Tag Archives: trails

MPO Meeting Today: Trail Project and Bike Bridge

9 Jun
Creek Crossing at the INDOT Mitigation Property

Creek Crossing at the INDOT Mitigation Property

Today’s Policy Committee meeting of the Bloomington Metropolitan Planning Organization (1:30PM, in City Council Chambers in the Showers Building) has a pretty light agenda decision-wise, but features two important active transportation/trail projects:

1. The County is asking the MPO to amend both the FY2016-2019 and FY 2018-2021 Transportation Improvement Programs (TIPs) to add a Monroe County greenway project running along the Illinois Central railroad corridor from the existing Clear Creek Trailhead at Church Lane to an INDOT I-69 mitigation property that could be the future site of a county nature park. The mitigation property is a property where INDOT was required to plant and maintain trees to compensate for the trees it cut down for I-69.  I have spoken about this exciting project many times. The purpose of this amendment is to allow the County to spend a $200,000 Recreational Trail Program (RTP) grant it received from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources to develop the trail, which will continue the existing Bloomington Rail Trail and Clear Creek Trail south. The County is putting up the value of the railroad corridor, which the County owns, as the match.

Here is a map I made of the project:

Illinois Central Corridor Greenway Phase 1

Illinois Central Corridor Greenway Phase 1

Incidentally, although I refer to it as the Illinois Central Corridor Greenway, this trail does not yet have an official name.

2. The Bloomington Bicycle Club has long advocated for a bicycle-pedestrian-only bridge over I-69. They have put out some additional information here: http://www.bloomingtonbicycleclub.org/BikePedBridge/. There are also some maps and slides in the MPO Policy Committee Packet that are definitely worth looking at!

They are asking the MPO to formally support the project in principle; however, no funding is being allocated or requested here. I definitely support moving forward on the project (i.e., doing a feasibility analysis to determine usage and costs), and will be supporting the request of the bicycle club to endorse the project.

The packet for the MPO Policy Committee meeting is here: 2017-06-09 MPO Policy Committee Packet.

 

 

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Public Information Meeting on 2018-2021 Transportation Projects Tomorrow at 5:30PM

28 Mar

 

Capture

B-Line Extension Project (Illustrative Only)

For whatever reason the City of Bloomington doesn’t have an official press release out yet, so I am trying to do whatever I can to publicize a public information meeting scheduled for tomorrow evening (Wednesday, March 29, 2017 at 5:30PM at the Downtown Bloomington Transit Center, corner of N. Walnut and E. Third Streets) sponsored by the Bloomington/Monroe County Metropolitan Planning Organization (BMCMPO). This meeting will provide the public with information and take feedback on the transportation projects being considered for the 2018-2021 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP).

The MPO coordinates the allocation of Federal transportation funding coming into the area and includes projects from the City of Bloomington, Monroe County, INDOT, Bloomington Transit, Rural Transit, and IU Bus.

The proposed fiscal plan that is being presented to MPO committees is here: FY1821TIP_Memo_032217. This plan provides the breakdowns of local vs. federal funding by project/local agency and by fiscal year. It is just the starting point for discussions, and could change based on feedback from MPO committees and the public. This public information meeting provides one — but not the only — opportunity to provide feedback. But this memo only shows the financial breakdowns — it doesn’t actually provide any detail on the projects themselves.

I’m hoping that a more public-friendly version of the project descriptions can be made available soon — but for now all I could find is the packet for the MPO Policy Committee from February 10, 2017. I extracted the relevant section here: MPO Policy Committee Project Descriptions From 2017-02-10 (warning: it is a pretty big document!).

There are several projects that I think the public will be particularly interested, including the County’s Fullerton Pike project (Phases 1 and 2), the County’s proposed roundabouts to improve safety at Curry Pike/Woodyard Road/Smith Pike, the City’s Tapp Road & Rockport Road Intersection project, Henderson Street, Winslow Road, and Jackson Creek trail projects, and the project I’m most excited about — a proposed extension of the B-Line trail west, to connect to the multi-use path going over I-69 at 17th Street and ultimately connecting to the County’s Karst Farm Greenway.

Hope to see members of the public at the meeting!

Here’s a draft of a press release from the MPO:

“The Bloomington/Monroe County Metropolitan Planning Organization (BMCMPO) will hold a Public Information Meeting with the goal of gaining public input for development of the Fiscal Year 2018-2021 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP).

The TIP documents a comprehensive fiscally-constrained list of multi-modal federal-aid transportation projects programmed for Bloomington, Bloomington Transit, Ellettsville, INDOT, Indiana University Transit, Monroe County, and Rural Transit.

The Public Information Meeting will be held on Wednesday, March 29, 2017 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Downtown Bloomington Transit Center, located at the corner of N. Walnut and E. Third Streets.

Development of the new TIP requires a public involvement process which includes a public review by the BMCMPO Citizens Advisory Committee, the Technical Advisory Committee, and adoption by the Policy Committee before submission to state and federal agencies.

