Jan 8, 2024 - News

Indy's transportation initiatives under threat at Statehouse, again

A 'no turn on red' sign installed on a stop light post.

If Freeman gets his way, these signs installed in August could be coming down. Photo: Arika Herron/Axios

An Indianapolis lawmaker is taking aim at two of the city's biggest transportation initiatives of the last year.

Driving the news: Sen. Aaron Freeman (R-Indianapolis) has introduced bills ahead of the legislative session that starts today that would block the dedicated traffic lane IndyGo has planned for the Blue Line and overturn the city's ordinance that bans turns at red lights downtown.

State of play: Freeman, who lives in southeast Indianapolis and represents parts of Marion and Johnson counties, has been at odds with the city over both issues for some time.

  • Freeman's Senate Bill 52 is similar to unsuccessful legislation he's filed the last several years to block dedicated traffic lanes for IndyGo's bus rapid transit projects. It would prevent the city from dedicating a lane of Washington Street to the Blue Line, expected to open in 2027.

Separately, last year he filed a bill to block a City-County Council proposal to ban drivers from turning during red lights downtown.

  • That bill passed, but the city adopted its ordinance before the law took effect on July 1 and installed the signs in August.
  • The six months since haven't swayed Freeman, who contends that both the ordinance and dedicated bus lane project are part of a widespread Democratic agenda to make traffic so bad it forces people onto public transit they otherwise wouldn't use.
  • He's filed Senate Bill 108 to void the ordinance.

What he's saying: "I'm all for local government until it's stupid," Freeman said. "This is stupid."

  • Freeman said he likes Indianapolis, has worked well with city officials on other issues and called the no-turn ordinance "an unnecessary disagreement."
  • "This isn't narrowly tailored," he said. "It's partisan."

The other side: Councilors who supported the no-turn ordinance said it's an effort to make downtown safer for pedestrians.

  • A spokesperson for the council said members are reviewing the proposal and will track it closely during the legislative session.

Meanwhile, IndyGo has repeatedly fought to keep the lanes because removing them could jeopardize federal funding, effectively killing the project.

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to say the Blue Line will open in 2027, not 2025.

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