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 Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce is convening community leaders on Friday, November 1 to develop an action plan for strengthening the Bloomington/Monroe County transportation system.
“A healthy transit system is crucial in so many ways,” said Erin Predmore, Chamber President and CEO. “It’s an important economic development asset as well as a need for our most vulnerable residents. Public transit also impacts our ability to address the community’s affordable housing crisis. The Chamber is committed to building a stronger system for all.”
This action-oriented event will begin with a panel discussion to give context to the transit system’s current status, to outline challenges and opportunities, and to offer a vision for the future.
Panelists include Lew May, general manager of Bloomington Transit; Chris Myers, CEO of Area 10 Agency on Aging/Rural Transit; Monroe County Councilmember Geoff McKim; Alex Crowley, director of the City of Bloomington’s Department of Economic & Sustainable Development; and Kent McDaniel, retired IU transportation liaison and current BT board member.
In addition to a panel discussion, the event will include “strategic doing” breakouts focused on legislative issues (local and state), funding resources, alternative transportation options, and making an economic development case statement for public transit.
The event is open to the public and will take place at the Bloomington City Hall, 401 N. Morton. There is no charge to attend, but registration is requested. Doors open at 7:45 a.m. with the program running from 8:15 a.m. until noon.
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.
On the third Thursday of each month, Downtown Bloomington Inc. hosts a breakfast meeting that's open to the public. This month, the event drew about two dozen people who gathered at the Bloomington Cooking School.
These meetings primarily consist of updates from everyone who attends. Here's a sampling from the Sept. 19 session (* = Chamber member):
Monroe County* is replacing its downtown canopy of lights on the square with roughly 4,000 LED bulbs. Cassady Electrical Contractors* will be hanging the new strands during the third week of October. The change is estimated to cut electricity costs from $70/day to $15/day.
Downtown employers will be receiving an online survey soon to distribute to their employees as part of the City of Bloomington* Transportation Demand Management (TDM) initiative. The survey will gather information on how employees get to work, parking needs, and incentives they might use for taking alternative transportation, such as public transit.
Malcolm Abrams, publisher of Bloom Magazine* reported that Nov. 1 is the deadline to submit nominations for the monthly magazine's Community Awards, recognizing local business, charity, the arts and diversity. The awards will be presented at a gala in December.
The city's new Switchyard Park will be opening on Nov. 1. The new clubhouse at the Cascades Golf Course will be opening soon as well. It will include rentable space that's available year-round, according to Mary Catherine Carmichael, the city's director of public engagement. She quipped that the previous structure had been "rode hard and put away wet."
Adam Wason, the city's director of public works, reported that "surgical" demolition of the 4th St. garage will begin soon. The next hearing of the eminent domain lawsuit against the city is scheduled for Oct. 7. The city hopes to reach a settlement with Juan Carlos Carrasquel, Wason said. Site plans for the new 4th St. garage won't be reviewed by the Plan Commission until the situation is resolved.
CFC Properties* has launched a new website for Fountain Square. Two additional event spaces are now available for the public. CFC also is looking for a new tenant in the Wicks Building on the square at 116 W. 6th St.
The Bloomington Cooking School* is offering corporate teambuilding sessions for 8-20 people. Groups can come in a prepare a meal together – then eat it! – while getting to know each other and strengthening their business relationships.
The city's tree inventory has been released and "the general impression is not good," according to Julie Roberts, gallery director for the Ivy Tech Waldron Arts Center*, who also serves as president of the city's Utilities Service Board. She urged everyone to be observant of the condition of Bloomington's trees. (Read a report about the tree inventory here.)
The DBI's next breakfast meeting is on Thursday, Oct. 17. Sign up for the group's e-newsletter here.
If you've ever wondered "How can I influence what happens in this community?" - or even if you haven't - here's one answer: Volunteer for a city advisory group. The Chamber encourages our members to get involved, as a way to give input on local policies that affect our city.
Each month we highlight a few current board/commission vacancies. The June 2019 vacancies include:
Parking Commission: Three seats are posted as vacant on the Bloomington Parking Commission. Among other things, this 9-member group works on developing parking policy that supports the city's comprehensive plan. (What's the comprehensive plan? Find out here.) The Parking Commission's next meeting is a work session on Thursday, June 13. Click here to apply.
Traffic Commission. Keeping with the transit theme, the city's 9-member Traffic Commission also has three vacancies. The group hears traffic-related complaints, makes recommendations on improving traffic conditions, and gives input on enforcing traffic regulations. Its next meeting is Wednesday, June 26. Click here to apply.
Board of Public Safety. This 5-member board, which oversees the police and fire departments, has one vacancy. All positions are appointed by the mayor. Its next meeting is Tuesday, June 18. Click here to apply.
Check out this site for information on other city vacancies and how to apply. After applying, members must be appointed to each board or commission by the Mayor, the Common Council, or another board or commission. And FYI: City residency is required for membership on most of the boards and commissions.
At its May 22 meeting, the Bloomington Common Council unanimously approved a new transportation plan for the city. The plan, developed by the Toole Design Group, was heavily amended during that meeting. (This Indiana Daily Student article reports on some of those changes, or you can watch the meeting on CATS here.)
When the plan was originally unveiled, it included a proposal to switch College and Walnut from one-way to two-way streets. The Chamber was one of many voices advocating strongly against this change, and it was removed from the plan. Whew.
Next steps: The city's Plan Commission will review the plan, signing off on it before it takes effect.
The final plan has not yet been posted online, but will be on the city's Transportation Plan site.
Director of Advocacy & Public Policy