Progress on the Next Phase of Karst Farm Greenway

27 Aug
Stone down on the Karst Farm Greenway 2A

Stone down on the Karst Farm Greenway Phase 2A

After a rough (and very wet) construction season that didn’t see much progress, things are finally moving again with the next phase of the Karst Farm Greenway. So-called Phase 2A consists of around a mile of new trail, starting where Phase 1 of the greenway ends at Vernal Pike at the south, running along Loesch Road, up to the railroad to the north. The red segment on the map below shows Phase 2A. I’ve written about this section before here: Next Phase of Karst Farm Greenway Begins.

Karst Farm Greenway

Karst Farm Greenway

Contractors started putting stone down yesterday, and if all goes well, paving will begin by this weekend, with an estimated completion date of the entire phase 2A by October 15th.

Phase 2B, the segment that stretches from the north end of Phase 2A all the way to Ellettsville at Hartstrait Road, is not yet funded, and so does not yet have an estimated start date.

Parking area at the north end of Phase 2A

Parking area at the north end of Phase 2A

New culverts

New culverts

Update: Rockport Road Bridge Now Open; Fullerton Pike Closed

23 Aug

Very brief update here. Last week I wrote about the near completion of the Rockport Road bridge over I-69, along with the realignment of That Road. Now the bridge and new That Road are both open! And Fullerton Pike eastbound from SR37/I-69 is now closed.

Rockport Road bridge over I-69, westbound

Rockport Road bridge over I-69, westbound

Rockport Road Bridge over I-69 Nearly Complete

16 Aug

Another quick update on I-69 construction — it appears that the Rockport Road overpass over SR 37/future I-69 is ready to open any day now, as is the new alignment of That Road connecting to Rockport Road.

The following map shows the overpass, as well as the new That Road alignment. That Road on the east side of I-69 will no longer connect to That Road on the west side. Instead, That Road on the east side will turn north (as shown by the red line below) and connect with Rockport Road. The red lines are a bit squiggly because I created them using RunKeeper, and unfortunately I can’t always walk in a perfectly straight line!

Screenshot 2015-08-16 17.22.13

Here are a few pictures of the new road:

Rockport Road, Facing Northeast

Rockport Road, facing northeast to the edge of the new construction

Rockport Road bridge over I-69

Newly paved and striped Rockport Road bridge going over I-69. The road includes on-street bike lanes in each direction, which you can see to the right.

Western Terminus of Rockport Road Overpass Over I-69

This is the western terminus of the overpass. There is still a bit of work to be done on the transition.


New alignment of That Road, which will no longer cross I-69. This is a new-terrain road that connects That Road on the east side of I-69 to Rockport Road.

Since That Road on the east side of I-69 will no longer connect with or align with That Road on the west side of I-69, there has been some suggestion that That Road on the west side should be renamed. Might I suggest “This Road”?

Progress on Harmony Road Bridge on I-69

26 Jul

The HT published an article this morning (“INDOT confident Section 4 of I-69 will open by the end of 2015“), which probably came as a surprise to a lot of people, including myself, who have seen Section 4 (the section running from Crane up to south of Bloomington) looking pretty much like a dirt road even very recently. So I decided to stop by this morning and visit what is probably the most technically challenging part of I-69 Section 4 in Monroe County — the Harmony Road bridge — and was surprised to see how far along things were.

Although the bridge isn’t finished, the prestressed concrete structural elements are all in place, and I had no problem walking across it. The contractors are in the process of excavating what appears to be about another 30 feet of earth beneath it. And the main line of the highway to the west is already paved.

IMG_2386 IMG_2388 IMG_2389 IMG_2390 IMG_2384 IMG_2385 IMG_2380 IMG_2381 IMG_2383 IMG_2375 2 IMG_2377 IMG_2378 IMG_2379  IMG_2374 2

This has been probably the most disruptive road closure in the whole project so far; I’m sure the residents will be very glad to have Harmony Road finished and open again!

Next week I’ll try to make it back down to Black Ankle Creek in Greene County, which is probably the longest bridge in the whole highway.

Preview of Monroe County Council Meeting 2015-07-14

14 Jul
2015 Monroe County Council

2015 Monroe County Council

The packet and agenda for today’s regular meeting of the Monroe County Council is now available: Council_Packet_2015_07_14.

