The roadway meets McLean County speculations but residents say it’s dangerous to pull over with oncoming traffic. (photo by Zach Dietmeier/WJBC)
By Zach Dietmeier
BLOOMINGTON - Residents at the Luther Oaks retirement community are continuing to press the City of Bloomington for improvements to their main route of transportation.
The over residents and faculty are fighting to get Lutz Road widened and resurfaced but the city has repeatedly said that area is not at the top of a road resurfacing priority list. Facility and Security Manager and Interim Administrator Tom Hankins said the fight has been ongoing since the complex opened its doors.
“There’s really no secret that our feelings are out there, but we keep getting told that well, we’ll try to budget money for next year and that funds are available,” Hankins said. “Here we are six years later and we are still no closer than we were back in 2007.”
The residents’ concerns center on the width of the roadway. Due to sharp shoulders the road leaves little space for the senior citizen community to maneuver. They’re advocating for full road upgrades including a middle turn lane, street lighting, striping, and wider shoulders - thusfar to no avail. City Manager David Hales says 60-thousand dollars has been commissioned to improve those shoulders but a full renovation will likely not happen this budget year.
Laura Baue, president of the resident’s association, said it’s a safety and common sense argument.
“Two oncoming vehicles meeting one another cannot pass on that road, one has to pull over,” Baue said. “We have drivers with valid licenses but they are in their 80s and 90s. We also have very young people who come out here to work so we have quite a variety of driving skills and response times.”
Luther Oaks residents, visitors, staff and service vehicles must traverse Lutz Road. Aggie Hedin runs the home care program Gero Solutions. She said the difference for this project over other city road construction is that there is no other way to reach the community.
”I know there are other roads but those businesses have alternative routes to reach them,” Hedin said. “You have to come on Lutz Road to get here.”
Above all, Hedin stressed development. She pointed to the over 150 residents and 115 employees at the facility. She also added that many friends of residents are unable to visit because they are afraid to travel down Lutz Road.
The city has allocated $60,000 for road shoulder repairs but estimates a full-scale improvement would cost $2 million.
Zach Dietmeier can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.