Scooter blocking a sidewalk along 7th Street (Sept. 19, 2022)
Scooters staged in all the bicycle hoops at Miller-Showers Park (Sept. 16, 2022)
Scooter blocking an ADA ramp at Walnut Street and College Avenue. (Sept. 24, 2022)
Shared electric scooters that are parked so they block ADA ramps and sidewalks in Bloomington will soon be systematically documented and moved out of the way by two temporary workers.
In action taken on Tuesday, the city’s three-member board of public works approved a contract with Express Employment Services that is supposed to pay two workers $15.75 an hour for around 25 hours a week. The total cost of the city’s payments to Express can’t be more than $15,500.
The parking services division, within the department of public works, will administer the pilot program, which is supposed to be evaluated at the end of the year.
A temp agency is being used just to get the new workers on the job as quickly as possible, with an eye towards bringing the same people on board as temporary city employees soon after that.
The program to document blockage of ADA ramp and sidewalk access, and move the scooters out of the path is being launched more than three years after the city council enacted its scooter ordinance.
Bloomington’s local law allows shared use electric scooter companies to use the public right-of-way for their operations, in exchange for a licensing fee of $10,000 a year, and a payment to the city of 15 cents per ride.
Currently licensed to do business in Bloomington are Bird, Lime, and VeoRide.
As soon as next week (Oct. 4, 2022), residents of the area south of Indiana University’s campus could start seeing new crews working in Bloomington’s public right-of-way to install fiber optic connections.
AEG will be working for Hoosier Networks, the company formed by Paris-based Meridiam to do business locally. When construction is complete, the network is supposed to provide 1-Gigabit service to at least 85 percent of Bloomington.
Compared to late summer last year, there are 50 percent more shared electric scooters staged around Bloomington, waiting for prospective riders.
But the 50-percent bigger fleet has generated just 13 percent more rides.
Those numbers are based on the city of Bloomington’s public dataset of scooter activity. Included in the dataset are daily records of the number of rides and the number of available scooters for each of the three scooter companies that are allowed to do business using the public right-of-way.
By the numbers, between Aug. 14 and Sept. 14 of 2021 the total average number of available scooters (counting all three companies) each day was 454, compared to 690 for the same period in 2022. That’s a 50-percent increase.
Between Aug. 14 and Sept. 14 of 2021, the total average number of rides given (counting all three companies) each day was 2,051, compared to 2,309 in 2022. That’s a 13-percent increase.
That means the three companies overall are generating fewer rides per available scooter.
The rides-per-available scooter stat is important, because it’s part of the contractual agreement between each scooter company and the city of Bloomington.
From left: Assistant city attorney Daniel Dixon, Bloomington resident Karen Cherrington.
This image is from the BPW meeting information packet. Yellow groove bamboo growing at Karen Cherrington’s West 6th Street property.
“Because bamboo is nasty, and you can’t get rid of it.”
That’s a two-and-a-half-year-old quote from Bloomington city councilmember Isabel Piedmont-Smith. Her remark came around 8 p.m. on Dec. 3, 2019 when the city council was considering a series of amendments to the city’s unified development ordinance (UDO).
The council’s 2019 approval of the amendment banning yellow groove bamboo means that city resident Karen Cherrington is now required to eradicate the bamboo plants that are growing on her West 6th Street property.
It’s not just the fact that the plants are on the banned list—they are also too tall, exceeding the city’s eight-inch limit for “weeds, grass, or noxious plants.”
The west end of the former IU Health hospital site. (June 22, 2022)
The base aerial image of the Phase 1 East area for redevelopment is from Monroe County’s online property lookup system. Yellow highlights and numbers were added by The B Square.
By the end of summer, all but three of the buildings on a central Bloomington block, near the former IU Health hospital site, are set to be demolished.
It’s the area that has been named the Hopewell neighborhood.
On Tuesday evening, Bloomington’s board of public works, as well as the city’s redevelopment commission (RDC), approved the $588,755 contract with Indianapolis-based Renascent, Inc. for the demolition work.
It’s a separate demolition project from the one already underway on the west end of the former IU Health hospital site. IU Health has to demolish all the structures on the main site, except for the parking garage and the Kohr administration building, before transferring ownership to the city of Bloomington.
It’s part of a $6.5-million real estate deal. In early December last year, IU Health moved to its new facility on the east side of town, on the SR 45/46 bypass.
A request for a night time noise permit at the 3rd Street Chick-fil-A restaurant got approved by Bloomington’s board of public works at its regular Tuesday meeting.
The noise permit is related to the planned installation of some awnings for the drive-thru area of the restaurant. The request came from the Georgia-based Horizon Construction Company. Georgia is also the national restaurant chain’s home state.
The calendar dates for the planned construction of the steel-framed shade structure run from July 21 through Aug. 24.
Horizon wants to be able to work between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. from Monday through Saturday, and all day on Sundays.
The removal of AT&T’s equipment will help set the stage for the owner’s partial demolition of the smokestack—from 140 feet down to 60 feet. The building, with its smokestack, is owned by Peerless Development.
Screenshot of Station #5 on S. Henderson Street from Google Streetview.
At its Tuesday meeting, Bloomington’s board of public works approved a $48,975 contract with Strauser Construction Company for some remodeling work in one of Bloomington’s five fire stations.
The work will be done at Fire Station #5, which is located on Henderson Street in the south part of town.
According to the staff memo in the board’s meeting information packet, the project includes several interior modifications: expansion of the kitchen area with new cabinets and countertops; construction of a partition wall in the equipment bay; construction of a small office for use by the station captain; filling in the overhead door on the north side of the building with solid masonry; and the installation of a new door leading from the equipment bay to the locker room.
This Tyranno-cyclist Rex on the 7th Street underpass is an endangered species after approval of a contract to refurbish the 7th Street underpass mural.
7th Street underpass.
Looking east across the site of the Curry Urban Properties construction site on Pete Ellis Drive.
Bloomington’s short-handed board of public works still worked its way through a Tuesday agenda that included: renewal of the $10,000 annual licenses for two scooter companies; an agreement with an artist to refurbish the 7th Street underpass mural; two public improvement bond estimates; and a noise permit for a Rally for Life event.
The three-member board has one open seat, due to the resignation of Dana Henke, which was effective at the end of the year. For Tuesday’s meeting, that still left a quorum in the form of Kyla Cox Deckard and Beth Hollingsworth. Acting as president for Tuesday’s meeting was the board’s secretary, Kyla Cox Deckard.
By mid-afternoon on Thursday, workers had completed the installation of the colorful quilt-patterned panels on three sides of the new 4th Street parking garage in downtown Bloomington.
As they were packing up their gear, the crew from Ignition Arts, which did the fabrication and installation of the piece, told The B Square they were glad to have wrapped up the work before Christmas Eve.
The garage has been open for parking since Aug. 23.
Since its opening, a collection of incidents at the garage, in combination with city staffing challenges, has led the public works department to add some private security patrols.
The payment system for the garage was not immediately operational when the garage opened, but it has since been installed. That means it’s possible to start trying to track occupancy levels, which have mostly been only a fraction of the 540-space capacity.