Plan commission OKs common council amendments, so Bloomington now has transportation plan

At its Monday meeting, exactly eight months after Bloomington’s plan commission gave its initial approval of the city’s transportation plan, commissioners approved 40 amendments to the plan made by the common council.

Replacement Photo Transportation Plan Amendments -- Return to Plan Commission - Packet
Example of one common council amendment to the transportation plan, swapping out an image for typical cross section for Suburban Connectors with one that shows three extra feet for protecting bicycle lanes.

The transportation plan, with final approval from the plan commission, now replaces the 2002 Master Thoroughfare Plan and the 2008 Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation and Greenways System Plan.

No one from the public offered comment Monday night. The plan had previously been scrutinized by the public and the common council in a process that began in late 2017.

The common council adopted the 40 amendments at its May 22 meeting. Because the proposed transportation plan changed after the plan commission’s initial approval, the amendments were back in front of the commission for its consideration on Monday.

At the meeting, plan commission chair Joe Hoffmann drew out the fact that the plan commission could object to some or all of the amendments, and send their objections back to the common council, but as a practical matter, under state statute, it is the common council that has the last word on it.

Highlights from the common council’s amendments were described at Monday’s meeting by planning services manager Beth Rosenbarger.

Many of the amendments were meant to clarify the intent to preserve small neighborhood streets, Rosenbarger said. Amendments also focused on prioritizing pedestrians by changing street cross sections to include wider sidewalks and removing turn lanes. Similar amendments altered wording to prioritize pedestrians throughout the plan.

Prioritizing and emphasizing transit was the focus of some other amendments, Rosenbarger said. A subsection on transit was added, which included specific recommendations for next steps, including finding increased funding for transit. Finally, Rosenbarger said, changes were made to street typologies—changing suburban connector to other kinds of streets like neighborhood residential.

Hoffmann wrapped up the item with thanks to the city staff who he said had made “sometimes heroic efforts to bring this to closure.” The plan commission’s vote was unanimous among the seven commissioners present.

The full text to the 40 transportation plan amendments is available on the city’s website.