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March 13, 2013

Market and Broadway: The two-way question

Logansport is considering turning East Market Street and East Broadway into two-way streets.

Logansport Mayor Ted Franklin said the idea was first devised years ago and was included in a comprehensive plan authored by the city in 2009.

Franklin said Logan’s Landing, an association representing downtown merchants, is currently working on the initiative. Pam Leeman, a board member of Logan’s Landing, will be giving a presentation on the proposal at the Logansport Board of Public Works and Safety meeting at 9 a.m. today in the City Council Chambers on the third floor of the City Building, 601 E. Broadway.

Franklin said Leeman has reached out to several merchants downtown and that all of the responses she has received so far have been positive.

“Every response from downtown merchants so far has been positive,” Franklin said. “They like the idea and they want to see it happen.”

Efforts to reach Leeman Tuesday were unsuccessful.

Fellow Logan’s Landing board member Kathy Dingo said the organization is still working on getting feedback from more downtown merchants.

“It’s in the very minor stages at this moment,” Dingo said. “Nothing is definite. We’re getting the public’s feelings and downtown business owners’. First they have to be supportive or it’s never going to go.”

Dingo said the organization had a meeting regarding the proposal, which around 30 Logansport business owners attended.

“Everything has been very positive,” Dingo said.

Franklin said after the Hoosier Heartland Highway is finished, the state will relinquish control of several streets going through the city considered to be state highways, which currently consist of parts of Cicott Street, West Market Street, Broadway, Michigan Avenue and Sixth Street.

“We’re going to be forced to take control of streets downtown currently considered state highway,” Franklin said. “Whether we want to or not, streets are going to be overturned to us to develop as we see fit.”

Franklin said the main entrance to the city off of the Hoosier Heartland Highway will be at Burlington Avenue, which will turn either onto Broadway or High Street before tying in over at Sixth Street. The question, Franklin continued, is whether to use High Street or Broadway for the state highway through the city.

Franklin said the state’s plan is currently to convert High Street into the state highway through the city, a street he says isn’t very conducive to truck traffic.

“At the corner of Sixth and High Street, to try and make a right turn onto High Street is going to be next to impossible,” Franklin said. “To navigate a big automobile, whether it be a semi, it would be very hard to turn that corner.”

Franklin said when the state relinquishes the streets through the city it currently designates to be state highways, the city will be given around $3.5 million to make improvements to the streets. He said he would like to use this money to turn Market and Broadway into two-way streets and to make Broadway the state highway going through the city rather than High Street.

“We, as a city, want to know exactly how much it is going to cost and how much bang for the buck we’ll get when the state releases the roads,” Franklin said. “We’re in the negotiation process with the state to determine how much the state will give us for the roads and we better know what we’re talking about when considering the cost of changing roads to two-way streets. We’re trying to look a year down the road as far as costs and what it’s going to take to do this rather than make High Street our highway.”

Dingo said she didn’t expect any costs to come from taxes.

“It’s not going to be a cost to taxpayers,” Dingo said. “We’re hoping we can do this with grant money but we’re not sure yet. A little more has to happen.”

Mitchell Kirk is a staff reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached at 574-732-5130 or mitchell.kirk@pharostribune.com.

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