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Bloomington locals provide feedback on the Second Street project’s transit and safety needs



Bloomington, Indiana – Tuesday’s public meeting at the Bloomington First Church of the Nazarene saw concerns from the community regarding several planned improvements to West Second Street, which were answered by city engineering experts.

As part of its West Second Street Modernization and Safety Improvements project, the city intends to build a two-way protected bike lane on West Second Street that will extend from the B-Line Trail to South Walker Street. Other enhancements to Second Street between the B-Line Trail and South Walker Street are also part of this project. The city will link the B-Line Trail with a multi-use route on West Second Street and West Bloomfield Road by building this bike lane.

The protected bike lanes will each be five feet wide, with a median separating the lanes from oncoming traffic, according to Kendall Knoke, the city’s project engineer.

The city will also build sidewalks, curb ramps, and bus stops in addition to upgrading the storm sewer and drainage systems and replacing the traffic lights at two junctions on West Second Street.

Sam Dixon, a resident of Bloomington, stated during the public comment period that he believes the city should add vertical deflection—alterations to a roadway’s height, such as raised crosswalks or speed bumps that force cars to slow down—wherever the B-Line Trail crosses Second Street to prevent cars from hitting bicyclists and pedestrians.

“I think the project is looking like it’s heading in the right direction, and I love seeing pedestrian islands to protect people who need to cross the street,” Dixon said. “Again, fixing the lighting and the drainage will all help with safety which I think is the ultimate goal.”

AssociatedDue to water damage, the Southwest Branch of the Monroe County Public Library was temporarily closed. It could require three to four weeks for repairs.

According to Bloomington local Dave Huber, the city should consider the complete experience of bicyclists and pedestrians when planning the renovation.

“When I look at the project goals there are a lot of great functionality requirements in there — improving the lights, making things functional from a utility perspective and that’s excellent — and I would like to see at the top of that list creating a wonderful walking and biking experience in Bloomington,” Huber said. “I think as the world continues to change, people want to live in great cities that you can walk and bike in easily.”

Sarah Ryterband, a resident of Second Street, questioned meeting attendees about the city’s plans for the property, sidewalks, and roadways on her street’s south side.

“This is land on the south side, that is owned by the city of Bloomington, and I’ve certainly noticed that it’s not being cared for,” Ryterband said. “During the recent snow, none of that snow was removed from any of that land and some of us would walk on the streets. And as pedestrians, I believe not only is there an ordinance, but we deserve to be safe.”

Given how dark the region gets at night, she also requested the city to restore the faulty lighting that stretches from Maple Street to Rogers Street in Bloomington.

“It is dark, and if you’re walking at night in that area, it’s rather frightening,” Ryterbrand said.

As part of the modernization project, Knoke stated that the city is trying to fix the damaged lights on Second Street. He also promised to look into the best way to deal with clearing the snow on the city’s south side.

The transportation improvement program of the Bloomington-Monroe County Metropolitan Planning Organization serves as the project’s guide, while the Park General Obligation Bond, which was approved by the city council in 2022 to finance public works and park infrastructure projects, provides funding for the modernization project.

The webpage for the modernization project states that the upgrades to West Second Street will aid with the Hopewell project and another nearby redevelopment.

The old site of the IU Health Bloomington Hospital, 24 acres along West Second Street, was set to be redeveloped, the city stated in 2018. Following the construction of the new IU Health Regional Academic Health Center in 2021, IU Health gave the site to the city. Up to 1,000 new homes may be included in Hopewell, the area that will replace the hospital. In July 2023, the city started construction on the Hopewell development.

AssociatedThe Bloomington City Council has set up $855,868 for physical infrastructure and social services. The monies were approved by the council 9 to 0.

In charge of the Hopewell development’s public planning, Richard Lewis, a community representative, urged the city to consider how it will meet the transportation requirements of future residents who move into the new neighborhood.

“We’re developing what will be a whole new neighborhood, and I think the aspiration is mixed levels of affordability in that housing,” Lewis said. “So that to me demonstrates a real need for public transportation at that spot.”

Knoke continued by saying that to make sure the plan appropriately provides for emergency vehicles, his agency worked with the Bloomington Fire Agency. To make sure that bus stops are placed in a way that supports the Transform Bloomington Transit Strategic Plan, he said the city is also working with Bloomington Transit.

The West Second Modernization and Safety Improvement project is expected to start construction in 2025 and take over a year to complete, according to city estimates.