Around 10 a.m. on Wednesday, a yellow-vested crew from the street division of Bloomington’s department of public works started drilling holes to reinstall stop signs for 7th Street traffic at Dunn Street.
The work was finished by around 3 p.m. That makes the intersection at Dunn and 7th, just west of the Indiana University campus, an all-way stop.
The stop sign went in, because city engineer Andrew Cibor used his legal authority, to order the placement of the stop signs for 180 days.
Cibor’s order is based on a study of crashes along the 7th Street corridor, before and after the 7-Line separated bicycle lane was installed in 2021. The study showed an increase in crash numbers, especially at the intersection of Dunn and 7th Street.
The idea behind removal of the stop signs was to reduce the effort for cyclists in the corridor and to encourage the use of the new lane by cyclists.
Based on the crash numbers, Cibor had recommended that all five 7th Street stops that were removed in connection with the 7-Line construction be reinstalled. But the city’s bicycle and pedestrian safety commission (BPSC) supported the reinstallation of just one stop—at the intersection of Dunn and 7th Street. And the city’s traffic commission agreed with the BPSC.
By around 3 p.m. on Wednesday, the new stop signs were installed, along with some advance warning signs alerting drivers and cyclists to the upcoming new stop sign. The new stop signs themselves are also augmented with criss-crossed flags on top.
On Wednesday, Cibor was out on site to document the work photographically and to touch base with the street division crew.
Walking past the intersection as the new stops went in was Indiana University senior Audrey Killian, who told The B Square she was glad to see the signs going in, because she thinks it will make the intersection safer.
Killian is familiar with 7th and Dunn. She said, “I walk past this intersection every single day on my way to class—or I ride my bike.” She continued, “I frequently drive through this intersection as well.” Killian said, “I’ve seen no less than two new crashes since I’ve lived here.”
The crashes Killian witnessed were between two cars.
Killian thinks that part of the challenge is that drivers often don’t see bicycles as a “valid vehicle.”
After the stop signs were removed, Killian said, many 7th Street drivers at Dunn Street continued to stop for Dunn Street car traffic, in addition to pedestrians—which contributed to the perception that it was still an all-way stop. So the reinstallation of the stop signs will square up with what many drivers already perceive, she said.
About the additional physical effort required from cyclists, Killian said, “Yes, it’ll be a little challenging for cyclists, just because it is frustrating having to stop and restart.”
Balanced against that, Killian said, is the potential improvement in the visibility of cyclists to motorists. “I think it could also actually increase visibility of cyclists, because if you are stopped at the stop sign, and they have to stop, they see you.”
After the stop signs were installed on Wednesday, compliance by motorists and bicyclists appeared to be good, but not perfect.
For permanent installation, city council action is needed, just like it was to remove the stop signs.
The permanent installation of the 7th and Dunn stop signs is expected to be put in front of the city council on May 10, according to a news release issued by the mayor’s office.
6 thoughts on “Stop signs reinstalled at 7th & Dunn in Bloomington”
“Killian thinks that part of the challenge is that drivers often don’t see bicycles as a “valid vehicle.”“
This is likely true. Another problem is that some bicyclists act as if they are exempt from traffic regulations. I sometimes see bicyclists run stop signs at full speed or ride the wrong way on way streets. This is obviously dangerous. Several years ago a bicyclist was killed when riding the wrong way on Atwater.
Decades ago an IDS photographer happened by when a BPD officer cited a cyclist for riding the wrong way on Dunn Street. The cyclist thought the officer could better use his time policing others. But cyclists, motorists and pedestrians all should give more thought to how to safely coexist.
The difference being that motorists are the only ones operating at deadly speeds and momentums. Coexisting mostly means bikers and pedestrians politely asking if the drivers could please not kill them.
Good luck banning the American automobile. I am not in love with them either but they are here for good.
I mostly walk these days, and often have occasions to fear this: “Brian Boyd, 27, who struck the actress with his electric scooter on a Manhattan street and then sped away, pleaded guilty to manslaughter.” https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/28/nyregion/lisa-banes-manslaughter-guilty.html?searchResultPosition=1
So it’s not only motorists operating at deadly speeds after all is it?
The design of 7th street with both bike lanes together is a dangerous design, because drivers do not understand it. Duh. Did we really need to have so many crashes at Dunn and 7th to know that the design was bad? How much did the 7th street project cost to build? How much has it cost in total damages to our neighbors?
The protected bike lane design was selected in part based on the success of the design around the country. The City Engineer’s review of police reports found a primary crash cause was driver’s failing to yield. Drivers not understanding how stop signs work is not a bike lane problem.
The project cost was $2.6 million and funded by bicentennial bonds. In context, this is less a mile of sidewalk costs these days, while the cost of a mile of urban interstate freeway can run $54 million.
In terms of damage, the project was designed to address two kinds of damage risk and data shows it’s succeeding at once: One risk it mitigates is the risk of killing neighbors riding bikes by providing some physical protection along Seventh street.
The other risk the project works on mitigating is a climate catastrophe caused in part by gas vehicle emissions, which are eliminated when there’s a mode shift toward cycling. Data so far shows a dramatic increase in cycling along the coordinator since safer infrastructure was installed.
5 hours and at least 4 people required to install a few stop signs. This is literally a job that one person working at a leisurely pace could do in less time. I’m an adult, I get that taxes are a necessary evil, but maybe you could stop squandering that money so flagrantly?
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