The City of Carmel is spending $203,000 to install raised pedestrian crosswalks surrounding a roundabout built four years ago.
The project at Range Line Road and Carmel Drive has the intersection fully shut down through at least May 22 with partial closures planned for several weeks after that. It is part of a project updating the streetscape along Range Line Road.
Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard said similar pedestrian crossings installed elsewhere on Range Line Road indicated they would be a good fit at this intersection. Raised crosswalks are expected to be included with any future roundabouts on Range Line Road. The city does not have plans to retrofit any other roundabouts with them at this time.
“We’ve built more roundabouts than anyone in the country, and we don’t have a lot of other cities to look to when we learn from things we do or could’ve done better,” Brainard said. “As we started to put raised crosswalks in other places on Range Line Road, we realized it was so much easier for the pedestrians to cross.”
Carmel spokesperson Dan McFeely said it’s unclear how much it would have cost to install the pedestrian crossings when the intersection was converted to a roundabout in 2016. He said raised crosswalks were not included when bidding out the project and that construction costs have changed since then.
“We have seen an increase in construction costs since the original crosswalks along Range Line Road were installed,” McFeely said. “This is due to the quantity of construction work that is available to contractors due to an increase in both state and other municipal construction funding and the amount of private development work that is readily available at this time.”
The intersection is near redevelopment projects expected to soon bring more pedestrian traffic to the area. The Proscenium mixed-use development, set to open later this year, is at the intersection’s northwest corner, and The Corner mixed-use development is planned on the southwest corner of Range Line Road and 116th Street. The Range Line Road and 116th Street signalized intersection is scheduled to be converted to a roundabout in 2021.
Brainard said crosswalks at stoplights can give pedestrians a false sense of safety and that the city is constantly gathering data to make the city safer for pedestrians at intersections.
“Especially in double-lane roundabouts, it’s sometimes difficult to get traffic to slow to 15 to 18 miles per hour that it should slow to,” Brainard said. “Raised crosswalks help do that. Safety in roundabouts is all about speed. That’s why we’ve virtually eliminated fatalities at our intersections.”
Brainard said the COVID-19 pandemic is a good time to do the crosswalk project because fewer cars are on the roads.