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We’re converting downtown streets from one-way to two-way. Here’s what you should know.

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April 29, 2021

Hey, Indianola! After the last few years of reviews, discussions and approvals, the conversion of one-way streets to two-way is scheduled to take place in a few weeks. 

On May 17th, traffic on Howard and Buxton Streets will switch from one-way to two-way, creating safer driving conditions and bringing many other benefits to our downtown area.

As part of ongoing effort to keep our community informed, we put together a post with key information about the project. 

Keep scrolling to learn more!

What’s happening?

On Monday, May 17th, the current one-way traffic on Howard and Buxton Streets – as well as on all sides of Downtown Square – will change to two-way traffic. This conversion is part of the ongoing Downtown Square Streetscape project.

How does this benefit the community?

Here are ten reasons why we’re transitioning from one-way to two-way traffic.*

#1: A safer drive.

#2: Easier navigation.

#3: Improved livability.

#4: Better exposure for businesses and easier navigation for visitors.

#5: Safer conditions for bikers and pedestrians.

#6: No more wrong-way drivers.

#7: Less emissions from vehicles.

#8: Less total distance traveled.

#9: Better access for public safety vehicles.

#10: Less signage and pavement markings. (The City will need to maintain 144 fewer signs and 14 fewer pavement markings.)

*Note: The above benefits were derived from research from multiple sources. Data was provided by the Transportation Research Board; the Journal of Planning Education and Research; the Journal of Public Health; the Bloomberg CityLab; and multiple case studies from Fort Collins (CO), Austin (TX), Toledo (OH), Fargo (ND), Cincinnati (OH), Louisville (KY) and Des Moines.  

How will this impact parking?

On-street parking on Buxton and Howard Streets north of the Square will not change. Parking will still be allowed on the west side of Howard Street, with no parking on the east side. Parking will also be allowed on the east side of Buxton Street, with no parking on the west side.

However, with the traffic conversion, the direction your car faces while parked will change. You will need to park your car facing south on Howard Street and north on Buxton Street. 

Also, to accompany a new drive-thru lane for mail drop-off, parking on both sides of Buxton Street between 1st Avenue and Highway 92 will no longer be allowed.  

The parking limitations in the Simpson College neighborhoods that do not allow for on-street parking between 2AM and 5AM – on Buxton Street, between Boston Avenue and Jackson Avenue, as well as on Howard Street, between Boston Avenue and Iowa Avenue – will remain in place.  

How will this affect mail drop-off?

Currently, the Indianola Post Office allows for drive-up mail drop-off on the east side of Buxton Street, between 1st Avenue and Highway 92. Due to the two-way conversion, the City will be constructing a new on-street drive-thru lane on the west side of Buxton Street, next to the Post Office. 

This project (along with a portion of the Streetscape project) is anticipated to be finished this summer. However, there may be a period during which you are unable to drive-up to drop off your mail while construction is occurring. 

Are there new bike lanes?

As part of the conversion, the City will be adding on-street bicycle lanes between the Jerry Kelly Trail, which crosses Buxton Street at Franklin Avenue at the southeast corner of Buxton Park, and Highway 92. 

These on-street shared bike lanes, as identified in the Indianola Trails Plan, will connect the Downtown Square and the Central Iowa trail network.  

Will this impact intersections and traffic lights?

As part of this project, the City applied for, and received, a Traffic Engineering Assistance Program (TEAP) grant from the Iowa Department of Transportation. This enabled the City to study the existing traffic signal at the intersection of Highway 92 and Buxton Street. 

This stoplight, which is operating under outdated components and in need of an upgrade (regardless of a traffic conversion), was studied to determine if it will still be warranted after the traffic conversion. The study revealed the stoplight is still necessary based on traffic volumes, accident history, geometry, sight distance, speed, and road capacity.

Additionally, various intersections along Buxton and Howard Streets were studied to determine whether four-way stops would be necessary. The four intersections on the Square will be converted from three-way stops to four-way stops. Those include:

  • Howard Street and Salem Avenue
  • Howard Street and Ashland Avenue
  • Buxton Street and Salem Avenue
  • Buxton Street and Ashland Avenue

The intersection at Buxton Street and Clinton Avenue will also be converted from a three-way stop to a four-way stop. 

Additionally, three other intersections will be converted from two-way stops to four-way stops. Those include:

  • Howard Street and Clinton Avenue
  • Howard Street and Iowa Avenue
  • Buxton Street and Iowa Avenue

Where can I learn more? 

The City of Indianola’s City Square Master Plan, approved in 2019, outlines a vision to create a better downtown experience for businesses, residents and visitors alike. This plan includes two-way traffic conversions, as well as new parking structures, street furnishings and much more. 

View the Master Plan here.