Bloomington, Indiana approves pathways plan for safety, sustainability
Proposal would create citywide
system of sidewalks, multiuse trails
By Bethany Swaby ,
Herald-Times Staff Writer
In a strong show of support for the city's walkers and bikers, the
Bloomington City Council approved a 10-year plan that will
eventually blanket the city with sidewalks, multiuse trails and
Council members voted 7-0 Wednesday night to approve the
plan. Members Mike Diekhoff and Patricia Cole were absent.
The long-term plan lays out pathway projects through 2010,
which city officials hope will relieve traffic congestion as well as
promote walking and cycling.
The proposal doesn't set out specific design projects, which will
come later in the process, but instead provides an overall look
at where pathways would best serve walkers and bikers, city
plan director Tom Micuda said.
"It's a conceptual plan ... and there will be public processes to
deal with individual projects as they go forward," he said.
Projects will be paid for by a combination of grants, city road
funding and the council's annual $500,000 transportation fund,
Questions about pathway maintenance, snow removal and
police patrol issues came from council member David Sabbagh
who attended the holiday meeting dressed as Abraham
Lincoln, complete with black stovepipe hat.
Micuda said he anticipates maintenance and snow removal
costs to be shared by the city's Public Works and Parks and
Recreation departments, while police patrols would depend on
usage of the trails.
Most residents who addressed the council appeared to be in
favor of the project, including Larry Mongin.
"We really need these facilities," he said. "I'd like to see it taken
down to about five years ... but keep up the good work."
Peter Drake also praised the project, saying, "This plan is an
exemplary piece of open government. I think it's a good faith
effort to try and move Bloomington toward what you call
alternative, and I call sustainable, transportation."
A small contingent of neighbors living on North Dunn Street a
residential area facing an upcoming project that would include a
sidepath on the east side of the roadway appeared to
express their concern about that project.
They were represented by attorney Mike Carmin, who spoke for
the group, which owns seven lots in the area.
The sidepath had been initially proposed for the west side of
the roadway, but will now be placed on the east side of the
roadway in the project, a change that has upset some of the
neighbors, Carmin said.
"All the existing development is on the east side of the
roadway," he said. "We need to slow down and look at what
should be done there."
City engineering services manager Justin Wykoff said the road
project is expected to be bid out before the end of the year, and
includes traffic calming devices as well as the sidepath.
Matlock Heights subdivision residents spoke in favor of the
proposal, which they said would slow down speeding cars as
well as provide a protected place for pedestrians and bicyclists
on the busy roadway.
"The only safe way now to travel on North Dunn is by car,"
resident Iris Yob said. "I'd like to congratulate the city for
bringing us to the 21st century, and hopefully you'll see this
plan is for the common good."
In other business, the council voted 7-0 on a traffic ordinance
that set out regulations for some city intersections, speed
zones, parking zones and crosswalks.
Reporter Bethany Swaby can be reached at 331-4373 or by
e-mail at bswaby@....