Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Road warriors

There are several road construction projects on the books for the Bloomington/Monroe County area. There is a group opposed to ALL of the projects. I am on the email list where the group discusses strategies and thoughts about traffic because I am president of the Grandview Hills Neighborhood Association and by being informed, I can pass along information to folks in our neighborhood.
To start, some of the proposed projects (in various stages) include:
  • widening Bypass from Walnut to 3rd
  • widening SR 45 (E 10th St) from Bypass to Russell Rd
  • I-69 expansion from Indy to Evansville
  • improving E 10th St though campus, possibly by making a pair of one-ways
The B-TOP group does not want any of these to happen. They also have proposed closing 10th St and 3rd St through campus to bus only traffic.
All of this is an introduction to a few of my thoughts. While I can agree with the need to make the local roads more pedestrian and bike friendly, I have concerns about the idea of crippling transportation.
There are no true east-west corridors through town. Options include Bypass, 10th (which doesn't go through), 3rd/Kirkwood, Rogers/Winslow/Country Club/Tapp. The point of closing 3rd and 10th through campus is to make campus safer, which is great. And their goal is to get more cars off the street and force more people to walk, bike or use public transportation. But I really don't think that will happen. If the main roads to get across town are closed, I really think that would force more traffic onto neighborhood streets. Compound that with not widening Bypass, which is already crowded, and I think gridlock would be terrible.
It's great to want to get cars off the road, and I try to use the bus or walk when I can, but there are a lot of people who live on the opposite side of town from where they work, all services are not of both sides of town, and many people live where buses don't go. There are also people for whom other options are not ideal.
I'm ambivalent about the need to widen SR 45, although turn lanes/signals would be appreciated. My only concern there is the what will happen with our neighborhood.
Bypass has enough traffic that I think widening is probably necessary, although I would like to see better bike and pedestrian access.
Making 10th and another street a pair of one-ways would probably be a better option than closing 10th the through traffic. Isn't it better to concentrate traffic on a few streets where people know they need to be careful than disperse it into neighborhoods?
Anyway, I may update with a few more thoughts later, but that is my first round of thoughts on this issue.

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