BLOOMINGTON — The Bloomington Public Works Department will temporarily install barricades and disable traffic signals along Front Street, from Madison to East streets, to evaluate a more pedestrian-friendly configuration.
The temporary change, which will run Wednesday through Friday, is part of the city's look at removing traffic signals on Front at Main and Center streets and is expected to make it easier for pedestrians to cross the street.
Connect Transit's downtown Bloomington bus transfer station, its second busiest daily boarding stop in Bloomington-Normal, is in that area of Front Street.
Last month, public works crews working on sewers and sidewalks to prepare for resurfacing Front Street found damage to traffic signal infrastructure. Public Works Director Jim Karch estimated the cost to repair the equipment would be $15,000 to $20,000.
The department is proposing removing the signals and adding stop signs and crosswalk bump-outs, which would increase pedestrian safety by reducing the distance to walk across the lanes of traffic.
During the three-day test, the traffic signal at Main and Front will be turned off and bagged, which will not require motorists to stop there. The traffic signal at Center and Front streets will be set to flashing mode and temporary stop signs will be placed there.
Small barricades will be used to narrow the lanes of traffic simulate what would be bump-outs. Snow fencing also will be used to simulate where planter boxes would be placed to prevent pedestrians from crossing the street at those spots.
Karch said the current traffic signals are not warranted because traffic volumes have been steadily decreasing in that area since the 1980s. The signals, originally installed in the 1940s and 1950s, also have far exceeded their life expectancy, he added.
Members of the public and downtown stakeholders are encouraged to provide feedback by emailing email@example.com.
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