Residents concerned with Notre Dame's road rerouting proposal - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Residents concerned with Notre Dame's road rerouting proposal

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Members of the St. Joseph County Council are expected to vote on a road rerouting proposed by the University of Notre Dame Tuesday afternoon.

Notre Dame officials say the project the university plans to pay for will reroute Douglas Rd. directly towards the Indiana toll road. The university believes the project will benefit the surrounding community, but some residents think it only benefits Notre Dame.

"It's not safer for [residents], its safer for them," said Bill Partridge, an Indian Village resident. "It's not more convenient for us, it's more convenient for them."

Partridge and a group of other concerned residents, who live near Douglas Rd., met Monday night to discuss how they feel about the rerouting project. The group plans to speak at Tuesday night's St. Joseph County Council meeting.

The University of Notre Dame is hoping the council will approve their road plan.

"They're doing it for a lot of reasons," said Mike Hamann, St. Joseph County Councilman. "Mostly to have traffic move more smoothly through and around campus, but it's also going to benefit the community."

The university will pay for the construction of the rerouting and then the county will take responsibility for maintaining the road.

One benefit the university sees is added safety for people around campus. With the new project they plan to put in traffic control towers that they say will benefit pedestrians and cars. Notre Dame says they do not believe

"If it's something that is safe why don't they put it down at the existing crossings that they think are dangerous to their employees and students," said Jean Anne Yackshaw, another Indian Village resident. "It doesn't make sense and that's what tells us it's not for safety."

Another benefit the university sees from the project is that they can clean up the entrance near the toll road. They believe it gives visitors a bad first impression of South Bend.

"I think it will help the campus and the community both frankly," said Hamann.

People against the project believe all it will really do is keep people away from the rest of the South Bend community and just take them right into campus without getting a full Michiana experience.

"It really seems at the speed at which they're pushing this through the university is alienating it's residents," said Sarah Ellis, who lives in University Village. "It's building barriers instead of joining in with the community."

The concerned residents hope the council will slow down Notre Dame's plan and consider other possibilities for improving travel around Douglas Rd. The council says they will do their best to represent what the citizens want.

"We want to make sure that Notre Dame does its due diligence as it relates to any quality of life issues and safety issues because those are the main concerns," said Hamann.

The St. Joseph County Council meeting will be Tuesday, Dec. 4th at 7:00 p.m..

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