings Manager at 100 N. Senate Ave., Room N642 Indianapolis, IN 46204-22116; by phone at 317-232-6601; or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
INDOT is asking comments be submitted by Sept. 5 so they can be included in the official hearings transcript.
Follow Elkhart Truth reporter Sharon Hernandez on Twitter at @Sharon_HT