Here are the highlights of the meeting:

  • The County Commissioners are requesting an additional appropriation of $15,000 for emergency shelter support.
    • The intent of this request is to be able to provide temporary funding to keep the Martha’s House emergency shelter operational until the end of the year, in order to provide enough “breathing room” to find a sustainable organization to operate the shelter.
    • The nonprofit organization that ran Martha’s House dissolved as of June 30, 2015, leaving the shelter’s future in doubt. Perry Township, which owns the property, has pledged 90 days’ worth of additional operational funding (around $45K).
    • The County is hoping to be able to partner with the City of Bloomington, Bloomington Township, and potentially other organizations to come up with another 90 days’ operational funding, with the idea that this would be enough time to identify a stable organization that could operate the shelter.
    • In the interim, Monroe County United Way has agreed to be the fiscal agent for the shelter.
    • This is really a joint request from the County Commissioners and several members of the County Council (Shelli Yoder, Cheryl Munson, and myself); however these types of social service appropriations outside of the Sophia Travis Community Service Grants program typically appear in the Commissioners’ budget.
  • The Emergency Management department is requesting the appropriation of a grant from the state for an off-road vehicle (a John Deer Gator) for use in remote incident situations, and will include medical transport equipment (“med-bed”).
  • The Auditor is requesting an appropriation of $25K out of the Ineligible Deduction fund (which comes from taxes and penalties recovered from those who have claimed multiple homestead deductions) to fund personnel training on the accounting system and rack space for servers.
  • The Prosecutor is requesting the appropriation of grant funding from the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute to fund one year’s salary and most benefits for a Sex Crimes Deputy Prosecutor’s Investigative Assistant.
  • The Legal Department will be presenting the proposed 2016 interlocal agreement with the City of Bloomington and the Town of Ellettsville for animal management.
    • This agreement allows Monroe County Government to enforce animal control ordinances in the Town of Ellettsville.
    • It also allows the county and Ellettsville to use the City of Bloomington’s animal shelter, and specifies the payments made by the County and Ellettsville for use of the shelter.
    • The formula used to determine payments is based on the overall operations budget for the animal shelter and the percentage of animals housed at the shelter (picked up by animal control officers, strays brought in by county residents, and animals relinquished by residents) from outside the city as a percentage of all animals handled by the shelter from the previous year.
    • For the budget year 2016, the County’s share will go down from $310,067 in 2015 to $254,011 in 2014.
  • The Legal Department will also be presenting an interlocal agreement with the City of Bloomington that specifies the distribution of the 2015 Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant. The County will receive $4,722 out of a total of the $23,860 grant (the split is determined by the percentage of violent crime that occurs in the city and outside the city).
    • The City of Bloomington intends to spend its grant on body-worn cameras for officers
    • The County intends to spend its grant on in-car video system for police vehicles
  • The Legal Department will present to the County Council the annual reports from the Monroe County Redevelopment Commission for its 3 TIF districts (west side, North Park, and Fullerton Pike).
  • The County Council will confirm its dates for budget hearings. The proposed dates are:
    • Hearing Dates:
      • Tuesday, September 1 5:00 – 9:00 pm
      • Thursday, September 3 5:00 – 9:00 pm
      • Tuesday, September 8 5:00 – 9:00 pm (Regular Session Council Meeting Date)
      • Wednesday, September 9 5:00 – 9:00 pm
      • Friday, September 11 9:00 am – 1:00 pm
      • Tuesday, September 15 9:00 am – 1:00 pm
    • Budget Adoption Date:
      • Tuesday, September 22 5:30 pm
  • The County Council will consider an amendment to the wheel tax/excise surtax (also known as a local option highway user tax) ordinance. This is an administrative correction to an error that the council made in a previous amendment.
  • The County Council will consider an appointment to fill a vacancy on the Monroe County Environmental Quality and Sustainability Commission, and the Council President will make 2 citizen appointments to the Sophia Travis Community Service Grant Committee.

As always, the meeting is open to the public, and will be held tonight at 5:30 in the Nat U Hill room of the Monroe County Courthouse, and it will be broadcast on CATS. Public comment will be taken. Hope to see you there!

Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) Meeting Today — Fullerton Pike, Other Road Projects

8 May

FullSizeRenderThis is one of those blog postings that I wish I had made several days earlier (in my copious free time, of course!). Honestly, I had expected more press coverage, beyond a generic announcement of the meeting.Today’s meeting of the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) Policy Committee (1:30PM at City Council Chambers) is a very important one, with several key votes scheduled for critical (and sometimes controversial) road projects. The three main items up for discussion and vote are:

  • Adoption of the 2035 Long Range Transportation Plan (Draft 2035 Long Range Transportation Plan)
  • Certification of Complete Streets compliance for 3 road projects
  • Adoption of the 2016-2019 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP)

I’ll talk very briefly about each of these items.

Adoption of the 2035 Long Range Transportation Plan

Our current long-range transportation plan (LRTP), covering up to 2030, expires on May 14, 2014. If a new plan is not adopted to replace it in time, the existing Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) will be frozen, and transportation projects will not be able to be modified. The TIP is a document that spans four fiscal years, and documents the distribution of MPO funding throughout the region. A project must be in the TIP to be eligible for federal transportation funding. If the 2030 LRTP is allowed to expire, the existing 2015-2018 TIP will be frozen in place, giving us no flexibility for modification.

