INDYROADS LOCAL EDITION:

LEBANON INDIANA



Lebanon, Indiana: Introduction

Lebanon Indiana. While there are many towns like Lebanon in the state, Lebanon is unique. unlike many small indiana cities Lebanon is posied for explosive growth and expansion of the local economy, due to its juxtaposition to the greater Indianapolis metro region. However like many towns infrastructure has been deteriorating and is in need of repair and renewal. Several projects in the city are designed to help not only put Lebanon on the map., so to speak, but to also improve the desirability for peoiple to make it their choice in a place to call home. This includes new businesses that are continuing to relocate to Lebanon due to its favorability, close proximity to excellent transportation routes and skilled reliable workforce. With its business park and plenty of developable land within the city limits Lebanon has great potential, but it needs a great transportation system as well. While many great improvements have been made, especially since the new mayor, Matthew Gentry, took office, there is still much more to be done. Repairs such as new pavement; proper curbs, gutters, and sidewalks; widening major arteries and collector streets; reclocating state highways; and even construct new roads.

This map below shows some of the more major improvements needed within the City below. However, there are far more things to consider in designing a transportation system that will be effective to meet the cities needs over the next half-century. These include: Master planned communities, the institution of developer fees and making the developers responsible to improve the roadway networks before a new subdivision is approved, Public transportation, and removing some of the additional traffic from residential collectors and existing streets to the circular road (aka. Lasley Parkway).

The New Circular Road: Lasley Parkway

A most notable improvement to the Lebanon area could be a circular parkway, which could be known as the Lasley Parkway in honor of the beloved former mayor. The Lasley Parkway would be a circular road that completely navigates around the city of Lebanon. Once constructed, it would allow for traffic that normally travels through the city on substandard roads, to be able to bypass the city to the north, south, east, or west. This will allow the removal of traffic from roads that are less able to handle the traffic demand, or cannot be widened or improved. Also with the removal of traffic from the city\'s main streets (Lebanon and South Streets). In addition, it allows for the downtown grid to be made more of a pedestrian friendly zone as depicted and planned in the gateway project that\'s been proposed by the city. Because of Lasley Parkway, Lebanon st would be able to be downgraded from a major arterial, and state highway, to a minor arterial instead.

Another Major benefit of the Lasley Parkway is that it allows for the development of commercial, retail, industrial, and residential developments to be built in the vicinity of the parkway. This allows the parkway to shuttle the traffic safely to the freeway, as well as new shopping centers. The ultimate vision for this parkway would include a "power center" which could include big box retailers like Kohl's or Target and Home improvement stores like HomeGoods, Restaurants like Chick-Fil-A, Culvers, Olive Garden, Chili's, and the like; Major residential developments including medium and high density residential; and an expanded Lebanon Business park to entice more technology and manufacturing companies to relocate to Lebanon. State road 32 could also potentially be located along the southern leg of Lasley Parkway, bypassing downtown Lebanon. The orphaned section of exising SR-32 between I-65 and Lasley parkway to the west could be redesignated as SR-932 since it would serve as a connector. The downtown and east segment of SR-32 would be relinquished completely. Thus another way to remove truck traffic from downtown streets. The entire parkway could also become a state road if necessary, this would also allow for potential state and federal funding for the project.

Design features of the parkway should include:

  • Access control, limiting the number of entry and exitpoints from the roadway.
  • A landscaped center median, for traffic safety and visual appeal (two way left turn lanes will not work for this roadway).
  • 4 travel lanes with enough right of way to expand to 6 travel lanes.
  • Left and right turn pockets at intersections.
  • Interconnected (Smart) Traffic Signals at all major intersections
  • RIRO (right in right out) access at access points between intersections.
  • Bike/Pedestrian pathways located along either side of the parkway.
  • Intelligent transportation system to allow traffic signals to be synchronized to maximize traffic flow.
  • A design speed of 50 to 60 miles per hour.

State Road 32 Bypass and Southern Business Park Access. Another notable change to the Lebanon area is that State Road 32 would no longer be routed through downtown Lebanon The downtown and east segment of SR-32 would be relinquished completely. Thus another way to remove truck traffic from downtown streets. The entire parkway could also become a state road if necessary, this would also allow for potential state and federal funding for the project.

