Under a new policy, when multi-use trails in Bloomington are closed—because of work by contractors or a dangerous situation—a detour has to be provided that gives trail users a convenient alternate route.
The policy was adopted by Bloomington’s board of park commissioners at its regular meeting on Tuesday.
Under the new policy, the closure has to be marked with signage that’s compliant with the Indiana Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD).
The policy also says that the decisions by the board about trail closures and detours have to be made “in collaboration” with the city engineer.
Bloomington park commissioner Jim Whitlach (Nov. 15, 2022)
Bloomington park commissioner Ellen Rodkey (Nov. 15, 2022).
Bloomington’s director of park operations Tim Street. In the foreground is Bloomington resident Greg Alexander (Nov. 15, 2022).
As currently drafted, a proposed new Bloomington parks policy would spell out how temporary and emergency closures of trails are implemented by the board of park commissioners—in “collaboration” with the city engineer.
On Tuesday, at its regular monthly meeting, the adoption of that policy was tabled by the board.
The presentation of the proposed new policy came from Tim Street, who is director of park operations. He described the policy as stemming from the closure of The B-Line early in the year, due to the hazard posed by the Johnson’s Creamery smokestack. The smokestack has now been partially demolished.
The board tabled the adoption of the new policy after park commissioner Jim Whitlach, who’s an attorney, questioned the use of the word “collaboration” to describe the activity to be undertaken between the board of park commissioners and the city engineer.
Whitlach said he would prefer that the policy make clear that it’s the board that makes the decision. So Whitlach said the policy should say the board decides not in “collaboration” with, but in “consultation” with the city engineer.
Original signage for the detour, which persisted for a few days after the revised detour was implemented.
The initial closure did not include any demarcated route. The image is from Monroe County’s online property lookup system, in February 2022.
On Wednesday, at Bloomington’s traffic commission meeting, a question from commissioner Greg Alexander left city attorney Mike Rouker stumped:
“If I was to ask the question, ‘What is the B-Line right-of-way within the terms of Chapter 12.08?’ where would I look, if not the transportation plan?”
Rouker’s answer: “I don’t know the answer to that question off the top of my head.”
The question came after a sharp back-and-forth between Rouker and Alexander about whether the B-Line is right-of-way, according to the city’s adopted transportation plan.
The backdrop of the discussion was the January closure of the B-Line in connection with the hazard posed by the Johnson’s Creamery smokestack. The smokestack has now been partially demolished down to 60 feet, and the trail has re-opened.