(BLOOMINGTON) – In its ongoing effort safely to advance economic vitality and quality of life during the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Bloomington has expanded a pilot project that creates pedestrian space within three blocks on Kirkwood Avenue through the end of the year.
Closing the blocks from Indiana Avenue to Dunn Street, Dunn Street to Grant Street, and Washington Street to Walnut Street to motorized vehicles over the weekends since mid-June has allowed restaurants and businesses in these blocks to provide outdoor seating and commerce in the street to facilitate physical distancing for their customers. At the request of the participating businesses, the City has extended the pilot so that the blocks from Dunn to Grant and Walnut to Washington will remain closed to motorized vehicles throughout the week until December 31, 2020. The block from Indiana to Dunn will reopen on weekdays.
The parking needs of those patronizing or working in downtown establishments are being met through newly added pick-up/drop-off spaces offering free 15-minute parking across downtown and the availability of free parking in four nearby Indiana University lots after 5 p.m. nightly and on weekends (see locations below).
“The City is eager to support our downtown economy with creative solutions as we grapple with the challenges of the COVID pandemic,” said Mayor John Hamilton. “It’s great to see Kirkwood bustling again — within safe guidelines, of course — and we appreciate IU’s supporting this vitality with parking options.”
The decision to extend the pilot was based on the Kirkwood Community Association’s determination that the pilot project has served safely to support member businesses during the public health crisis. Removable bollards installed as part of the Kirkwood Avenue Maintenance Project will continue to protect the temporary pedestrian space, while vehicular traffic will continue to flow north and south on the streets intersecting Kirkwood. The pilot was implemented after the Board of Public Works’ approval of a petition for temporary encroachment into the street June 9, and has limited the aforementioned blocks to pedestrian traffic Thursdays at 2 p.m through Mondays at 8 a.m.
“We appreciate the strong collaboration between the downtown business community and City leadership as the community struggles to remain vibrant during the COVID crisis,” said Talisha Coppock, President of Downtown Bloomington, Inc. “This additional closure period will allow businesses to invest in outdoor infrastructure to help them serve customers during the colder months.”
Since August 1, the City has offered 15 minute free parking at more than 50 spaces across 30 downtown blocks for those picking up meals from downtown restaurants and other brief errands. A map of these pick-up/drop-off (PUDO) spaces, which were approved as part of another pilot project, is available here.
Indiana University offers free parking without a permit at the following locations after 5 p.m. nightly and on weekends:
- The lot behind the Von Lee between Dunn Street and Indiana Avenue (lot #404)
- The lot on the corner of East Fourth and Dunn Streets (lot #412)
- The lot at East Sixth and Dunn Streets (lot #402)
- The Poplars Garage on East Sixth Street between Dunn and Grant Streets