I-65 detour creates safety concerns on campus

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As a part of the I-65 reconstruction project, the Indianapolis Department of Transportation began demolition on the Keystone Avenue bridge in early September. This has resulted in traffic diverting from the Keystone Avenue exit to neighboring roads, including South Keystone Avenue, Thompson Road, Shelby Street, Madison Avenue and East Hanna Avenue, which runs directly through the University of Indianapolis campus. 

According to an April 2 WRTV article written by Shakkira Harris, Keystone Avenue is slated to reopen completely in late October. Until then, Monday through Friday lane closures will be in place from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., with some construction on various Saturdays.

UIndy Police Chief David Selby said that the traffic will be right around campus, and the diversion is going to send a lot of cars right through campus. 

“The problem that we face with that is we’re going to have a lot of cars coming through [East] Hanna [Ave.] and not necessarily wanting to do 25 [mph],” Selby said. “We’re going to have to have officers out there and police cars making a presence and pulling over speeders.” 

Although traffic is a prevalent issue, according to Selby, the biggest problem that UIndy’s campus faces is the use of cell phones, on the part of both students and drivers. 

“The traffic that we typically have every day, they’re used to students being out there. If you live around a university campus, you’re kind of used to that,” Selby said. “[Drivers] know that people are going to . . . walk out in front of you, in essence. And you’re going to have long delays, and sometimes that’s irritating to people. So that’s where I see the impact coming from for us.” 

The UIndy Police Department has been working with UIndy’s marketing team to send out emails and multimedia communications to try to remind people of the dangers of traffic on campus. With the increase in traffic for the foreseeable future, students need to be aware that cars may not always stop simply because a student enters a crosswalk, according to Selby. The safety of UIndy students is paramount when it comes to getting across the street on campus, Selby said. 

“During the day, students don’t have a lot of time between classes, and they’re going to go right through the crosswalks if they can,” Selby said. “It’s the first two or three students that go across that’s always the worst, because once you have a herd of students walking across between classes, it’s not so bad to have to stop. But people get listening to music or, my big pet peeve is [texting in the car], not paying attention—it doesn’t take very long to hit somebody.” 

With the large commuter population on campus, Selby said the best solution is to leave early and allow for more time to get cars parked and get to classes. 

“It’s all about getting your head up and watching for traffic,” Selby said. “The assumption that a car is going to stop for you because you’re in the street—don’t make that assumption, even if you’re in the right.”

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