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Residents march against the mayor’s proposal to prohibit automobiles from using Lower Cascades Road



Bloomington, Indiana – Residents of Bloomington gathered at Lower Cascades Park on Saturday in opposition to the city’s proposed plan to permanently block off a portion of Old State Road 37 to traffic. Some locals can park along the road that passes through Lower Cascades Park and travel about the area.

The city closed off a portion of the route to motor traffic for several months beginning in March 2020 as part of a road pilot study in 2020. Residents were given the opportunity to participate in an online survey by the city regarding their time at the park while it was closed.

While there were a variety of replies to the city’s “Impact of Lower Cascades Road Conversion Pilot” survey, almost 60% of respondents claimed they visited the park less frequently than they did before the closure. The majority of respondents agreed that both lanes should remain available to traffic. Residents expressed worries in the survey about how blocking the road may make the park inaccessible to those with disabilities, lengthen the time it takes for emergency responders to reach the scene, and cut off the park from the rest of the city.

The Bloomington Board of Park Commissioners suggested that the route reopen to traffic in June 2021 after the initial pilot closure.

Despite these findings and the advice, Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton urged the city council to take the closure and creation of a 0.6-mile pedestrian and bicycle track into consideration. The city council meeting on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. will feature a report on Hamilton’s plan, even though he has not yet formally proposed blocking the route.

At the demonstration, city councilwoman Isabel Piedmont-Smith and Greg Alexander, a member of the city traffic commission, spoke in favor of the proposal, according to Indiana Public Media. Alexander claimed that the road was currently unsafe for citizens to walk on to get to the park. Sue Sgambelluri, a councilwoman from District 2, which includes Lower Cascades Park, and Susan Sandberg were also present at the event.

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