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Thank you all so much for being here today. Thank IU LGBTQ+ Center for their hospitality.  Happy Pride Month!

 

A big project like this takes lots of partners -- city government, business, residents, property owners, planners, architects, builders, and a special thanks to IU for your partnership. When town meets gown, it often happens right here on Seventh Street, a key corridor between downtown and the center of the IU campus. Every day, a hundred buses connect the east side of town and campus with the west side via Seventh Street--as do thousands of cars, bikes and people on foot, in wheelchairs, on scooters, and in strollers.  

 

One way to describe City government’s core job is to do the basics well: provide clean and safe water, protect basic public safety, and sanitation, create and nurture great public spaces including parks and nature preserves, and support everyone’s quality of life by supporting good jobs, decent affordable housing, quality arts and more. Certainly on that list also is supporting mobility -- helping people and goods move 24/7, efficiently and sustainably and equitably.  And, of course, mobility is always changing over 203 year history! From horses and carriages two centuries ago, to add trains, automobiles, trams, bikes, buses, scooters, skateboards, e-vehicles, dare we say drones, autonomous vehicles and who knows what’s next. Through it all of course, we also walk and run and roll ourselves or others. 

 

Our public rights of way are changing still. The urgency of climate change emphasizes the urgent need to reform our built environment to reduce our transportation carbon footprint. And improving our City’s walkability and bikeability also increases equity and quality of life for all. It makes us a more appealing destination. In survey after survey, city residents confirm that trails are one of Bloomington’s most treasured assets. (and we’re proud to be a Gold Level Bicycle Friendly Community, rated by the League of American Bicyclists) 

 

All of which is why, as part of our Bicentennial year, we announced and funded four major new trail projects as a gift to the future. A trail through our city’s first park, Cascades; a loop trail around our beloved Griffy Lake; a new southwest trail linking Switchyard Park to RCA Park and Wapehani Mountain Bike Park.  And, today, this new 7-Line, connecting east-west from the B-Line to campus, and eventually to the far east side at 446, is getting underway!

 

Just think about how the B-Line trail revolutionized the way we get around Bloomington -- on foot or bike, wheelchair, stroller, skates or scooter, basically north to south. And now, an idea recommended in our 2019 Transportation Plan -- an east-west route.  A protected bike lane that will provide connectivity to the B-Line on the west, and IU Campus and neighborhood greenways toward the east--providing that much more incentive for more of us to walk or get on our bikes. Add an improved bus corridor reducing traffic jams and travel time. Improved curb ramps all along the route, for wheelchairs and strollers. An attractive median planted with trees, separating motor vehicles from bikes. In other words, a complete street for Bloomington now, and into the future.  A complete street for all users.  What an exciting day!

 

Let me reiterate the City’s appreciation for our wonderful partners at IU for your support and coordination, to the business community and the neighbors we’ve connected with in the course of planning the 7-Line, being willing to consider that the reconfiguration of this street can better serve our community’s  goals. Construction is never convenient, but we trust that the temporary pain will be worth the long-term gain--and we appreciate your patience and counsel as we make our way through the project, which is expected to be complete by the end of the year.

 

We know change isn’t easy. I’m proud that our city, like many others around the globe, is investing in protected bike lanes and multi-modal streets. It’s one more way Bloomington is advancing equity, sustainability, and quality of life. 

 

Before I hand it over to our next speakers, just want to close with two things. First, anytime we improve the land, our environment, it’s important to acknowledge our debt to predecessors, including the Indigenous communities native to this region: the Miami, Delaware, Potawatomi, and Shawnee people on whose homelands and resources Bloomington has been built, recognizing them as past, present, and future caretakers of this land.

 

And second, important week. George Floyd, 1 year; Tulsa 100 years Greenwood; Muhammad Ali, died five years ago today. Reminders of challenges always, to make change and improvements, sometimes hard changes. Daunting. When we think too hard. Quote machine M. Ali:  “Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they've been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It's an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It's a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.” Thanks for being here. Next hear from...

 

Hamilton Giving Remarks to Group

 

Speeches