The portion of 7th Street just north of the Indiana University Auditorium (just west of Jordan Avenue) has been closed to all traffic for a couple of years now. It is being used as a staging area for construction trailers for new IU buildings.
The closure prevents buses from making shorter trips around campus. It also removes an essential component of the city’s urban grid; there’s one fewer outlet for traffic that piles up around the academic core of the campus. Showalter Fountain is now the centerpiece of a cul-de-sac.
So why doesn’t the City of Bloomington reopen it? Because the state trumps the city: since that section of road is entirely on the IU campus, they were evidently at liberty to do with it what they wanted. I wonder where IU administrators learned to do urban planning? Oh, wait — to plan a city, first they’d have to acknowledge that they were in a city. Our friends on the other side of Indiana Avenue fancy themselves to be the spiritual inheritors of Robert Moses: builders of monumental park-like places, damn the messy consensus of the people around them. All they’re doing instead is building a huge dose of suburban sprawl, in the very center of the fledgling urban place that is Bloomington.
CM Sabbagh (R-District V) and I don’t agree on much, but we agree most vocally on this issue. We think that at the very least the street should be reopened to buses. Maybe it’s time for a council resolution on the matter.