Unfortunately, the MPO has not been able to complete the 2040 LRTP in time to supersede the expiring 2030 LRTP. MPO staff has been working with a consultant to use new analytic methods and modeling techniques for the new plan — but has not been successful in completing the work in time. Therefore, they are proposing that we adopt an interim 2035 LRTP that is essentially identical to the 2030 LRTP (with updated demographic and financial projections) in order to “buy” more time to complete the 2040 LRTP. It is this interim 2035 LRTP that we will be asked to vote on today.

Certification of Complete  Streets Compliance

The MPO Policy Committee will be asked to certify that three projects in the proposed 2016-2019 TIP compliant with the MPO Complete Streets Policy:

  • West 17th Street Reconstruction
  • Woodlawn Avenue Railroad Crossing
  • Fullerton Pike Phase 2 (from just East of Walnut Street Pike, near the Rhorer Road Krogers to 500 feet West of Rogers Street)

The Fullerton Pike Phase 2 compliance discussion will undoubtedly be controversial, as many residents, particularly those who live along the corridor, have strong opinions on this project. The MPO Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) two weeks ago declined to certify the Fullerton Pike Phase 2 project as compliant with the Complete Streets policy.

Approval of 2016-2019 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP)

The MPO will be asked to approve the 2016-2019 TIP, which will specify the allocation of MPO funding for area transportation projects. Inclusion in the TIP is a requirement for projects that will receive federal funding. The following projects are in the proposed/draft 2016-2019 TIP:

  • Monroe County
    • Fullerton Pike Phase 1 (from just west of Walnut Street to just east of Walnut Street Pike)
    • Fullerton Pike Phase 2 (from just east of Walnut Street Pike to just west of Rogers Street)
    • Karst Farm Greenway Phase  3 (construction of multi-use trail from railbanked Monon corridor to Hartstraight Road, to tie into the Ellettsville Heritage Trail)
    • Signal backplate installation at county signalized  intersections
    • Bridge safety inventory and inspection
  • City of Bloomington
    • Reconstruction of Old SR37 and Dunn Street
    • Reconstruction of Tapp Rd and Rockport Rd
    • Black Lumber Trail (multi-use trail from Henderson St to Walnut St)
    • Installation of Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon at Allen St and Walnut St intersection
    • Guardrail on south side of Moore’s Pike at Southeast Park
    • Construction of at-grade railroad crossing at Woodlawn Ave between 12th and 13th Sts
    • Pedestrian refuge island at 4th St and Rogers St intersection
    • Traffic signal modernization at 3rd St and Woodscrest Dr intersection
    • Sidepath construction on north side of E. Rogers Rd at the Jackson Creek bridge to The Stands Dr
    • Sidepath construction on S Henderson from Black Lumber Trail to Winslow Rd
    • Sidepath construction on Winslow Rd from S Walnut St to S Highland Ave
    • Retrofitting curb ramps for compliance with ADA
    • Jackson Creek Trail from Southeast Park/Arden Drive to High Street then to Sherwood Oaks Park/Goat Farm to Rhorer Road and east to Sare Road
    • 17th Street Reconstruction
    • 2nd St and College Ave signal replacement
  • Bloomington Transit
    • Passenger Shelters
    • Operational Assistance
    • Purchase Major Vehicle Components
    • Purchase BT Access vehicles
    • Support Vehicle replacement
    • Exhaust system upgrade at garage
    • Fleet maintenance software
    • Surveillance equipment
    • Two-way radio communications equipment
    • 35 foot hybrid bus replacement
    • Replace fare collection equipment
    • Mobility management program
    • 40 foot diesel bus replacement
  • Rural Transit
    • Operation of Rural Transit
    • Bus maintenance
    • SR45 pavement, from SR46 to Unionville
    • I-69 Section 5
    • SR45/46 pavement
    • SR37 from Dillman Road to I-69
    • SR46 traffic signal visibility/back-plate installation
    • Underwater bridge inspections
    • Bridge load rating inspections

The complete packet for the MPO Policy Committee meeting can be found here: MPO Packet 2015-05-08. Public comment will be taken on all items up for a vote (including all of the items discussed above).

I-69 Section 5 Public Open House Tonight (Wed, 4/29/2015, 6:30-7:30PM)

29 Apr

I-69 Development Partners, the contractor hired to build I-69 Section 5 (the section from Bloomington to Martinsville) will be holding a public open house TONIGHT, from 6:30-7:30PM at the Holiday Inn at 1710 Kinser Pike. I’m surprised that this event has not received any publicity, as far as I can tell.

This is an opportunity to look at plans and scheduling, and ask questions.



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