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Tag Archives: Open Streets

Open Streets Event Gains Approval

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Organizers of an open streets event got permission September 23rd to move forward with their plans, but not without a struggle. Open Streets Bloomington asked the city’s Board of Public Works to let them shut down half a mile of Seventh Street, from the Banneker Community Center to the B-Line Trail. The event is scheduled for October 5th. One of the organizers, Beth Rosenbarger, described Open Streets as an opportunity to use the street for unconventional activities such as promotion for local businesses and community meetings.

This is the second annual Open Streets event in Bloomington. Some residents told the Board they objected to the street closure. John Bavender lives on West Seventh. He also owns other houses on the street. He objects that the event would prohibit him from doing his routine property maintenance.

Only two of the three members of the Board were present. Both of those members, James McNamara and Charlotte Zietlow, said they should have been consulted earlier in the process. McNamara said he felt pressured to approve the street closure because the event is so soon. He ultimately did not want to deny the event to those who took time to put it together on such short notice.

Throughout the U.S. and Canada there have been more than 100 Open Streets events since 2010. A local architect, Marc Cornett, told the Board that these kinds of projects typically have opponents at first.

The Board later voted in favor of the event with the caveat that organizers must work with city staff to determine the hours for the closure. McNamara said he won’t support Open Streets in the future.

Further coverage of the decision for the Open Streets event can be found here.

Open Streets Event Under Consideration As An ‘Inappropriate Use Of Streets’

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An event meant to examine the use of streets to encourage healthy living and community may be denied a permit based on inappropriate use of streets. The Open Streets Bloomington event, scheduled to be held on Sunday, October 5, will be heard at the Board of Public Works meeting September 23, and is expected to face opposition.

Board member Charlotte Zietlow says that the first annual open streets event, held last fall, had a slight bit of opposition, and tonight the three member board will also voice their concerns.

This is the first time the event is coming in front of the board this year, and the final opportunity for approval since the board does not meet again before October 5.

Miah Michaelson, assistant director for the arts for the city of Bloomington economic and sustainable development department, is the supporting staff member for the project.

Michaelson says typically organizations would present their proposals well in advance of their scheduled event.

The proposal for the event includes closing 7th street from the B Line into the near west side neighborhood at Elm Street to traffic for the majority of the day.  Open street organizers expressed concern today through Facebook postings and a message that went out to the near west side neighborhood association that there event would not get approved, and that the board might not understand exactly what it is the event is trying to do.

“They’re proposing to close those streets off and as I understand it the idea is to get cars off the streets and use the streets as a type of playground,” Zietlow says, “I gather that the intent is to see what we could do if there were no cars on the streets. So the question arises is ‘Why do we have streets?’”

The open streets website differentiates the international open streets movement, from other events that typically block streets like art fairs, charity runs, and parades, stating the benefits of an open streets event to be about encouraging physical activity, broadening transportation choices, and encouraging economic development.

Michaelson said she could not think of a direct economic impact the event would have as it is not a ticketed event and there are not good being sold.

Zietlow also mentioned that the event does not support a charity the way other street closure events tend to do. The afternoon media campaign by the organizers of open streets seemed to already be having an effect, Zietlow said she was starting to hear from the public in support of the event.

“I’ve gotten three or four emails supporting it, and this is unusual for the things we act on,” Zietlow says. “There are other questions asking if this is a legitimate use of streets because there’s not charitable group this event is raising money for.”

The open streets event is set to coincide with a day long celebration of cycling at the Buskirk Chumley Theater, and was the recipient of the proceeds that came from the $12,000 raised at the clips of faith film festival in Bryan Park this summer.

The hearing regarding the open streets events will take place at the board of public works meeting September 23.

Bloomington opens its streets

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Bloomington will stage its first Open Streets event this weekend, joining a recent trend in larger cities around the globe. Between 10am and 3pm this Sunday, West Kirkwood Street between Rogers Street and College Avenue will become a temporary festival.

“It’s an opportunity for people to just do whatever they wish, in the street” says Anna Dragovich, Senior Transportation Planner and an organizer of the event. The free event will feature interactive physical activities, as well as live music and other performances. Visitors will be able to try free exercise demo classes and activities located along the route. Open street festivals traditionally have a broad array of commercial and non-commercial vendors, providing information and samples of their offerings. Though Dragovich commented that Bloomington’s festival focuses more on physical activity.

“This is a free opportunity in which we can engage each other through basically playing in the street, and playing just happens to be physical activity,” said Dragovich.

The inaugural Open Streets event is sponsored by the Planning Departments of Bloomington and of Monroe County and the Center for Sustainable Living. Dragovich says she hopes it can be made into an annual event, and possibly tried in other parts of the county.

Daily Local News- September 16th, 2013

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Senate Democratic Leader Tim Lanane laid out a plan to enroll students around the state in early childhood education programs; Bloomington will stage its first Open Streets event this weekend- joining a recent trend in larger cities around the world; Citizens from Morristown, Indiana are banding together to stop a gas-fired power plant proposed by tyhe Omaha-based company Tenaska.

FEATURE
Earlier this summer the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity announced it had reached a deal to relocate its frat house. The fraternity is currently located on east 3rd street. But the deal it made with Indiana University would put the new house in the University Courts neighborhood on the western edge of campus. The plan has upset some in Bloomington, partly because it requires the demolition of six historic homes. Assistant News Director Joe Crawford has that story for today’s WFHB feature.

ACTIVATE
Jodi Chatelain and Kenny Bundy talk about working at the Recovery Engagement Center.

CREDITS
Anchors: Maria McKinley and Doug Storm,
Today’s headlines were written by David Murphy and Yvonne Cheng,
Our Engineers are Lauren Glapa and Chris Martin,
Our Editor is Drew Daudelin,
Activate is produced by Jennifer Whitaker
Executive producer is Alycin Bektesh.

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