Streetscape project revamping city's West side

NOW: Streetscape project revamping city’s West side

SOUTH BEND, Ind.--The Lincoln Way West and Olive Streetscape Project kicked off today to bring some life back to South Bend’s West side of town.

“The city is making some important improvements to this very vital transportation corridor so that Lincoln Way West coming from downtown and headed out to the airport is a really critical transportation link,” South Bend Chamber of Commerce President Jeff Rea said. “The look and feel of the intersection I guess, is what I understand is being improved” 

And improving the look and feel to the area on Lincoln Way between Elmer and Fremont streets is exactly the city’s goal. The new improvements will include new street and traffic lighting, sidewalks and curbs, storm sewers, pavement, and landscaping.

“Over time it hasn’t given the best first impression and we’ve heard many stories of years of people taking an alternative route to downtown to try and not give off the wrong impression of the city. So, this investment I think in particular helps change that perception and I think the more cities generally that can invest in corridors the better,” Rea said.

The 1.7-million-dollar project is split up into two phases lasting up to 45 days each. This means Lincoln Way will have some lane closures through October, but the city says there won’t be any impact to businesses along this stretch. South Bend Chamber of Commerce President Jeff Rea said the project will be worth the wait.

“It’s really expensive to do all of these at one time and you have to spread them out over time, this is a pretty significant investment they’re making in this neighborhood but our hope is that it helps stabilize that neighborhood some and helps make it a more attractive location,” Rea said.

Rea said not only does he hope the renovation gives the area a much-needed face lift, but also inspires other areas of town and businesses to try and do the same.

“Generally, if people don’t feel safe in a corridor and it’s not attractive, people are less likely to go there and that has kind of a domino effect,” Rea said. “So hopefully it inspires them to make some improvement too. You know what happens is that when a city doesn’t make an improvement, sometimes the business owners and property owners there don’t either and vis versa. So hopefully this causes the businesses to make some investment too.

Construction is expected to wrap up in October.

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