State Road 39 Bypass and Relinquishment

Another notable change to the Lebanon area is that State Road 39 would no longer be routed through downtown Lebanon along Lebanon Street. Instead the highway would bypass the city along the interstate and then be routed along a short leg of the Lasley Parkway north of Lebanon. From there State Road 39 would continue along its regular alignment northward to SR-47 and Frankfort, IN. The Major benefit is that Truck traffic is removed from downtown streets and the city can focus its attention on revitalizing the downtown core district and make it more pedestrian friendly as well as a destination for people to go for evening activities.

Lafayette Parkway

Exit 141 serves as the access point for the Lafayette parkway (US-52) and allows northbound access from I-65 and southbound access to I-65. The idea is to eventually close the on ramp from Lafayette Avenue and route the road north along Windhaven road and extending it to the new interchange at Lasley Parkway (Future Exit 142 near CR 300N) The Major benefit is that the weaving traffic situation is removed from the Lafayette Parkway offramp. In addition traffic entering I-65 from Lafayette Parkway should be prevented from crossing over 3 lanes and using the left exit at Lafayette Avenue which was left open following the recent I-65 widening. Traffic could instead be routed along Lasley Parkway to Windhaven Lane or Witt Road back to Lafayette Ave. This way the dangerous lane changing scenario along I-65 can be avoided.

Exit 138 Redesign

With the Lasley Parkway crossing over just south of the Indianapolis Ave offramp from I-65 this interchange will need to be modified to add additional ramps and wayfinding to the interstate. The city and state should explore alternatives that would serve both the Indianapolis Ave gateway and the Lasley Parkway crossing. This would be especially important if SR-32 was to be routed along the southern leg of the parkway.

Principal Arteries and Collector roads

Several principal roads and streets will need to see key improvements in the coming years, including Widening and Improving. This includes the addition of bike lanes and sidewalks in urban areas, and paved shoulders that will act as bike lanes in more rural areas. It also includes appropriate traffic control devices and center turn lanes as needed.

The Principal roads are:

  • North Lebanon Street. including widening to 4 lanes north of Anderson Lane (CR 250N).
  • South Lebanon Street. Add traffic signal and left turn lanes at Noble Street widen to 4 lanes south of I-65 to city limits. Add signal to Enterprise Blvd intersection.
  • West South Street. Add traffic signal at Ping Drive and realign intersection to Ransdell Road, Add signal at Enterprise Blvd and widen to 4 lanes to approx. 1 mile west of Lasley Parkway.
  • Enterprise Blvd. widen to 4 lanes. prohibit parking along the roadway. add center median, sidewalks or pathways and landscaping.
  • Indianapolis Ave. wider shoulders and bike lanes added. prohibit parking along the roadway. See gateway project for more info.
  • Witt Road, wider shoulders and bike lanes added. Replace and or add sidewalks. Extend north to Lasley Parkway.
  • CR 250N from Witt road to Lebanon street, widen to add bike lanes, shoulders and sidewalks.
  • Lafayette Ave. Widen to add bike lanes and replace sidewalks. add stop signs at Riley Road intersection.
  • CR 150W, connect to Windhaven Lane and add bike lanes and shoulders.
  • Garfield/Patterson Street corridor. Add sidewalks and bike lanes. Realign intersection with Chicago St/Lafayette Ave.
  • Camp Street/Ulen Dr. Widen to add bike lanes and shoulders. Reconstruct intersections at Meridian, East Streets and the entrances to memorial park to get rid of the dangerous diagonal intersections, and improve park safety. The entrance to memorial park should be relocated somewhere between the two current entrances. Remove on street parking.
  • Elizaville Road, widen road to add shoulders, sidewalks and bike lanes, remove on street parking.
  • Elm Swamp Road, widen road to add shoulders, and bike lanes, remove on street parking.
  • East Noble Street widen road to add sidewalks, and bike lanes, remove on street parking.

One Way Couplets SR-32 Downtown.

One Way Couplet along SR-32 Construct a one way couplet with eastbound traffic along South street and westbound traffic on main street from Lafayette Ave to Indianapolis Ave. a new connector street would be built to allow westbound traffic on Main street to return to South street. If the option to bypass SR-32 along the Lasley parkway is chosen this project would not be needed.

The Lebanon Gateway and Corridor project.

