Residents, cyclists react positively to reopening of Neely Avenue

Neely Avenue recently opened after months of construction. Terence K. Lightning Jr // DN
Neely Avenue recently opened after months of construction. Terence K. Lightning Jr // DN

Hard hats and potholes no longer occupy Neely Avenue. 

Its reconstruction project, which ended Nov. 17, included the addition of medians with planters, bike lanes and improved sidewalks. Arron Kidder, consultant for the city of Muncie, said because Neely Avenue has reopened, residents and cyclists have responded well to the reconstructed avenue.

“I have gotten nothing but good feedback and responses since it’s been open," Kidder said. "Of course, that has something to do with a construction project that closed a road down for so long."

Cyclists, Kidder said, have especially responded well to the addition of bike lines. He added that traffic flow has been good, and cyclists have said they find the additions to provide extra convenience.

RELATED: Neely Avenue construction to start soon

The reconstruction's main goal was to improve the overall quality of the road, which is why street parking is no longer allowed. While the addition of bike lanes was a factor to consider, Kidder said they aren't responsible for the ban on street parking.

“I wouldn’t say that the bike lines specifically were the reason for the no parking. Given that part of Neely is a main artery, you want to have good traffic flow," Kidder said. "To have good traffic flow, there are standards that you want to meet in terms of road width in general — with or without bike lanes."

Discussions about the construction on Neely Avenue came before Kidder was in office. Because Neely Avenue intersects with Wheeling Avenue and runs downtown, Kiddler said that was likely the reason why the project was completed before other road reconstructions in Muncie.

"[Neely Avenue] is a main artery of the campus to Wheeling to downtown, so you have that," Kidder said. "In addition to just how poor a condition that the road was in."

Now that the project is complete, Kidder said the construction went smoothly in terms of coordination between the campus, the city and construction workers.

“I will say that as far as complete reconstructions and capital improvements go, it went incredibly smooth," Kidder said. "Everybody from the city to the university to the contractors involved worked together, worked together great."

Kiddler said the city does not currently have any public plans for construction on campus, but that could change.

"We do have some things in the works," Kidder said. "I don’t know if I'm at liberty to say what they are at this time as preliminary as they are but I will say that that we are taking Ball State — its infrastructure and the campus itself — into consideration as we do our planning for the next several years."


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