Bloomington park commissioners give final OK to $5.8 million in GO bonds

On Monday afternoon, Bloomington’s board of park commissioners convened a special meeting to approve $5.8 million in parks general obligation bonds, to pay for some multi-use trail and protected bicycle lane projects.

The bonds were a part of Bloomington mayor John Hamilton’s new revenue package, which was recently approved by the city council. The whole package included another $5.8 million in public works bonds,  and a 0.69-point increase in the countywide local income tax, which is expected to generate about $14.5 million annually for the city of Bloomington.

The bond projects approved by the board of park commissioners on Monday included: replacement of missing sidewalk on Rogers St. by Switchyard Park; addition of protected bicycle lanes along Covenanter Drive (from College Mall to Clarizz Blvd); construction design for a North Dunn Street multi-use path (from the SR 45/46 Bypass to Old SR 37); the Griffy Loop Trail dam crossing and community access\ improvements; and modernization of West 2nd Street modernization, including protected bicycle lanes (from Walker Street to BLine trail).

No one spoke during the public commentary period at Monday’s meeting.

Given initial approval by park commissioners in April were two bond projects that the city council later struck from the list: replacement of gas-powered equipment with electric equipment; and a non-motorized connection from Lower Cascades Park to Miller-Showers Park.

So those two projects were not among those approved on Monday by the board of park commissioners.

The final approval of the bonds was previously on the agenda for a late-April meeting of the park commissioners. But they could not take a vote on the item. That’s because under Indiana’s Open Door Law, all members who are voting on a tax increase have to be physically present—not participating through electronic communication. Only two of the four park commissioners were physically present at the late April meeting.

That’s why a special meeting of the park commissioners had to be called. Continue reading “Bloomington park commissioners give final OK to $5.8 million in GO bonds”

7-Line protected bicycle lane: Bicentennial bond backgrounder

The 7-Line is a planned protected bicycle lane running east-west across downtown Bloomington towards the Indiana University campus.

It gets the numeric part of its name from 7th Street, where the 11-foot wide, two-way path will be constructed along the south side of the roadway, sometime in 2021. The non-numeric part of its name is patterned on the B-Line Trail, the north-south multi-use path along the former CSX railroad route that stretches 3.1 miles from Adams Street to Country Club Drive.

The 7-Line will connect to the B-Line just east of Madison Street.

The project has received increased exposure in the last week, as final design details are worked out.

Last Thursday (June 18), the project was introduced in more detail to the public. On Wednesday this week, the traffic commission was asked to weigh in on the changes to city code that are required for the removal of 113 metered parking spaces and the elimination of east-west stop signs at most of the cross streets.

This Thursday (June 25) the parking commission is getting its second look at the project, after discussing it at a work session earlier in the month.

The now-estimated $2 million construction cost will be paid for with parks bonds, which the city council and the board of park commissioners approved in late 2018, over a year and a half ago.

The three series of bonds, totaling $10.27 million were promoted by Bloomington mayor John Hamilton as “bicentennial bonds,” and pitched to the council as “a gift to the future, honoring Bloomington’s two hundred year anniversary.” Continue reading “7-Line protected bicycle lane: Bicentennial bond backgrounder”

Bloomington city council votes to repave College Mall Road on split vote

At its regular meeting Wednesday night, Bloomington’s city council voted to approve an appropriation ordinance that includes, among other things, a reclassification of funds to pay for a repaving of College Mall Road.

The project, which extends between 3rd Street and Moores Pike, is planned for later this summer.

The vote, which was split 6–3 on the nine-member council, came as the clock ticked towards 10:30 p.m., about four hours after the meeting started.

Dissenting on the vote were councilmembers Steve Volan, Matt Flaherty, and Kate Rosenbarger.

The meeting was fraught with procedural wrangling that could be traced to lingering discord from the beginning of the year over the establishment of four-member standing committees of the council.

In the end, the council’s action on Wednesday provided funding for two street projects, which are supposed to start this summer. One is a repaving project—College Mall Road, southward from 3rd Street to Moores Pike.

The other project includes improvements to the intersection at Sare Road and Moores Pike and construction of a multi-use path south of there. Continue reading “Bloomington city council votes to repave College Mall Road on split vote”

Bloomington council committee digs into road funding to weigh repaving of College Mall Road against other transportation goals

A Wednesday meeting of the Bloomington city council’s four-member transportation committee has set up the full council for a possible animated discussion next week.

On the council’s May 20 agenda will be an item related to funding for the repaving of College Mall Road between 3rd Street and Moores Pike.

The agenda item is a hearing on an appropriation ordinance that includes the College Mall repaving. The appropriation also includes some fund transfers that are needed for a couple other transportation projects.

The other projects involve intersection improvements at Sare Road and Moores Pike, and a multi-use path to be built on the west side of Sare Road south of that intersection.

The May 20 meeting could also include a final vote on the appropriation ordinance, which got a first reading on May 6.

On Wednesday, the committee gave the appropriation a mixed reaction. Continue reading “Bloomington council committee digs into road funding to weigh repaving of College Mall Road against other transportation goals”