At their quarterly meeting on Jan. 14, Arts Forward Bloomington held a forum focused on transportation issues that affect local arts organizations.
The group heard from Michael Shermis, the City of Bloomington's special projects coordinator, about current transportation-related activities, including a grant from ADA Indiana used to train people who are elderly or with disabilities how to use Uber.
Beth Rosenbarger, the city's planning services manager, discussed transportation issues in the context of the city's comprehensive plan and transportation plan.
The group discussed what kind of incentives might be offered by local arts organizations to encourage patrons to use alternative forms of transportation when coming to events, rather than driving a car. Ideas included offering free concessions for people who walk, bike or take the bus. The possibility of changing three parking spaces in front of the Buskirk-Chumley Theater into a drop-off/pick-up zone was also discussed.
In general, Arts Forward Bloomington wants to make sure the voice of the arts community is heard on a range of issues affecting the health of that sector.
Arts Forward Bloomington will hold its next forum in April, focusing on space needs for arts organizations. The group's steering committee includes Danielle McClelland, former director of the Buskirk-Chumley Theater; Gabe Gloden, Managing Director of Cardinal Stage; Ken Buzzard, President of the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra; Susan Swaney, Artistic Director of Voces Novae and Founder of Sing for Joy! Senior Choir; and Kay Olges, Board President for Windfall Dancers.
Arts Forward Bloomington is hosting a quarterly meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 14 that focuses on issues related to transportation and the arts.
Topics will include the status of local parking and transportation plans, as well as ways that arts organizations and local government can partner to increase accessibility to those with transportation needs. The discussion also will address how to incentivize patrons to consider alternate forms of transportation.
The meeting is free and open to the public. It begins at 7 p.m. at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater, 114 E. Kirkwood. Click here for more information on the AFB Facebook page.
Bloomington Transit is holding its final session in a weeks-long series of public input sessions about its proposed route redesign. The session runs from 1:30-4 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 3 at the Downtown Transit Center AP Room, 301 S. Walnut.
The proposed changes are part of BT's Route Optimization Study, which began in 2018. More information about this effort is available on BT's website.
BT is also looking for feedback on these service changes via an online survey. Click here to take the survey.
The City of Bloomington is conducting a survey to assess the space needs of organizations and individuals in the Bloomington Entertainment & Arts District (BEAD) .
The survey takes about 3-5 minutes and will close on Nov. 27.
BEAD is a state-designated cultural district that's overseen by the City of Bloomington's Department of Economic & Sustainable Development. It is an area in downtown Bloomington that includes a variety of cultural venues, including the Bloomington Playwrights Project, the Buskirk-Chumley Theater (where the BEAD Info Shop is located), WonderLab Museum, Arts Row and more. Click here to view a walking map of the district.
For more information, go to VisitBEAD.com.
On Nov. 6, Bloomington City Councilmembers Susan Sandberg and Chris Sturbaum released the final report of the Affordable Living Committee that they've been working on since 2015.
From the introduction: "This report is not intended to be the authoritative word on affordability in Bloomington. Instead, it is intended to point out the need for a systems view of affordability – a vision that is bigger than just housing. It is our hope that as the community conversation about affordable housing continues to evolve, that it does so mindful of a comprehensive approach to the problem. One that includes, but is not limited to: wages, housing, child care, health care, and food. "
Click here for a copy of the report.
The City of Bloomington has hired RDG Consultants to conduct an in-depth housing study, examining the city's existing rental and owner-occupied housing stock, its location, price points and condition. Based on this analysis, the city plans to complete an assessment of future housing needs.
As part of this effort, the city is holding "listening sessions" to get input on Bloomington's current and future housing needs. Sessions will be held Oct. 21 through Oct. 24. For details on specific times and to sign up to attend a session, please click here.
Bloomington's housing study is building on the recent Indiana Uplands Regional Housing Study, which was also conducted by RDG Consultants and includes an assessment of Monroe County. Click here for more information on that effort.
An 11-county study of workforce housing needs has been released this week, assessing the regional housing market and proposing strategies for addressing challenges.
