A new report concludes that the best option for Eighth and Ninth Streets in Terre Haute would be to maintain one-way traffic across most of their length and add bicycle lanes.

Jeremy Weir, director of transportation planning with West Central Indiana Economic Development District, examined the streets in response to a call from City Councilman Todd Nation to consider a change in their traffic pattern.

Nation introduced an ordinance in January to allow two-way traffic on Eighth and Ninth streets from Maple Avenue to Hulman Street and on Cherry Street from Harding Avenue to Ninth Street. He saw it as a way to bring more traffic downtown.

The addition of bike lanes is included in a 20-year metropolitan transportation plan and has frequently been discussed at planning meetings, Weir said Tuesday.

Amid concerns from residents, businesses who use the streets and emergency personnel, Nation withdrew Cherry Street from consideration and agreed to scale back any changes on Eighth and Ninth streets to north and south of Downtown.

The council is scheduled to revisit the matter during its regular meeting at 6 p.m. today.

City Engineer Chuck Ennis provided the Tribune-Star with a copy of Weir’s study on Tuesday. He said he was working on a report for the City Council.

“I look forward to getting more information from Chuck and Jeremy at [tonight’s] meeting,” Nation said. “It doesn’t surprise me much that they are suggesting that things stay the same but the addition of bike lanes is an interesting thing to contemplate.”

Weir said his recommendation “is not intended to be right or wrong. We’re not trying to make a decision for the council; we’re just saying here are some things to think about.”

Weir’s report found that the northernmost sections of Eighth and Ninth streets, between Lafayette and Maple avenues, have the least through traffic and could be made two-way “without much problem.”

However, traffic picks up between Lafayette Avenue and Locust Street and a change would require upgrade or replacement of traffic signals on Lafayette Avenue.

Counts done in April and May found Eighth and Ninth streets with “fairly high” traffic — 2,500 to 3,000 cars per day — between Poplar and Hulman streets. That’s probably because Seventh Street is already “mostly at capacity,” the report said.

Dave Taylor can be reached at 812-231-4299 or dave.taylor@tribstar.com. Follow him on Twitter @TribStarDave.

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