The Bloomington-Monroe County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) has approved a new regional transportation plan through 2045, with new emphasis on safety, transportation equity and climate change. Approval came at the group's Oct. 9 meeting.
Pat Martin, City of Bloomington senior transportation planner, noted that this marks the first MPO in Indiana to endorse a "Vision Zero" action plan, with a goal of eliminating all traffic fatalities and severe injuries. "Now the hard part comes in implementing the policy," he told MPO members.
The plan will be submitted to the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) for their review and concurrent approval with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Federal Transit Administration (FTA).
Click here to view the 2045 Metropolitan Transportation Plan.
Scott Robinson has been named the new Planning & Transportation Director for the City of Bloomington, a mayoral appointment that is expected to be confirmed at the Bloomington Plan Commission's Oct. 12 meeting. He replaces Terri Porter, who retired on Sept. 25.
Robinson has served as assistant director since 2018 and has worked for the City of Bloomington for 18 years. Most recently, he took the lead in developing the city's Unified Development Ordinance and the city's Comprehensive Plan.
In his new role, Robinson will receive annual salary of $101,418. The assistant director's position will be posted here in mid-October. Click here for more information about the Planning & Transportation Department.
Two vacancies are open on the 5-member Bloomington Transit board of directors, which oversees the city's public transit system. Both vacancies are appointed by the Bloomington Council, with terms through July 2022 and 2023.
Board members are required to attend monthly board meetings, to serve in any officer role as elected by the full board, and to provide oversight for the organization. Monthly compensation is $100.
More information about Bloomington Transit is online at BloomingtonTransit.com.
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.
An overview of the proposed Transportation Demand Management (TDM) plan – including several recommendations to lower the use of single-occupancy vehicles – was presented to Bloomington City Council at their March 4, 2020 meeting.
Justin Schor of Wells + Associates, the transportation consulting firm hired by the city, made the presentation. Click here to view his slidedeck, or watch it on CATS here. The full report will be available on the city's TDM website.
Short-term recommendations include providing a carpool matching service, a "guaranteed ride home" service, education and marketing about transportation options, and an increase in the cost of parking by 50% or more.
To implement and manage the city's TDM program, Schor recommended 2.5 employees, including a TDM director, manager and a part-time coordinator. The program's budget is estimated at nearly $500,000 annually. The council would need to vote to approve the program and identify revenues to support it.
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.
Stressing the importance of a strong public transit system for the business community, Chamber CEO Erin Predmore was a guest on WFIU's Jan. 24 Noon Edition.
She highlighted several actions that our community needs to take to improve transit for employers and residents:
Click here to listen to the Jan. 24 Noon Edition. Other guests were Lew May, Bloomington Transit's general manager, and Beth Rosenbarger, the City of Bloomington's planning services manager. Bob Zaltsberg moderated the discussion.
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.
Director of Advocacy & Public Policy