Everyday, when a Greenwood woman leaves her neighborhood, she knows she will struggle to turn onto the road that will get her to work.
For Kathy Haab, who lives in the Featherstone neighborhood north of Freedom Park, getting onto Averitt Road always has been difficult, with the wait as long as 10 minutes at times. The increase in traffic from the newly opened Greenwood Middle School, the summer rush at the nearby Greenwood Springs Aquatic Center and traffic detouring from nearby roadwork on U.S. 31 have only increased traffic during the past couple months.
“It is definitely busier,” she said. “It takes a few minutes longer to get out of the neighborhood in the morning.”
Hundreds more homes being built, a growing water park and a new middle school all had led to increased traffic on Averitt Road. That’s a headache for local residents who expect delays when trying to leave their neighborhoods for their morning commutes to work. It’s also a concern for the city, which started a traffic study in the area to look for possible improvements.
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The two-lane road begins in several neighborhoods south of Worthsville Road, and continues north to Main Street. A 2011 traffic study counted more than 32,000 vehicles using the road between 6 and 9 a.m. and 4 and 7 p.m. every day.
In the past few years, more than 300 new homes have been built in the area along Averitt Road in the Honey Creek Meadows and Brighton Estates neighborhoods. The aquatic center, which opened on Stop 18 Road three years ago, just surpassed 100,000 visits during its last season. The new Greenwood Middle School opened this summer, with about 900 students.
Now, the owners of a 32-acre property on Cutsinger Road have requested that the land be rezoned for residential use, according to documents filed with the city. CalAtlantic Homes, a national home developer with an office in Indianapolis, plans to begin developing the site for up to 68 new homes next year, said Craig Jensen, the Indianapolis division president of CalAtlantic Homes. The plan commission is set to consider the rezoning of the CalAtlantic project next week.
Other already established neighborhoods in the area are also continuing to fill in, Greenwood Planning Department Director Bill Peeples said.
Cherry Tree Walk — also south of Cutsinger Road — is in the early stages of development and will have 272 homes. The final two sections of Brighton Estates, a neighborhood west of Freedom Park, are also in the planning process, and would bring another 57 homes, he said.
Residential development, including the new rezoning request, matches the city’s intended uses for the area, Peeples said. The city envisions the area as primarily residential, he said.
Existing neighborhoods have been designed to accommodate additional subdivisions being developed. Honey Creek Meadows, just to the south of the proposed CalAtlantic site, has one of its streets, Goldenrod Road, set to be extended through the neighborhood to Cutsinger Road, Peeples said.
What the development of all of these neighborhoods means is that the amount of traffic on Averitt Road can only be expected to increase. Earlier this year, the city started a traffic study of Averitt Road, which would look into what improvements would be needed to handle the increased traffic. Past city discussions about the future of Averitt Road have included a roundabout at Stop 18 Road, which also serves as entrance to Freedom Park and Freedom Springs Aquatic Center.
Beverly Farrell wants the city to make improvements to the Averitt and Cutsinger roads intersection, which she and her husband, Kevin Farrell, both use frequently as they head east to U.S. 31 and Interstate 65.
The intersection has stop signs for drivers at Cutsinger Road and for ones exiting Greenwood Christian Church on the east side of Averitt Road, which makes it difficult for drivers to turn onto Averitt Road, she said.
Farrell would like the city to put a stoplight at that intersection, to make it safer for the drivers on Cutsinger Road.
Another possible solution might be for Apryl Drive to connect Averitt Road with Yorktown Road, which would connect the Featherstone neighborhood to Brighton Estates and allow drivers to exit to Yorktown Road, rather than Averitt Road, Haab said.