GREENWOOD, Ind. – Officials in Greenwood are calling for safety improvements along State Road 135 after three serious accidents, including a fatal crash, within the last 10 days.
Greenwood Mayor Mark Myers is among those who believe safety measures need to be improved along SR 135.
“I think there could be a lot of intersection improvements,” Myers said. “But one of the big things that we’re lacking right now that I’m hearing from my officers is lighting.”
The most recent accident happened around 6:30 a.m. Monday just north of where Olive Branch Road intersects with SR 135. Authorities say a 27-year old woman was crossing the highway on foot when she was hit by a vehicle. She sustained serious head injuries before being rushed to IU Health Methodist Hospital.
On Friday morning, a two-vehicle crash took the life of a 17-year old Center Grove High School student, Sarah Kish. The accident happened at the entrance to Buckmoor Manor subdivision on SR 135.
On February 9, around the same time of morning, a male pedestrian was struck and seriously injured by a car at SR 135 and Honey Ln.
All three accidents happened within roughly 500 feet of each other.
“There’s some commonality,” said White River Township Fire Department Chief Jeremy Pell. “It’s been dark, it is a very busy stretch of road. They’ve all happened in areas where there have been no traffic signals.”
Pell says he and his family live in Buckmoor Manor and Friday’s fatal crash has changed their daily commute.
“My wife and I had a conscious conversation with our kids and said we don’t turn left out of Buckmoor Manor anymore,” Pell said. “Because it’s not worth the risk.”
Pell and Myers agree that rapid growth and development in recent years have brought significant traffic increases to SR 135 between Curry Road and Stones Crossing Road. And traffic safety features need to be upgraded to keep up with the growth.
However, since SR 135 is a state highway, any changes to traffic signals or patterns would have to come from the Indiana Department of Transportation.
Myers says he’s been in communication with INDOT officials about studying the safety of SR 135 from County Line Road through the Greenwood area. He says additional traffic signals could be included in future improvements, but they would have to be carefully placed.
“You’ve got to be very cautious where you put them,” Myers said. “Because if you put too many in, you’re really causing more of a traffic problem. People get frustrated. They run the light, so you’ve got to be very cautious about that.”
Other safety upgrades could include limiting left turns to and from 135, raised medians, and additional lighting along the highway.
“We want to make sure we can work with INDOT to try to figure out what’s the best answer to make this better,” Myers said. “There’s not side lights that are costly to the state, but what’s somebody’s life worth?”
“As a fire department, we’re concerned about quality of life and specifically the safety of this community,” Pell said. “We need to continue to have an eye on that and provide some infrastructure that allows people to adjust to this new norm. Because that’s what it is.”
Pell suggests limiting left turns to and from neighborhoods along 135 could reduce the number of drivers who cut across oncoming traffic. He also says adding new stoplights in the appropriate places could improve safety.
Examining the 45 mile per hour speed limit could be worthwhile, but changing it could present more problems for police if drivers don’t obey any changes, Pell said.
While INDOT is studying the safety of SR 135, starting at County Line Road, there’s no time frame for when that study will specifically focus on the areas between Curry Road and Stones Crossing Road.