The City of Bloomington is creating a protected bike lane along 7th Street from Woodlawn to the B-Line, and is holding a public forum on Thursday, June 18 to get input from residents. The event starts at 6 p.m.
Called the "7-Line," the project would add physical barriers between the bike lane, located on the south side of 7th, and auto traffic. It would also remove all metered parking from Woodlawn to College. Bus frequency along this corridor (Route 6) would increase. Indianapolis-based American Structurepoint is the design consultant for this initiative, which is envisioned eventually to extend east of the IU campus.
To participate in the June 18 forum, click this Zoom link or watch on Facebook. Can't make the meeting? Give online feedback here.
Find more information on the project website.
The Bloomington-Monroe County Metropolitan Planning Organization (BMCMPO) is seeking feedback on using the area's transportation system and ideas about how to improve the transportation experience.
Responses to a short survey will help inform the BMCMPO's Metropolitan Transportation Plan, which is looking ahead to 2045. This survey will be open through July 2020.
Click here to take the survey.
Click here to learn more about the MPO's transportation planning efforts.
The Bloomington Redevelopment Commission gave approval on June 1 for Dimension Mill to draw circles on the grass near its building to help encourage physical distancing, though one commissioner called the idea "silliness taken to the extreme."
RDC members also got updates on parking garages in the Trades District, where the Mill is located, and at 4th & Walnut. The Trades District garage is under construction, and the city plans to install a webcam there to monitor progress. Alex Crowley, the city's director of economic & sustainable development, described the project as on time and on budget.
For the 4th Street garage, F.A. Wilhelm Construction – the firm hired by the city as construction manager – is reviewing bids received for that project's first phase and will likely be awarded this week. Bids are currently being accepted for the construction phase. This project, which is expected to be completed in late 2020, will also have a webcam filming the site.
Regarding the Mill's request, Crowley said that since the RDC owns the vacant land in the Trades District, the co-working nonprofit was seeking permission to mark circles on the grass to measure physical distancing in this COVID-19 climate. The commission ultimately approved the request, with dissent from David Walter. Walter said the area is public and anyone can be there, regardless of whether they practice social distancing. It's a matter of personal responsibility, he said.
Watch the full June 1, 2020 RDC meeting here.
A partnership between Ellettsville-based Smithville Communications and South Central Indiana REMC, a rural electric cooperative, is set to bring high-speed fiber broadband to thousands of rural customers in Monroe and Owen Counties.
Launched in May, the buildout of this fiber network will eventually serve about 3,400 residents by 2023. The first phase is focused on the rural area between Spencer and Gosport.
Read more about the project here.
On June 1, the City of Bloomington will launch a revamped website for public input on the redevelopment of the Bloomington hospital site.
Consultants hired to develop a master plan – Skidmore, Owings & Merrill – will be meeting with stakeholders later this month. They'll also host an online "town hall" on June 16 at 6 p.m.
Details about all public engagement efforts will be posted on the hospital redevelopment site starting June 1.
Work will start later this year on a redesigned 4th St. garage, following approval of required variances by the Bloomington Board of Zoning Appeals. It will be built on the existing footprint with 7 stories, 537 spaces and ground floor commercial space. The estimated completion date is August 2021.
The city also has dropped its appeal in the eminent domain lawsuit it filed to take the JuanSells.com building at the south end of the block.
The variances granted by the BZA at its March 19 meeting included allowing the parking structure’s entrance driveway to be wider than would ordinarily be allowed under city code, and allowing the driveway to be closer to Walnut Street than the code allows.
The downtown garage was closed in late 2018 because of structural flaws. It was subsequently demolished last year.
In collaboration with other Bloomington and Monroe County organizations, the Chamber has created a resource site to help businesses navigate the impact of COVID-19.
In addition to guidance from the Small Business Administration, Centers for Disease Control and others, the site provides legal resources, economic recovery resources, and links to updates from the Monroe County Health Department, City of Bloomington, and local educational institutions.
