The Tribune posted a brief announcement yesterday that road work was set to begin Monday to connect Twyckenham Drive with its relatively new northern extension (north of South Bend Ave., along the Notre Dame campus).
I’ve been particularly interested in this intersection since moving to South Bend in 2003. Back then, Twyckenham had the only striped bicycle lanes in the entire city. Yet, they didn’t really go anywhere! The lanes started at Mckinley and stopped at South Bend Ave — just short of the most obvious destination: Notre Dame. For a northbound cyclist to reach Notre Dame, she would have to leave the bicycle lane and negotiate one of the most dangerous intersections in the entire city (see map and picture below).
I was impressed with Notre Dame’s efforts to accommodate pedestrians and cyclists when they completely re-engineered Ivy a couple of years ago. Although I generally favor cycling with traffic, I’ve found that I like the separated bike / pedestrian paths along campus quite a bit. As part of the development, Ivy was renamed to Twyckenham and continues as such all the way north to Douglas, despite the lack of connection across South Bend Ave.
Since the extension of Twyckenham and addition of separated bike paths a few years ago, I’ve been frustrated that despite being so close, there was no provision for cyclists to cross South Bend Ave. After inquiring with the city this morning, I was pleased to hear that both pedestrian and cyclist traffic are being considered.
Notably, the current reworking of the intersection is actually a temporary solution until a larger project that will widen South Bend Ave. The primary motivation for this work is to ease left terns onto Twyckenham for west-bound traffic (due to construction on Eddy).
The new intersection will not initially allow motor vehicle traffic across South Bend Ave on Twyckenham (at least not until South Bend Ave is wided). There will, however, be bicycle paths on both sides of the road north of South Bend Ave and prominent pedestrian crosswalks across South Bend Ave; bicycles will be allowed to cross, but they must do so following the pedestrian paths. Unfortunately, there will not be pedestrian-activated lights at this stage. It is hoped that a more complete solution will be part of the widening of South Bend Ave.
I will be very interested to see how this area develops over the next couple of years!
Note: I’ve been editing this post throughout the day as I receive new information.