Public Meeting attendees will provide feedback on the proposed list of TIP projects and to help shape the project funding priorities of the MPO for the next three (3) years. The BMCMPO staff looks forward to discussing these and other important transportation issues with residents at the public meeting.

For more information or written comments on the FY 2018-2021 TIP, please contact BMCMPO Director Josh Desmond at 812.349.3423 or desmondj@bloomington.in.gov.”

Preview of Today’s Monroe County Council Work Session (2015-01-27)

27 Jan
2014 Monroe County Council

2014 Monroe County Council

Tonight’s work session of the Monroe County Council will feature several substantive issues for discussion. The packet with narrative descriptions of each of the issues can be found here: 2015-01-27 Work Session Packet

Very briefly, the major issues to be discussed are:

  • The Health Department is asking to offer health insurance its public health nurse position, which is currently split by two people in a job share. Both positions are half-time on their own, and do not currently receive county benefits.
  • Human Resources and the County Commissioners are asking extend county retirement benefits (through the Public Employees Retirement Fund – PERF) to all elected officials. Currently the County Commissioners, County Council, and Coroner are excluded. The overall list of PERF-eligible positions is also out of date and must be updated.
  • The County Highway department is asking whether snow and ice supplementary pay should also be extended to non-union Highway employees who are also required to forgo vacations during the snow and ice season.
  • The County Commissioners will provide an update on possible funding mechanisms for the major energy upgrades being planned
  • Parks and Recreation is presenting their proposal for an additional appropriation (for 2015, and then again annually thereafter) to fund the maintenance of the Monroe County Active Transportation (Greenway) network. I’m very excited about this presentation, and about several of the trails initiatives that are on the horizon.

In addition, there will be several financial issues up for discussion, including the Auditor’s decision not to prorate the final payroll of the year that straddled 2014 and 2015, a financial update on 2014 from me (I’ll post my presentation as a separate blog entry) and the Council President’s discussion of the Council Office and general meeting procedures.

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.

Karst Farm Greenway Under Construction

7 Aug

After 8 long years of waiting, construction on the Karst Farm Greenway, the north-south backbone of Monroe County’s active transportation network, has finally begun.

I have written about the Karst Farm Greenway previously here:  Karst Farm Greenway Plans Advance. That posting includes some additional maps.

Phase I of the Greenway begins at Karst Farm Park to the south, and ends at the intersection of Loesch Road and West Vernal Pike to the north. The northern end of Phase I is just east of Innovation Court, where the new Northwest YMCA is located. A multiuse trail already exists that will connect the Karst Farm Greenway to the YMCA.

Here is a map of Phase I:

Karst Farm Greenway Phase 1

Karst Farm Greenway Phase 1

 

I am also including some photos of the construction of the greenway. This is the northern end, at Loesch and Vernal Pike, where the construction began (working from north to south). The asphalt at the bottom of the picture is the existing trail that connects to the YMCA.

Dave O’Mara is the contractor.

 

Northern End of Phase I, on Vernal Pike East of Innovation Court

Northern End of Phase I, on Vernal Pike East of Innovation Court

The trail continues south along Loesch Road, where it then cuts over to the west, to connect with Wayne’s Lane.

Karst Farm Greenway Along Loesch Before Wayne's Lane

Karst Farm Greenway Along Loesch Before Wayne’s Lane

The trail then cuts through the woods to Wayne’s Lane.

 

Connection from Loesch Road to Wayne's Lane

Connection from Loesch Road to Wayne’s Lane

 

The trail runs right up to the end of Wayne’s Lane. In the picture you can see where it gets very close to the house of a friend of mine. She would definitely prefer that it not be quite so close to her house. I am hoping the county will be able to plant more of a visual buffer when the project is complete.

 

Trail at Wayne's Lane

Trail at Wayne’s Lane

Then, the trail parallels Wayne’s Lane, running to Profile Parkway.

Wayne's Lane to Profile Parkway

Wayne’s Lane to Profile Parkway

The trail passes right by the Indiana Center for the Life Sciences, on Profile Parkway.

 

Indiana Center for the Life Sciences

Indiana Center for the Life Sciences

Then the trail crosses and cuts west along Third Street, and then cuts back south along Cobblestone Street and then to Park Square Dr to West Gifford, to Endwright Road.

Trail Through W Gifford Road

Trail Through W Gifford Road

The trail runs down Endwright Road.

Trail Along Endwright Road

Trail Along Endwright Road

Finally, the trail turns from Endwright Road into Karst Farm Park, which will be the southern terminus of the Karst Farm Greenway.

Trail from Endwright Road Running Into Karst Farm Park

Trail from Endwright Road Running Into Karst Farm Park

All in all, this is great news for supporters of the trail!

Watch for more news on the Karst Farm Greenway soon, as the bid will likely be awarded in the next week or two for Phase IIA, which will go north along Loesch Road from Vernal Pike up to the railroad. I’ll post more news when that bid is awarded.