(BLOOMINGTON) – The City of Bloomington continues to advance projects enhancing safety, transportation, economic vitality, and quality of life this spring. Improvements to city streets, parking facilities, and bicycle/pedestrian infrastructure are among the essential activities permitted to proceed by state and local regulations and in compliance with current public health guidelines.
City employees are practicing and working with contractors to implement CDC protocols regarding physical distancing, hygiene, and disinfection of vehicles and equipment to protect workers engaged in these projects and prevent community transmission of COVID-19.
Trades District and Fourth Street Garages
The City’s two garage projects are proceeding at the Trades District and on Fourth Street. Foundations are being installed at the site where the garage serving the City’s new innovation district will be constructed, just south of West Tenth Street between the Showers City Hall building and the B-Line Trail. As construction of the garage proceeds over the coming months, motorists are advised to avoid Tenth Street between Rogers and Morton, or to exercise caution, as the road will be frequently narrowed to a single lane or closed to traffic. Contractors have been instructed to keep the roadways as clean as possible and to ensure that traffic safety measures are in place. The Trades District Parking Garage will add 350 spaces to the inventory of parking spaces downtown upon completion in late 2020 or early 2021.
Its design approved by the City Plan Commission March 9, the Fourth Street Garage project continues to progress favorably. As the City awaits the return of two bid packages for the project, consideration is being given to the way the structure will enhance its environs, including the incorporation of a pedestrian friendly plaza along the south end of the garage. This plaza will connect with the alley to the west of the garage, animating the street level on a regular basis and especially for the purpose of street fairs and other pedestrian-oriented events.
Construction activity on the Fourth Street Garage is expected to begin in July, necessitating the closure of the westernmost lane of Walnut Street along the site. Once underway, the project to construct the 500-plus-vehicle facility should require 12 months to complete. The Fourth Street Garage and the Trades District Garage will be the first two garages in Indiana designed and built to achieve Parksmart-certification, based on compliance with guidelines that reduce environmental impact, increase energy efficiency and performance, and manage parking spaces efficiently.
Kirkwood Avenue Maintenance Project
Over the last four weeks, the Kirkwood Avenue Maintenance Project has progressed with the construction of pedestrian enhancements to Bloomington’s landmark boulevard. The project is replacing deteriorating brick crosswalks at each intersection and installing removable bollard barriers to restrict vehicular traffic during street fairs and festivals. A new north-south crosswalk on the west side of Indiana Avenue and four crosswalks at the intersection of Kirkwood and Grant have been completed and those intersections reopened.
Curb and crosswalk replacement is currently underway at the intersections at Washington and at Dunn, which have been closed to traffic. Traffic on Washington Street is currently running in two directions between Fourth Street and Kirkwood, until the intersection there reopens Friday, May 8 (weather permitting). While the intersection at Dunn and Kirkwood is closed, Dunn Street will temporarily function as a two-way street from Sixth Street to the closure at Kirkwood, and from Fourth Street to the closure to allow patrons and delivery trucks access to the businesses in the affected area.
For the duration of the project, traffic will be able to flow through the intersections not under construction. By design no two adjacent intersections will be closed simultaneously, to allow for access to businesses and residences in the area. In all, 18 curb ramps and 18 stamped concrete crosswalks at Indiana, Dunn, Grant, Lincoln, and Washington together with 90+ bollards along Kirkwood are scheduled for installation by June 1. After milling and paving the entire length of Kirkwood, the project is expected to be complete by the end of June. More information is available here.
Milling/Paving and Concrete Repair
With spring’s warmer temperatures, the 2020 paving schedule has begun and concrete and curb repair is underway. Milling, the process of removing part of the surface of a road in preparation for repaving, is taking place this week along South Swain Avenue from East Atwater to the road’s end, and on South Rose Avenue from East Third Street to East Hunter Avenue and from East Second Street to the road’s end. Crews will resurface East Atwater Avenue from South Highland Avenue to South Mitchell Street and repair the island at 1100 West Second Street May 6-7. Earlier this week, the retaining wall along Bloomfield Road at Twin Lakes was repaired. This year’s proposed paving schedule is mapped at this link.
East Third Street Resurfacing/Reconfiguration Project
The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) is currently replacing curb ramps at Park Ridge Road and Pete Ellis Drive as part of a resurfacing/reconfiguration project on East Third Street between College Mall Road and State Road 446. The project includes patching, milling and paving, and curb ramp replacement along the 1.4-mile section. Following paving, the roadway will be reconfigured between Clarizz and S.R. 446 to include a center turn lane, with one travel lane in each direction. Bike lanes will also be incorporated on each side. The project is scheduled to be completed by August 2020. More information about the project is available through INDOT at in.gov/indot or 1-855-463-6848.
Lower Cascades Pilot Road Conversion
Since March 13, a 0.6-mile section of Old State Road 37 North has been converted to a trail for a six-month pilot project. The trail, which is closed to motor vehicles, extends from a point just north of the IMI quarry entrance to a point just south of the entrance to the southernmost playground parking lot. One of seven public amenity improvements being funded by City Bicentennial Bonds issued in 2018, the pilot trail project is intended to expand and integrate with Bloomington’s network of walking and bicycle trails; provide a safe, accessible destination for recreation and exercise; and offer bicycle commuters additional options for safer routes. The widest trail in the city’s system, the Cascades Pilot Trail offers users maximal opportunity for physical distancing in compliance with current public health guidelines. Trail users may share their experience of the Lower Cascades Pilot Trail Conversion at a survey that will help inform the decision to extend the trial.
West Allen Traffic Calming Project
Speed hump installation on West Allen Street between Adams Street and Patterson Drive is complete, and the street has reopened to two-way traffic, with minor work on the project — including installation of permanent striping — to continue for the next few weeks. Subsequent full lane closures are not expected, but traffic will be reduced to a single lane during striping, and a flagger stationed to alternate traffic around the worksite. More information about the project is available here.
When encountering the foregoing improvement projects, drivers are asked to travel slowly, cautiously, and distraction-free through every construction zone and be attentive to lane changes for their safety and that of the workers.