Carmel Indiana Roads & Infrastructure

When it comes to well maintained thoroughfares and traffic management, few places in the country come close to the Carmel Indiana Roads. Though you might know of Carmel because of its extremely large high school (the largest in the state) or its expensive tastes, you might overlook Carmel, Indiana’s infrastructure. But sometimes the best things in life are those that just help us avoid frustration and hassle. Between Carmel’s roundabouts, sidewalks void of cracks and missing chunks, and streets that seem to be immune to Indiana’s infamous pothole problem, if you move to Carmel Indiana, your car is going to thank you.

What to know about the Roads in Carmel, Indiana

Is Carmel the most expensive Indy suburb?

Carmel is one of the most desirable places to live in Indianapolis, and when demand goes up, so do prices. Its popularity, among other things; causes Carmel to be expensive (both in home prices and cost of living.) If you ask locals in Indy which suburb is the most expensive, undoubtedly nearly all of them will instantly say “Carmel”. But it’s actually statistically not the most expensive place to live in Indianapolis.

Nearby Zionsville holds that title, despite being significantly smaller. While Carmel has a population of about 100,000 people, Zionsville has only about a quarter of that. But the reputation of Carmel precedes it, and it’s still rather expensive. Still, this doesn’t seem to deter the many people that wish to call Carmel home as the city grows every year.

main road in Carmel IN, Roads and infrastructure in Carmel Indiana

Why care about infrastructure in Carmel?

When you drive through Carmel, you will notice one thing right away. It’s just beautiful. From the homes, to the landscaping, to the sidewalks and parks and shopping centers, even down to the roads.

Any Hoosier will tell you living anywhere in Indiana pretty much requires a car. There are busses, Lyft, and Uber, but none of those can really be counted on, especially for those who live in the suburbs. You will need to drive, and you’ll likely spend a fair amount of time on the road. This makes Indiana drivers a bit keener to the road conditions and the wear and tear it causes on their vehicle. Driving into Carmel is like giving your car a big featherbed to flop into after it has just completed the Oregon Trail via wagon train.

What causes road damage in Indiana?

Road maintenance might not seem like a huge deal to you, after all it’s just pavement right? You might think so, especially if you are coming from a warm climate like the southwest. But if you are new to the Midwest, you will soon find out that ‘Hell hath no fury’ like Indiana roads. This state (especially the northern half) is notorious for having terrible roads.

A few factors play into turning the highways and side streets into a doppelganger of the lunar surface, but weather is the main culprit. The unpredictable weather in Indiana causes a cycle of melting and freezing for about four to five months out of the year. When the ice melts and the water seeps into the pavement and cracks therein, then freezes that very evening and expands, the asphalt cracks and potholes develop that are nearly impossible to keep up with. Combine the bumpy roads with the tiny particles of pavement and rock getting thrown up into your vehicle and it’s just…not a great time.

Aside from the great effort Carmel makes to ensure the roads are kept well maintained, the layout of the infrastructure is very well done.  Traffic is extremely well managed in Carmel. One of the best resources they utilize in their traffic management is the “roundabout,” which takes an intersection that would normally have stop signs one way or all ways, and creates a circular flow of traffic in which cars never stop. Instead they drive in a circle until they reach their desired direction and exit the roundabout.

Not only does this keep the flow of traffic moving, but it greatly decreases intersection traffic accidents (studies show by at least 90%) and is much better for the driver’s gas mileage. If you don’t believe Carmel takes their roundabouts seriously, consider the fact that this town holds the title for most roundabouts in the entire country!

Carmel IN roads on main street, Roads and infrastructure in Carmel Indiana

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Carmel is not a ‘small’ town

Carmel is about as dense as Indianapolis proper when you consider the people per square mile. This means if you want to go to Carmel to get that small town feeling, you might not find it here. But it still employs many of the attractive attributes of a small town, like pretty yards and fun things to do such as festivals and farmers markets. Still, with so many people in this area, the traffic isn’t as bad as it is in Indianapolis because it’s significantly more efficient in Carmel.

In many places drivers can go a long, long distance without ever having to stop. Even if they are hitting intersections, the ability to not have to decelerate and come to a complete stop is a huge benefit. This particular intersection style also decreases the lines of cars waiting to go through an intersection and the amount of traffic noise (such as screeching brakes.) This is particularly nice in neighborhoods, as traffic noise is almost nobody’s favorite thing – unless you have been born and raised in New York City, in which case it is likely a familiar lullaby to you!

Where did the Carmel Roundabouts come from?

Allegedly, a former mayor of Carmel spent a significant amount of time in Europe, where he observed roundabouts and their efficiency, and upon his return adopted this same concept in Carmel. You won’t see roundabouts only in Carmel, but it’s certainly the trend setter. In areas like Zionsville, Avon, Fishers, and other Indianapolis suburbs, more and more roundabouts are popping up. But it’s not likely that this trend will ever make its way out of the suburbs, because it definitely requires more space to create a roundabout.

This isn’t always a very feasible option in large, multi lane intersections like you would see on highways and busy city streets. You will still see roundabouts on highways, but often in more rural settings in which there is room to create a massive loop around an intersection (and on highways they tend to be more of “figure eights” than a circle.)

aerial view of a roundabout, Roads and infrastructure in Carmel Indiana

How Carmel Utilizes their Roundabouts

While four way stops and large intersections tend to be unavoidable eyesores, roundabouts are the opposite. Carmel is known to have a great deal of public art in general, especially downtown in the Arts and Design District; but it’s not limited to that area. You will see sculptures and murals all over town, and the roundabouts are just another place to display local Indiana talent.

This is a really fun way to get kids involved and help them learn parts of town. A common favorite of the youthful crowd is the “Rock, Paper, Scissors” sculpture at the intersection of Gray Road and 126th Street. While many of the roundabouts in Carmel have sculptures in the center, even if they don’t have something interesting, they all have beautiful landscaping that is well groomed. A roundabout in the Village of WestClay, a neighborhood in northwest Carmel, actually has a roundabout (The Horseferry Roundabout) that was voted “The Most Beautiful Roundabout in the World.” Take that, European roundabouts!

Maintaining and upgrading the highway infrastructure is just one of the many reasons Carmel is such a popular Indianapolis suburb. Carmel’s dense population, despite its somewhat pricey nature, is just a testament to how many people want to live there. As you can imagine, a town that does such a good job of maintaining roads and infrastructure always has something on deck.

If you are interested to see which parts of town will be getting thoroughfare renovations soon, check out Here, you can stay up to date on current and upcoming projects in the Carmel area.  One thing is for certain, the city will probably always be building more roundabouts!

Thinking of moving to the Indianapolis Metro Area?

Have we convinced you to move to Carmel Indiana yet? If you’re ready to look for places to buy in Carmel, or any of Indianapolis’s suburbs, let me know