$32K lawsuit payout for scooter crash on bad concrete: A quick look at Bloomington’s plan for sidewalk repair

In October of 2018, just a month after shared-use electric scooters arrived in Bloomington, a downtown worker was scooting home late at night, when he crashed as he was cruising downhill on a North College Avenue sidewalk.

The crash, which broke a bone in the scooter rider’s hand, occurred along the sidewalk on the west side of College, between 15th and 17th streets.

The scooter rider filed a lawsuit against the city of Bloomington and eventually against the adjoining property owner as well. The legal complaint contended that the crash was caused by the bad condition of the sidewalk.

Bloomington answered the complaint with a number of defenses, among them that the city “did not have prior notice of, nor opportunity to correct” the condition of the sidewalk that was alleged to have caused the scooter crash.

According to court documents, in late May of this year, a mediated settlement was reached, which resulted in a payment of $11,000 by Bloomington and $21,000 by the adjoining property owner.

If a sidewalk is bad enough to cause an accident, how is it supposed to get repaired? And what is the general condition of Bloomington sidewalks? Does Bloomington have a systematic approach to putting public sidewalks in good repair? Continue reading “$32K lawsuit payout for scooter crash on bad concrete: A quick look at Bloomington’s plan for sidewalk repair”

Sidewalk committee climbing a $17M mountain with $300K annual steps: Half-century until summit

On Monday at noon, Bloomington city council’s sidewalk committee met for the second time in the last couple weeks, to sort through 62 proposed new sidewalk construction projects for 2020.

Council Sidewalk Map UpdatedThis year, the four-member group has $324,000 to allocate towards the projects, one of which, along Dunn Street, has been on the list for two decades, since 2001.

This year’s total of $324,000 reflects an increasing trend. Over the last 10 years, the council has averaged around $280,000 per year in approvals, with the last six years right around $300,000 or slightly higher.

The money comes from the city’s alternative transportation fund (ATF), which was established in 1992 as part of the same ordinance that created the residential neighborhood parking permit program.

According to the residential neighborhood parking permit ordinance, “funds received in excess of the annual cost of operating the program shall go into an Alternative Transportation Fund.” Expenditures from the fund are supposed to be for the purpose of “reducing our community’s dependence upon the automobile.” Continue reading “Sidewalk committee climbing a $17M mountain with $300K annual steps: Half-century until summit”