Front Street signals turned off to experiment with pedestrian-friendly layouts

Front 'N' Center building
The intersection of Front and Center streets will get the most study as city public works staff members experiment with a more pedestrian-friendly corridor. (WJBC file photo)

By Greg Halbleib

BLOOMINGTON – The City of Bloomington has begun experimenting with making a section of a downtown street more pedestrian-friendly.

The stoplights on Front Street at the intersections with Main and Center streets are being disabled for the rest of this week. Public Works Director Jim Karch said small barricades and stop signs will help guide pedestrians and motorists.

“We’re doing different techniques all along the corridor to simulate, so we want to give the feel what it would be like so that people can get that sense of is this going to this work, is this not,” Karch told WJBC’s Scott Laughlin. “We’re actually doing some different video to try to capture people’s reactions, cars’ reactions, to make sure that this is the right direction for the downtown.”

Karch said the stoplight at Front and Main basically only helped pedestrian traffic anyway, but the Front and Center intersection handles different directions of traffic.

“Main Street is a northbound one-way, so cars only turn onto that street,” Karch explained. “If you think about it, stop signs wouldn’t help much as long as pedestrians were able to cross the street. But at Center, you have southbound traffic coming into Front, and that is where we need a stop sign.”

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