INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - The massive, expensive and controversial Red Line bus route won’t be running for months, but it is already causing problems for some business in one of the city’s most trendy and hard-to-find neighborhoods.
Residents, customers and commuters say they are getting the runaround as they try to get in and out of Fountain Square.
Virginia Avenue, Fountain Square’s main street, is closed. Navigating the neighborhood’s detours to reach shops, restaurants and business can be tricky.
"I hear people say we just turn around and leave because we can’t get there," said Zachary Davis, a business owner and president of the Fountain Square Merchant’s Association
The street in front of his restaurant and wine shop is currently a construction zone.
“We are down almost 40 percent in business,” Davis said, describing January sales. He said he may not be able to afford to stay in business.
“Not if we continue to stay down like that,” he said.
Construction on the Fountain Square stretch of the 13-mile rapid transit bus line started in August. Other business admitted they are suffering. Some say they are doing ok or actually seeing an increase in business.
“With that work comes disruption,” admitted Bryan Luellen, IndyGo's vice president of public affairs. He said IndyGo and its contractor are working to minimize disruptions by communicating with businesses, adjusting construction schedules and even providing free-advertising for businesses.
“There are details that business bring to us,” Luellen said. “Those are opportunities for us to work with the contractor and minimize disruptions.”
When the Red Line is finally running, many businesses owners believe all the noise, dirt and inconvenience will be worth it. Mike Angel believes the fast-moving buses will bring new opportunities to the area.
“I think it is going to bring more people from all over the city to my spot and everybody’s spot down here,” Angel said.
The Red Line is expected to start running on Labor Day weekend. The heavy construction underway in Fountain Square ought to be finished in a couple of weeks.