The City has released a final draft of the Bloomington Transportation Plan. Several reasons for changes to the city's current structure include: public health concerns, access to food options, recreational activities and walkable neighborhoods.
From 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. July 12 at City Hall there will be a public reviewing of the plan, at which residents can give input on the plan.
Bloomington has been working with Toole Design Group, a consulting firm headquartered in Silver Spring, Maryland, to create a plan for expanding and maintaining Bloomington's transportation needs, according to the city's website. Part of the need for an updated plan was also the high population density of Bloomington.
The plan emphasizes increasing public transportation, pedestrian walkways and bicycle friendliness and decreasing individual automobile use.
According to city data, walking, public transit and bicycling, along with shared commuting, has significantly increased since 2010, with bicycling experiencing the greatest change of around 70 percent. An increase was also seen for Monroe County in the same categories and during the same time period.
One of the more drastic remodeling ideas is a redesign of Kirkwood Avenue extending from Indiana Avenue to Walnut Street. Kirkwood Avenue would become what's called a shared street. The new curbless street design will prioritize nonmotorized traffic like pedestrians and bicyclists, and help slow speeds in the area.
The transportation plan notes street parking is optional on shared streets. It's unclear if Kirkwood Avenue will lose any street parking at this time. The Indiana Daily Student reached out to the Bloomington Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator Beth Rosenbarger on Friday for comment, but she was unavailable for comment at that time.
Currently, Walnut and Third streets as well as College and Atwater avenues are all one-way streets, but the final draft of the plan restores two-way traffic on these streets.
Also included in the final draft of the transportation plan is an expansion of the B-Line Trail. The plan suggests expanding the trail's level of safety and comfort onto Seventh Street would benefit the IU and local residential communities.
"The B-Line Trail is the backbone of Bloomington’s active transportation network," according to the draft plan. "It is widely popular for both transportation and recreation and it has spurred economic development along its corridor. In order to extend these benefits throughout the city, this Plan recommends prioritizing connected, high-comfort routes and extending the B-Line to the northwest."
The entire Bloomington Transportation Plan is available for download on the city's website here.
Dominick Jean contributed reporting.