By Howard Packowitz
BLOOMINGTON – Bloomington city leaders have until the end of this month to offer their blessing for the state to add bike lanes on one of the city’s busiest roadways.
The Illinois Department of Transportation and the city hosted an open house Thursday at Bloomington City Hall to hear what the public has to say about the project, which covers Route 9 from Martin Luther King Jr. Drive on the west side to Royal Point Drive, east of Veterans Parkway.
Route 9 would lose as many as 250 parking spaces if bike lanes are added. An IDOT representative helped ease Angela Kerr’s concerns about reduced parking near Bloomington High School.
“The gentleman explained on this map there’s only a few areas where they would have to take parking away, and of that, there’s just a subset where they would really need to work with the homeowners,” said Kerr.
“So, it looks better than what I was worried that it was going to be,” she added.
Kelly Rumley rides her bicycle to-and-from work every day, but would feel unsafe if she uses Route 9 to go downtown. She says Emerson Street, Regency Drive, and Fairway Drive are safer options for cyclists.
“That’s a much wider, less heavily-trafficked route, and it’s much safer for cyclists,” Rumley said.
“Also, if you have kids using (Route 9) to get to the middle school (or) high school, I think it will be only a matter of time before one of them get hit,” Rumley warned.
R.J. McCracken countered that adding bike lanes is a great idea.
“Our residents who want to be more mobile on bicycles are going to have better access to the downtown area, and be able to go there without falling through potholes and not having a route to access our community,” McCracken said.
IDOT doesn’t need city approval to do the work, but the state agency is requesting feedback from residents and city leaders.
Howard Packowitz can be reached at email@example.com