The purpose of the project is to create a gateway at I-65 at the SR-39 interchange as well as the Indianapolis road offramp. To completely redesign the core downtown district, adding pedestrian friendly elements, parking and other beautification features to the downtown area. Other elements of this project includes reconstructing Indianapolis Ave to make it a gateway corridor to downtown Lebanon, as well as improvements along SR-39 from downtown to north side of town. More complete information about this project can be found at the City of Lebanon Website by clicking here.

Exactly what the Gateway and Corridor project currently entails is not certain at this time. these plans are as of 2008. A lot has changed since then. the new I-65/Lebanon street bridge has been built but without the fancy multimillion dollar roundabouts and fantasy kinetic windmill structures. However there are mysterious bolts protruding up from either side of the overpass indicating that some sort of beautification treatment is intended to be placed there. At this time no further updates have been made to the City of Lebanon's website regarding the project or what sort of timeline we are looking at for these improvements to be made. Clearly these improvements are going to cost a great deal of money, but in order to bring Lebanon forward into the 21st century, these improvements are needed.

Roundabouts

Construct roundabouts at key intersections within the city. Roundabouts can be a good solution for traffic movement when placed effectively and traffic volume is light to medium:

  • Witt Rd and CR 250N
  • Witt Rd and Lafayette Ave
  • Indianapolis Ave and Spencer Ave, City's plan
  • Indianapolis Ave and Hall Baker Rd. (CR 100E), City's plan.
Some of the planned roundabouts are a good idea. one concern is the intersection at Spencer Ave. due to the angle of the street it may be better to make this a signalized intersection instead, and prohibit left turns to southbound Indianapolis Ave from Spencer Ave. The roundabout at Hall Baker is more logical since the roads approach each other at a much less sharp angle.

Repaving and replacing existing roads and city sidewalks is long overdue within the city. This is especially true for Lebanon's aging streets in the central neighborhoods. Aging sidewalks and curbs have dissintegrated, overgrown by grass and weeds and have become severly cracked making it unsafe for pedestrians to use them and they end up walking in the streets instead. Additionally due to very narrow street widths parking along streets has become a problem, and creates additional safety concerns for children pedestrians and passing vehicles.

To address this some streets will need to be widened to allow additional room for parallel parking. While other streets will need to be converted to one way since they are two narrow to allow two cars to pass each other when cars are parked. Some streets may be able to have parking, just limited to one side of the street. There will also be some streets that will need to have parking prohibited since there is no additional room for parking or they are too busy or too much of a safety hazard to allow street-side parking. There should always be enough space to allow two vehicles to pass each other safely when cars are parked along streets. Painted lines are fading frequently along roads. and many do not last the winter season. Better quality paint must be used that will better bond to the pavements and resist friction wear better than current paints. All collector roads and arterials should be required to have a painted yellow center line and white fog lines on either side. In addition the proper MUTCD arrows and delineators should be used. Stop lines crosswalks and other pavement markings should also meet MUTCD standards.

Maintaining road inventory is critical to ensure a lower cost over the long haul. Roads that become too out of repair may need to be replaced entirely which will be far more expensive than chip sealing or weed abatement in the cracks and sidewalks. It is uncertain if budgetary issues are to blame for the lack of proper maintenance of roads, but this is clearly not an issue that is common to Lebanon alone. Many cities face these same issues. There are numerous neglected streets even in Indianapolis. Clearly something needs to be done to addressaging infrastructure.

Bike Lanes and Nature Trails

Bike safety and pedestrian nature pathways are also a great way to provide recreation and enhance safety within the commmunity. There are several places where bike lanes and nature pathways are being considered or should be planned. They are:

  • Installing bike lanes along major streets such as:
    • Lebanon Street
    • South Street
    • Sam Ralston Rd
    • Witt Rd
    • Lafayette Ave
    • Indianapolis Ave
    • Patterson Street
    • Noble Street
    • East Street
    • Camp Street
    • Ulen Drive
    • Elm Swamp Rd
    • Anderson Lane
    • Elizaville Road
    • John Shaw Rd
    • Grant Street
    • Washington Street
    • etc.
  • Rail Trails along the old railroad right of way to Zionsville and Thorntown
  • Pedestrian pathways connecting Abner Longley park to downtown.
  • Pedestrian pathways connecting to Memorial park.
  • Pedestrian pathways connecting to Lebanon High School and Lebanon Middle School.