Seventh Street Bike Path brings changes and challenges

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Jordis

The new bike path on Seventh Street is a positive for walkers and riders, but tough for buses to navigate.

Jordis Kieffer, Staff Writer

Have you gone down Seventh street recently and been wondering what all the road work is about? Well, it’s for the 7-Line Bike Path.

The 7-Line is a bike path that is to extend from the B-Line to Woodlawn/campus, allowing commuters on bike, scooter, skateboard, etc., to travel west and east. The bike path is going to be a protected bike lane, meaning the bike path has a physical divider between the path and the road. This makes it safer for those who take the path not to get harmed by other vehicles. Along with the bike lane being protected, it will also be two directional with the lane divided allowing less congested traveling for those commuting on the path. 

The 7-Line also will have its negatives and positives that are to come. 

Positives/Benefits

The 7-Line will bring some good things to Bloomington.  Mayor John Hamilton has high hopes. “The gift we made to commemorate our city’s bicentennial will shape the Bloomington of the future, making our city safer and more livable, strengthen our economy, and protect our natural resources,” said Hamilton. The city’s bicentennial marks the 200th year Bloomington has been a city and there is a $10 million bond that the Bloomington City Council has approved of from the Bicentennial.

 A benefit Bloomington will gain from the bike path is that it will make traveling east and west safer and better for those who ride bikes, walk, skateboard, or use the local electric scooters. This bike path also provides access to other bike paths and trails in Bloomington. The new bike path being added to Bloomington is one of the many ways the city is trying to become more sustainable following their Sustainability Action Plan.

Negatives

Though Hamilton and the city of Bloomington have plans to make the future of the city better, not everything can be perfect and because of this there are negatives to follow. 

A big negative is that all street parking on Seventh Street is to be taken away, forcing those who have to park on Seventh Street to find somewhere else to park. Another issue is that when you go to turn on or off Seventh Street you will have to be very careful especially if you are driving a large vehicle because the turning radius is now much tighter, making it easier for bottlenecking to happen. Also, transit buses report they were struggling to drive down Seventh Street even though developers of the bike lane stated before and even after the first bit of construction that all vehicles should be able to still commute up and down the street without any issues. Even though developers of the bike path stated that all vehicles should be able to use the road, the Bloomington Transit Corporation said in a tweet August 25th, “The eastbound bus stop at Seventh & Fess at Dunn Meadow has been permanently removed due to the new bike lane installation.” 

Following that though they go on to saying, “One may catch the bus at Dunn & Seventh or Seventh & Woodlawn.” 

This allows those who do need to catch the bus around Seventh Street to still be able to in some areas.   

  Trio of Plans

Along with the plans to build the 7-Line, it is part of a trio of plans (Comprehensive Plan, Transportation Plan, and Sustainability Action Plan). These plans are to better the city and make Bloomington a more sustainable, clean, beautiful, and enjoyable city. The plan consists of seven proposals.

 Once the 7-Line is finished, plans are to finish building the Cascades Trail. The Cascades Trail is a trail they are building taking .6 miles of Old 37 of Lower Cascades and converting it into a bike/pedestrian trail. Once it is finished, it will end up being the widest bike trail in Bloomington.

Along with the Cascades Trail and the 7-Line Bloomington also has plans to add another trail called the New East-West Trail. The New East-West Trail is going to be a 1.3 mile long trail that will run from the west side of Rogers Street across from Switchyard Park, then going southwest.

 Following the trend of trails being added to Bloomington/Monroe county, the City plans on building another trail called the Griffy Loop Trail. The Griffy Loop Trail is going to be a six mile trail that goes around Griffy Lake for hikers. Along with the trail being added to the area of Griffy Lake, they are also planning to build a new fishing pier on the west side of Hoodley Rd. that will connect to the trail.

 Leaning away from trails and moving into other propositions, Mayor Hamilton also plans to remodel three blocks of alleyways around downtown Bloomington. Changes and remodels to the alleys include new lights getting added, alleyway roads getting repaved, and artwork such as murals and other things being added to the sides of buildings to brighten up the alleys of downtown Bloomington.

There are plans to construct gateways to major entry points around town in the next few years. They hope to add natural and man-made elements to the gateways.

Lastly, the City and mayor Hamilton plan to plant and replace over 1,4000 trees along the streets of Bloomington within the next four years.