Carmel's #31BITES a new push to help businesses

The city of Carmel announced a new push to help local restaurants overcome the pinch of a major highway project.

This summer’s U.S. 31 project, which the city said it supports as a vital improvement to the highway, has been particularly hard on many of Carmel’s restaurants and shops who depend on the corridor for customers.

With that in mind, Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard this week that he is taking the #31BITES pledge to support local businesses by making 31 visits over 31 days in August to a local restaurant or shop located along the corridor from 96th Street to 146th Street. The Mayor also issued a challenge to all Carmel residents to join him by taking the same #31BITES pledge as a show of support for local businesses.

While the #31BITES hashtag reflects the emphasis on getting a bite to eat at one of the fine local restaurants for breakfast, lunch or dinner; it could also include a shopping trip to one of the corridor’s many retail businesses. Although the mainline U.S. 31 is closed to through-traffic, there continues to be access to all local businesses by using local streets.

"I want to be clear that the city of Carmel supports the state of Indiana’s decision to close a segment of U.S. 31 in order to build the new roundabout interchanges, a strategic move that saves millions of taxpayer dollars and makes it safer for highway crews to get their work done without worrying about traffic,” said Mayor Brainard. “At the same time, we want to acknowledge the impact this project is having and we want to help by encouraging everyone to support your local businesses.”

The city also invited residents to share their #31BITES experiences by posting pictures and comments on social media with the hashtag #31BITES so that others can be inspired to support the businesses along the corridor. The city will then use its Social Media network to further publicize the effort.

“Construction is always tough for affected businesses.  The quicker the completion, the easier it is for those businesses to adjust and recover any lost traffic,” said Carmel Chamber President Mo Merhoff. “In this case, Carmel’s having frontage roads like Illinois and Pennsylvania streets means finding an alternate way to get to your favorite businesses is still possible.”

The closed section of U.S. 31 will reopen to traffic before Thanksgiving 2014 as construction on the corridor continues through the end of 2015. The New U.S. 31 Hamilton County project is upgrading 13 miles of existing highway through Carmel and Westfield to freeway standards from I-465 to State Road 38. The end result will remove traffic signals, reduce congestion and improve safety on U.S. 31 as well as other local routes, including Main Street and Carmel Drive.

For more information on the U.S. 31 project, go to