Two professors from the University of Notre Dame are spearheading planning efforts for an infrastructure redevelopment project in South Bend. With the support of a $2.4 million federal infrastructure grant, the city and university are endeavoring to remove several cloverleaf interchanges, freeway-like ramps built in the 1960s as part of an urban renewal project.
The city was awarded the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity grant last month. Marianne Cusato, professor in the university’s School of Architecture, and Stefanos Polyzoides, dean of architecture, are working with business and community leaders in South Bend, as well as Kalamazoo, Michigan, to restore and revitalize neighborhoods.
The funding will support planning and engineering work related to the removal of the antiquated infrastructure along the Eddy Street bridge over the St. Joseph River. Originally designed for speedy commutes to downtown and service to the shuttered Studebaker factory, the university says the interchanges severed local neighborhoods from the river and decimated local retail.
“It is very encouraging that the federal government is supporting projects that intend to transform car-oriented streets to multi-modal ones with an emphasis on walkability,” Polyzoides said. “Our regional projects for repairing and constructing walkable, mixed-use, compact and diverse cities are the best possible response to climate change.”
Additionally, the team is supporting the efforts of the city of Kalamazoo, which received $6 million to implement a plan to make its downtown streets more pedestrian-friendly.