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Bloomington council to vote on proposal to make Market Street deck Connect Transit downtown hub

Parking garage
Cindy Le

Connect Transit’s proposal to transform the Market Street parking deck into a downtown bus hub could get Bloomington City Council approval Monday.

The council is voting on whether a transfer center would be a good use for the property at 202 W. Market St. If approved, project details would need to be ironed out, and return to gain the council's OK.

For example, the city could sell the property or lease it, and the transfer center designs might include additional public parking above the structure.

Connect Transit has had an indoor transfer center in Uptown Station for more than a decade. But riders at the downtown Bloomington hub must wait for buses on Front Street sidewalks with just a few bus shelters to provide relief from adverse weather conditions.

A passenger walks toward a Connect Transit bus in the Uptown Station in Normal.
Michele Steinbacher
A passenger walks toward a Connect Transit bus in the Uptown Station in Normal.

In 2021, Bloomington administrators and the public transit system’s leaders announced $18 million in federal and state funding would help create an indoor Bloomington center.

The Farnsworth Group helped narrow down three possible locations. The building that once housed The Pantagraph, at 301 W. Washington St. was top choice. But Connect Transit abandoned that project at this time last year, saying rehab costs would be out of reach. Since then, leaders have researched the viability of the second option: the 202 W. Market St. parking deck.

Connect Transit officials met with both Bloomington and Normal's elected officials this month to provide an annual update on the area’s public transit system. But Monday's council vote wasn't announced until the meeting's agenda was released this weekend.

Monday's city council meeting begins at 6 p.m., on the fourth floor of the downtown Government Center.

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Michele Steinbacher is a WGLT correspondent. She joined the staff in 2020.
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