New opposition to IndyGo Red Line after council passes left-turn, parking restrictions

File photo.

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– Changes are coming to Indianapolis’ north-south traffic flow.

Monday night, the City County Council approved two measures restricting parking and left turns on Meridian St. and College Ave. to make room for the proposed Red Line light rail.

While some members of the public recently raised concerns about increased traffic the proposals could relocate to residential roads, there’s a new legal argument mounting in opposition to the entire project.

“It should’ve been caught by the federal officials for sure,”said Kevin B. McCarthy, an attorney representing several businesses along College Avenue. McCarthy is also a former transportation specialist attorney for the U.S. House of Representatives and is launching an opposition against the entire Red Line proposal.

“Anything that’s new like that, that’s not been tested or evaluated–especially for its impact on safety of human beings–that’s a major federal action significantly impact the quality of the human environment,” McCarthy added.

According to McCarthy, who specializes in transportation and environmental law, IndyGo received a categorical exclusion which allowed them to forego any environmental or safety assessments. McCarthy believes that was able to sneak by when federal administrations changed this winter.

“There was a rush to get these projects done, basically,” said McCarthy, “so it’s like they did it without regard, too much regard for the requirements of the law.”

IndyGo, however, says it has met all federal requirements.

“We’ve been working with the Federal Transit Administration all along the way,” said Bryan Luellen, spokesperson for IndyGo. Luellen says the FTA funded the early engineering work for the Red Line and has been involved with safety reviews and engineering reviews since the project started in 2012.

“We don’t feel there are any of those issues” Luellen added.

The City County Council approved two ordinances Monday evening which effectively move the Red Line one step closer to federal funding.

One measure restricts parking on Meridian St. and College Ave. the other limits left hand turn capabilities on both roadways.

On Meridian, the restrictions would start on 19th St. and run to 37th St. going northbound and southbound; while on College Ave. left turns would be prohibited at dozens of intersections between 39th St. and 63rd St., largely keeping turns at intersections with traffic lights.

In all, the measures include 52 new intersections where left hand turns will no longer be allowed when the Red Line is in place.

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