East Market Street Reconstruction

The East Market Street Reconstruction marks a significant milestone in the City of Indianapolis' ambitious vision to rejuvenate the historic Monument Circle, the geographical, historical, and cultural nucleus of the city. This project is the first phase in a series of transformative developments aimed at enhancing the iconic Monument Circle and the intersecting brick streets of Meridian and Market Streets. Prioritizing this project underscores its strategic importance, positioned between two major public landmarks: the City-County Building and the City Market. Since 1821, the City Market has been a vital downtown hub, connecting farmers to urban communities and serving as a key source of produce and food essentials.


City of Indianapolis, Department of Public Works

Project Size:

2 city blocks


Indianapolis, IN





Urban Design, Landscape Architecture

In Association With:

CHA Engineering, White Construction



Daniel Showalter

Building on this history, the reconstruction addresses goals from the 2012 Monument Circle Scoping Study, which aimed to modernize infrastructure, improve accessibility, and boost pedestrian safety while fostering economic growth and community interaction. Initiated in 2017 and completed in late 2021 with a $7.5 million budget, the project overhauled the public right-of-way from Delaware to Alabama Streets, including utilities, traffic signals, clay brick paver sidewalks, roadways, street lighting, and green infrastructure.

The project faced unique design challenges, including the 90-foot right-of-way for downtown streets established by the 1821 Ralston Mile Square Plan. The expansive publics pace along the City Market and City-County Building required enhanced connectivity and accessibility. The design team integrated these spaces, transforming the area into a cohesive pedestrian-friendly environment with gradual slopes and ramps for barrier-free access. The north entrance of the City-County Building now features patterned concrete pavers and pre-cast concrete seat walls, matching the adjacent Richard G. Lugar Plaza.

The design also catered to the City’s popular Farmer’s Market, held outdoors every Wednesday. The roadway was widened to accommodate vendors and pedestrians. Enhanced infrastructure, such as thickened sidewalks for temporary vehicle parking and electrical ground boxes for vendor booths, was introduced.

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Pedestrian safety was a crucial aspect of the project. Traffic calming measures, including reduced vehicular travel space, angled parking, and a mid-block, table-top pedestrian crossing, were implemented to enhance safety and improve access to the City Market. Intersections at Delaware and Alabama Streets were redesigned with curb extensions, brick paver crosswalks, and expansive pedestrian queuing zones for safe crossings.

To reduce long-term maintenance costs, brick paver patterns were used for all pavement markings, eliminating the need for repainting or striping. Sustainable design practices were integral, with rain gardens featuring native plants and CU Structural Soil for healthy tree growth incorporated to promote stormwater infiltration and reduce the urban heat island effect.

The East Market Street Reconstruction is a testament to Indianapolis' commitment to creating a vibrant, safe, and sustainable urban core. This project not only revitalizes a key cornerstone in the city’s historic fabric but also sets a precedent for future phases, ensuring that the city's heart remains an engaging and safe space for pedestrians for decades to come.

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