Noblesville has been awarded $200,000 in federal funding through the Safe Streets and Roads for All grant program that will be used to develop a plan to address roadway safety.
The city’s plan was among 510 projects selected through the program that is intended to improve roads and address traffic fatalities. The grant program, which awarded $800 million in the first round of funding, was established by President Joe Biden’s infrastructure law.
The grant program will provide $5 billion over five years for regional, local and tribal initiatives — from redesigned roads to better sidewalks and crosswalks — to prevent deaths and serious injuries on the nation’s roadways, federal officials said.
The city, which received what is known as an action plan grant, intends to collect crash data within all streets and roads within Noblesville with a portion of the funding it received and make improvements as needed, said Andrew Rodewald, project manager with the city’s engineering department.
“Because we share boundaries with other communities and have many roads going through the city with the Indiana Dept. of Transportation and Hamilton County jurisdiction, there will likely be some overlap to make sure we are painting a complete picture,” Rodewald said. “We hope to use these funds to look closer at pedestrian and bicycle injuries as well, particularly in the downtown area.”
U.S. Dept. of Transportation officials say the funding comes at a time when traffic fatalities reached a 16-year high in 2021 with preliminary data indicating that will remain near those levels in 2022 while getting worse for people walking, biking or rolling, as well as incidents involving trucks.
The city currently monitors crash history through data gathered by its police department and the Indiana Local Transportation Assistance Program that Rodewald said has been helpful in determining hotspots.
“However, that crash data can’t find locations that are potential problem areas,” Rodewald said. “This grant will allow us to dive deeper and find those as well.”
Rodewald said once data is collected, it will be analyzed to determine problem areas and give long-term plans for remedies such as replacing signs or implementing a curve correction or a new roundabout.
“The goal is that the city will be able to be proactive in planning for making the transportation network safer for all users,” he said.
Rodewald said a timeline, means and methods in which data will be collected hasn’t been determined. However, that will likely require a combination of analysis of crash reports from several years, in-person site visits, interviews with local agencies and a review of roadway geometry, he added.
Rodewald said there are few locations in Noblesville with roadway deaths and a history of injuries.
“Most of the locations are, not surprisingly, narrow, high-volume roadways such as Boden Road and Olio Road,” he said. “Noblesville has locally funded roundabouts at 146th Street and Olio Road, as well as 156th Street and Boden Road.”
He added that 166th Street and Boden Road recently received safety funding for a roundabout to be built in 2026. Still, he noted that more work lies ahead with safety in mind.
“The overall goal of developing this safety plan is a holistic look at all elements of roadway safety: road geometry, lighting, pedestrian crossings, signage, road surface and public safety responses,” Rodewald said. “When complete, we plan to have involved all elements and stakeholders involved in this system.”
About the Safe Streets and Roads for All grant program
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law established the new Safe Streets and Roads for All discretionary program with $5 billion in appropriated funds over the next 5 years. The Safe Streets and Roads for All program funds regional, local, and Tribal initiatives through grants to prevent roadway deaths and serious injuries. On Feb. 1 U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced $800 million in grant awards for 510 projects through the first round of funding for the Safe Streets and Roads for All grant program. A notice of funding opportunity is expected to open in April for a second round of grant funding.
Source: U.S. Dept. of Transportation website