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Bloomington To Host Meeting On Route 9 Bike Lanes

U.S. Route 150 and Illinois Route 9 signs
Eric Stock
Illinois transportation officials are looking to add bike lanes to Illinois Route 9 through Bloomington, but it would come at the expenses of several hundred parking spaces.

The City of Bloomington has scheduled a public meeting to gather feedback on a proposal to add bike lanes along Illinois Route 9.
The meeting will be held on Thursday from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Bloomington City Hall.

The Illinois Department of Transportation plan calls for nearly three miles of additional bike lanes from West Market Street to East Empire Street, resulting in a loss of 226 parking spaces.

“Whenever we start talking about impact to parking spaces, the city really wanted to go above and beyond to try to make sure we heard from citizens,” Bloomington Public Works Director Jim Karch said. “The parking spots along Route 9 range from ones that are minimal impact to some that are much larger for people that don’t have a driveway.”

IDOT is seeking consent from the city, but Karch explained the state could proceed on the project without it.

Karch said there’s no timeline yet.

“There are no current state dollars allotted for this project,” Karch said. “When you look a few years out, they are hoping to make some progress on it, but from a state perspective it really comes down to capitol dollars.”

Karch said while he has concerns about how the bike lanes could impact some residents, the city is looking to expand multi-modal transportation options, which are reflected in the city’s 2015 bicycle master plan.

He said the state project is still in the design and planning stages the bike lanes would be added when the state resurfaces the road.

Karch said that’s sorely needed.

“When you look at Route 9 through Bloomington, it is in need of repair,” Karch said. “A lot of the streets in this area, when you drive that, if you think about Empire westbound and over by Bloomington High School, some of those lanes are really in poor condition and the state does need to maintain these.”

Karch explained the bike lanes would allow for two-way traffic but would not reduce the number of driving lanes. He said in some places, bike lanes would be added on both sides of the highway.

The city is also accepting written comments at publicworks@cityblm.org.

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Eric Stock is the News Director at WGLT. You can contact Eric at ejstoc1@ilstu.edu.