The 339-page Indiana Uplands Regional Housing Study includes the Bloomington/Monroe County community. Reports for individual counties also can be downloaded on the housing study's website.
Six main strategies are identified by the report (pp 318-337):
ROI is an affiliate of the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County, and is funded through a $25.87 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc.
Bloomington Transit has set dates for a series of public sessions to get feedback and provide information on proposed route changes. The effort is part of BT's Route Optimization Study, which began in 2018.
See the chart below for details on times and locations. More information about the proposed changes are available on BT's website.
BT is also looking for feedback via its Bloomington Community Rider Survey. Click here to take the survey.
Following a directive from the Bloomington City Council earlier this year, new scooter license application forms and processes were approved by the Board of Public Works at its Sept. 17 meeting.
Licensing fees to operate in Bloomington will be $10,000 annually per company, plus 15 cents per ride, per month. That per-ride fee could be reduced to 10 cents if the scooter company agrees to deploy shared-use bikes in a ratio of one bike to every five scooters.
Click here to view the staff report and sample forms.
Adam Wason, director of public works, said the city is also working on other scooter-related issues, including an expanded dismount zone and enforcement.
Wason told the board that he expects they'll have two applications to consider at their next meeting on Sept. 30. That meeting begins at noon at city hall's McCloskey conference room, 401 N. Morton. Lime and Bird both currently operate in Bloomington under interim operating agreements.
Click here to watch the discussion on CATS.
The Bloomington Plan Commission has scheduled three additional meetings to consider amendments to the draft Unified Development Ordinance (UDO). All meetings start at 5:30 p.m.:
1) Duplexes, Triplexes and Quadplexes (Amendments 4A and 4B). In a six-hour meeting on Sept. 5, commissioners heard from 37 residents during a public hearing on the "plexes." In the draft UDO, plexes are a "conditional use" in core neighborhood zones, meaning that the project must go through the city's approval process in order to be built.
About half of the speakers were concerned about the additional density that such units would bring to the city's core neighborhoods, and argued that they shouldn't be allowed at all in those parts of the city. An equal number of speakers believed the city needs more housing stock of all kinds, and that this is one way to achieve that goal.
OUTCOME: Plexes will remain as a conditional use in core neighborhoods (in the UDO draft), after a Plan Commission amendment to make them permitted use (by right) failed on a 4-5 vote. Voting for by right were Brad Wisler, Nick Kappas, Flavia Burrell and Neil Kopper. Voting against were Beth Cate, Joe Hoffmann, Jillian Kinzie, Susan Sandberg and Karin St. John. Watch the deliberations on CATS here.
2) Accessory Dwelling Units (Amendments 5A and 5B). Plan Commissioners considered these amendments on Sept. 10. In the draft UDO, ADUs were allowed by right. Amendment 5A – making ADUs a conditional use – passed on a 5-4 vote. Voting in favor: Joe Hoffmann, Susan Sandberg, Beth Cate, Jillian Kinzie, and Karin St. John. On an 8-1 vote (with Susan Sandberg opposing), Plan Commissioners also approved Amendment 5B, which increased the number of bedrooms and the permitted size of an ADU. As amended, ADUs will be allowed with up to 2 bedrooms and a maximum 840-square-foot size.
OUTCOME: In the UDO draft, ADUs will be a conditional use with up to 2 bedrooms allowed and an 840-square-foot maximum size. Watch the deliberations on CATS here.
3) Payment-in-Lieu (Amendment 7). This amendment was brought forward by Commissioner Flavia Burrell, responding to a recommendation by the Chamber. The intent was to make the process of determining a payment-in-lieu more transparent by requiring approval from the Common Council. Staff objected to that process, however, so on Sept. 10 the Plan Commission amended out the approval requirement. The resulting language is vague and does not specify how the city determines the payment-in-lieu amount.
OUTCOME: Amendment 7 passed without the requirement that the Common Council adopt administrative procedures for calculating, collecting, accounting for and spending payment-in-lieu funds. Watch the deliberations on CATS here.
Click here to see the city's UDO update site, with details about other amendments, links to the full UDO draft and ways to submit written comments.
Director of Advocacy & Public Policy