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Bloomington, Indiana approves pathways plan for safety, sustainability

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  • Robert J. Matter
    http://www.hoosiertimes.com/stories/2001/11/01/news.011101_HT_C1_PM025630.sto?PREVURI=%2Fstories%2F2001%2F11%2F01%2Findex Council approves pathways plan
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 1, 2001
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      Council approves
      pathways plan

      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,
      he said.

      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@....
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