New Albany downtown redesign

Outcomes and Conclusions

In total, seven downtown roads were reconstructed with fewer car lanes, more bike lanes, more parking, and safer and more inviting sidewalks. The road diet and one-way, two-way conversions increased transportation options downtown and helped make businesses more visible. In addition, the atmosphere in New Albany’s urban district feels more like a downtown area instead of a thoroughfare. To date, there has not been an increase in traffic and residents have commented on how the roads have a smoother flow.

E. Spring St. at Thomas St. after the restructuring. Image courtesy of John Rosenbarger
E. Spring Street gateway after restructuring. Image courtesy of John Rosenbarger
E. Spring St. after the road diet with bike lanes. Image courtesy of John Rosenbarger

The New Albany Chief of Police has documented multiple benefits to public safety resulting from the redesign. The police department recorded fewer incidents involving pedestrians and motorists, and a reduction in speeding violations, car crashes, and injury crashes. The new system has also helped facilitate a better response from police and fire. According to the Chief of Police, the redesign has fundamentally increased resident safety.

 With the changes making a more livable atmosphere downtown, New Albany has started to see an increase in economic development. A new apartment building, an assisted living center, and the installation of new green space have created jobs and increased downtown living options. Additionally, more local businesses have started to open downtown, which was driven in part by the new redesign. Overall, the atmosphere of New Albany’s urban district has changed from a drive-through area for commuters to a more traditional downtown area.

The City will continue to monitor the one-way, two-way conversions and road diet redesigns and make improvements as needed. The streets are relatively changeable since they are repaved every five to seven years, so the City will have an opportunity to make updates.


The main challenge was the community’s general sentiment towards changing roadways. Some New Albany residents were opposed to changing commutes and roadway designs. Local opposition prevented one recommendation – parking-protected bike lanes – from coming to fruition. Some bike lanes would have had a physical barrier creating added safety from car lanes in the plan, but local opposition prevented it. The City decided to go with the more conventional painted stripes. The City also had to adapt the design in some areas to accommodate trucking companies that needed a wide turning lane to access their property. Lastly, there were some concerns with switching from stoplights to stop signs as people were worried it would make New Albany feel too much like a small town. To alleviate those concerns, the City decided to keep the stoplights.

Takeaway Message

John Rosenbarger, the Public Works Project Supervisor for New Albany said, "these street projects reduced the number of travel lanes in key segments of our downtown grid. A projected peak hour delay at a key major intersection has been limited to only portions of a peak hour. A projected increase in traffic volumes due to tolling on the new bridges actually resulted in reductions of previous volumes, reduced speeds, and improved comfort and safety for pedestrians. The loss in traffic volume plus the increased livability was easily worth the investment."

The Mayor of New Albany, Jeff Gahan, had the following to say about the project: 

"Our planners and engineers were confident in the changes. The city-wide improvements brought by the road diet and the directional changes to our street grid are remarkable. New businesses and residential growth, slowed and safer traffic, and additional pedestrian and bike use has energized our downtown. New Albany has a whole new look and a whole new direction." 

To learn more about New Albany's street redesign, contact:

John Rosenbarger
Public Works Project Supervisor
City of New Albany