Bloomington trail closures, detours to be decided “in collaboration” with engineering department

Signage for closure of The B Line during the recent removal of some callery pear trees. (From slide presented by parks operation director Tim Streets at the board of park commissioners Jan. 24, 2023 meeting.)
The signage for the closure of The B-Line Trail in 2022 near the Johnson’s Creamery smokestack came in the form of an 8.5 x 11 laminated sheet, which is barely visible on the chain link fence.

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.

The development of the policy came after complaints about the city’s implementation last year of a detour and signage for a B-Line closure. That closure was made in connection with the unsafe building order issued by the city for the Johnson’s Creamery smokestack. Continue reading “Bloomington trail closures, detours to be decided “in collaboration” with engineering department”

Parks board, city engineer: Collaboration, consultation, or supervision on trail closures?

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.

A counterpoint to Whitlach’s position came during public commentary from Bloomington resident Greg Alexander, who has, in his capacity as a member of the city’s traffic commission, for the last few months pushed the issue of the engineer’s role in making decisions about public right-of-way like The B-Line Trail. Continue reading “Parks board, city engineer: Collaboration, consultation, or supervision on trail closures?”