Stopping not slowing: Bloomington neighborhood pushes for all-way stop, traffic commission says no

Residents who live near the intersection of Maxwell Lane and Sheridan Drive, which is located in a central Bloomington neighborhood, want to be able to walk across Maxwell, without “scurrying” to the other side.

As Stephanie Hatton put it, when she addressed Bloomington’s traffic commission on Wednesday night, “We feel that the only way to make this intersection truly safe for all is to legally require vehicles to cease—not just slow down or be calmed.”

Hatton added, “An all-way stop ensures pedestrians of all ages and abilities have the time and right-of-way to cross safely.”

Neighbor and former city clerk Regina Moore called Hatton’s presentation to the commission at its Wednesday meeting “one of the most extensive and well-presented citizen presentations that I’ve witnessed in my over 30 years of attending city meetings.”

Despite Hatton’s presentation, if the requested all-way stop is installed, it won’t be with the support of the city’s traffic commission.

On a 5-2 vote the commission instead supported the engineering department’s staff written recommendation, which stated: that “[T]his intersection does not meet the MUTCD (Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices) guidelines for all-way stop control…”

The added stop signs would require Maxwell Lane traffic to stop at Sheridan Drive. Continue reading “Stopping not slowing: Bloomington neighborhood pushes for all-way stop, traffic commission says no”

Bloomington’s Lower Cascades Road to reopen after pilot closure, but “not anytime soon”

Late Tuesday afternoon, a Bloomington city staff recommendation to permanently reopen the road through Lower Cascades Park was delivered to the four-member board of park commissioners.

That was followed by an update to the three-member board of public works from public works director Adam Wason, about the parks staff recommendation to re-open the road.

That meant board of public works members did not have to vote on the question of a road closure.

Still, Wason told them the road could not be opened “anytime soon.” For one thing, the road sustained substantial damage as a result of weekend’s heavy rains, which caused flooding in several places.

For another thing, it will take some time to design and construct the kind of traffic calming measures that are being recommended—to try to make the road safer for people bicycling and walking along the park road. Continue reading “Bloomington’s Lower Cascades Road to reopen after pilot closure, but “not anytime soon””

Bloomington city council greenlights revised traffic calming program

Bloomington’s neighborhood traffic safety program (NTSP) has been overhauled and replaced with a traffic calming and greenways program (TCGP).

Among other things, the program is meant to help curtail speeding in residential neighborhoods.

When Bloomington’s city council approved the revised program at its meeting last Wednesday, it OK’d more than just a change to the name.

A key difference between the old program and the revised one is the way it measures required neighborhood support for a proposed traffic calming project. The old program required a measurement of neighborhood support at two stages—on application and after a project design was selected.

In the old program, an application petition needed to be signed by 51 percent of households in the affected area. Later, after a project design was selected, more than 50 percent of households had to return a ballot voting in favor of it. That’s a percentage that was applied not to the returned ballots, but to the whole set of eligible households.

In the revised program, the formal voting step has been eliminated. And the petitioning step has a reduced signature threshold. Instead of requiring 51 percent of signatures from households in the affected area, it’s now 30 percent of households or 24 signatures, whichever is less. Continue reading “Bloomington city council greenlights revised traffic calming program”