We've also compiled a listing of updates, information and resources provided by our Chamber members. The resource categories include food, kids activities, housing and utilities, among others. Do you have an update to include? Click here to submit your information and we'll add it to the list.
In a nearly unanimous vote on March 9, the Bloomington Plan Commission has approved a redesigned 4th St. parking structure. It will be built on the existing footprint with 7 stories and 537 spaces. The estimated completion date is August 2021.
Eighteen people spoke during public commentary. Of those, 11 strongly supported the project, including A John Rose, chair of the Chamber Advocacy Council; Ron Walker, immediate past chair of the Chamber board and vice president of operations for CFC Properties; Jim Murphy, president of CFC Properties who also serves on the Chamber Advocacy Council; and Mary Morgan, the Chamber's Director of Advocacy & Public Policy.
The project, which includes a public art component, does not require additional city council approval. Click here to read details of the project from the Plan Commission packet.
Watch the Plan Commission deliberations on CATS here. Or read the B Square Beacon report: "Bloomington plan commission OKs 4th Street replacement parking garage, target completion date now August 2021."
The City of Bloomington is hosting a forum on Thursday, March 5 to discuss priorities for a new Sustainability Investment Fund and a possible increase in the local income tax to support the fund. The event runs from 7 to 9 p.m. at The Mill, 642 North Madison St.
According to a city press release, the format will include a brief presentation, followed by opportunities to discuss topics with subject-matter experts. Those topics include the city's "comprehensive response to climate change, how the fund might support social equity, and the possibilities the fund could create in areas from transit and other mobility options to sustainable housing and green infrastructure, among others."
A light meal will be provided. The city is also asking residents to share comments and suggestions about the Sustainability Investment Fund via this online form.
On Jan. 1, Mayor John Hamilton announced a proposal to increase the local income tax by 0.5% for Monroe County residents, raising about $16 million annually – half for the city, half for the county – to be used for economic development purposes. Hamilton proposed using the city's share for sustainability initiatives that have not yet been determined. The tax could be enacted if approved by the majority of the Bloomington City Council.
As our community works to strengthen public transit, the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce urges the Bloomington City Council to take an initial step: Amend Chapter 2.76 of the Bloomington Municipal Code, enabling Bloomington Transit to provide service outside the city limits.
According to Erin Predmore, President and CEO of the Chamber, “This is a small but necessary step to make our community’s public transit system even better for city residents, including employers and people who work in urbanized areas of Monroe County.”
The current code states that the boundaries of the Bloomington Public Transportation Corporation, which operates Bloomington Transit, must be “coterminous” with the city’s boundaries. Lifting this restriction, by itself, does not mean that Bloomington Transit will immediately start operating buses outside the city limits. But it does provide flexibility for BT to adjust its routes in the future, if BT staff and board find it to be financially viable.
BT is undergoing a route optimization process. Consultants for this project recommend that BT provide service out to Ivy Tech and Cook Group, located just beyond the city limits. However, this service would not be possible under the current city code. Nor can BT offer service to Ellettsville, under current constraints.
“Most of us don’t constrain our lives to the city limits, even if we live within them. Many city residents need to attend Ivy Tech, or work at Cook Group and other businesses located slightly outside the city, or shop on the western edge of our community. We need a transit system that reflects the realities of our community and serves the needs of city residents,” says Predmore.
Providing reliable public transportation helps all city residents. A recent report by the Bloomington Affordable Living Committee – “Working Hard, Falling Behind” – includes this feedback from Amethyst House, a local nonprofit: “Affordable, reliable and accessible public transportation is critical to many in our community as they work to sustain employment, fulfill basic needs, gain access to social services, and engage in our community.”
The Chamber recognizes there are many challenges to expanding transit, including financial resources and political issues between the city and county. Looking at how to improve public transit in other ways should also be a goal for our community. There’s hard work to be done. But changing this city ordinance is an easy step, and we urge council to take it.
Director of Advocacy & Public Policy