A plexiglass partition on a hinge has been installed at the front of Bloomington Transit buses to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 between passengers and drivers.
On Tuesday, at its regular monthly meeting, the Bloomington Transit board approved an extension of BT’s fare-free policy through Oct. 20.
The fare-free policy started in March, along with rear-door boarding, as a way to reduce passenger-driver interactions and help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The regular fare is $1 a ride.
Passengers can now board through the front door. A plexiglass partition on a hinge has been installed in buses to form a kind of compartment for the drivers, to reduce the chance of COVID-19 transmission.
Also on Tuesday, the latest numbers reported to the Bloomington Transit (BT) board showed the COVID-19 pandemic’s continued impact on ridership. The lower-ridership trend that started just after Indiana University’s spring break in March has continued through the start of classes this fall.
Ridership has shown incremental gains from month to month since April. But the typical big bump in August is absent this year. Bloomington’s public transit ridership in normal years is roughly 70 percent Indiana University affiliates.
At a press conference held Friday evening at People’s Park off Kirkwood Avenue in Bloomington, Vauhxx Booker and his legal counsel, local attorney Katharine Liell, called for a federal grand jury to investigate the assault on Booker that took place last Saturday, July 4.
It’s not just last weekend’s incident at Lake Monroe that they want a grand jury to investigate.
Liell said, “I call upon the United States attorney for the Southern District of Indiana and Indianapolis to convene a grand jury not only to look into the hate crime where Vauhxx was the victim but all the other hate crimes that are going on in southern Indiana from Indianapolis…all the way to the river Ohio.”
On May 1, Monroe County’s health department issued an order extending COVID-19 countermeasures that keep restrictions on businesses and gatherings in place for another two weeks, through May 15.
When a decision is made on extending or rescinding that order—which currently ends at midnight this Friday—Ellettsville town councilmembers are hoping for better communication than they got about the May 1 announcement.
The health department’s May 1 announcement came after Indiana’s governor, Eric Holcomb, had issued his own order outlining a phased-in “Back on Track” program earlier that day.
That means for about a week now Monroe County has been under tighter restrictions than most of the rest of the state. Those tighter restrictions will continue at least through Friday at the end of this week.
The county health department’s order applies to the whole county, including the city of Bloomington and the town of Ellettsville.
The wording of the document included Bloomington and Ellettsville. According to the order, the health department’s decision was made after “consultation with the Mayor of the City of Bloomington, the Monroe County Board of Commissioners, and representatives of the Town of Ellettsville,”
In unanimous votes taken on Wednesday night, Bloomington’s city council approved a conversion map for the unified development ordinance (UDO), as well as some technical text amendments.
The UDO is the basic zoning and land use document for the city.
The council’s vote was not controversial—it was akin to a legislative coronation. The conversion map is just a way of translating labels.
A future debate is expected citywide over changes to the way the lines are drawn for zoning districts on the map. That level of revision was not addressed in this go-round of UDO amendments, which started in February of 2018.
The drawing of new lines to accommodate newly defined zoning districts almost certainly won’t be done until 2021, assistant planning director Scott Robinson told the city council on Wednesday.
Screen grab from Indiana governor Eric Holcomb’s March 23, 2020 address on orders he issued related to curbing the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Asked last Thursday at a press conference about the possibility of a “shelter in place” order as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Indiana’s governor, Eric Holcomb, answered: “We’re not there yet.”
On Monday, the Hoosier state was there.
In a 14-minute speech delivered through various media, Holcomb announced he was issuing a stay-at-home order, starting at the end of the day Tuesday, March 24 at 11:59 p.m. For now the order goes through the end of the day April 6, 2020.
At a late morning press conference on Friday, Indiana’s governor, Eric Holcomb, announced that the state’s primary election would be postponed 28 days, from May 5 to June 2.
Given the threat of COVID-19 exposure, the primary date would be pushed back to ensure the safety of county employees, poll workers and the public, Holcomb said.
Updated numbers from the Indiana Department of Health on Friday indicate the number of confirmed cases has doubled in two days, from 39 on March 18 to 79 on March 20 (today). The number of tests almost tripled during that period, from 193 to 554.
Mailing in an absentee ballot for the postponed election will likely be possible for any voter, assuming the state’s election commission uses its power to make that decision.
The state’s election commission has been asked to waive the conditions for mailing in a ballot, Indiana’s secretary of state, Connie Lawson, said at the press conference.
According to a press released issued Monday afternoon and subsequent clarification from the city, Bloomington’s department of planning and transportation has levied an $83,500 fine against the owners of a house on 7th Street. They demolished the house in late September without first obtaining a certificate of zoning compliance.
On Aug. 8, the city’s historic preservation commission (HPC) recommended the house to the city council for historic designation. The commission’s resolution did not explicitly say that the house was being put under interim protection.
But the requirement of a certificate of zoning compliance before demolition applies to structures whether or not they’re under consideration for historic designation. It was the owners’ request for such a certificate that led to the demolition delay process, which the HPC was following when it made its recommendation for historic designation.
The amount of the fine, according to the press release, was based on a penalty levied for each day the property was in violation of the city code, but capped at the most recent assessed value of the house and garage by Monroe County’s auditor.
Late Monday afternoon, Bloomington’s corporation counsel, Philippa Guthrie, told The Beacon that the property owners, David Holdman and Judie Baker, had filed an appeal of the city’s decision to fine them.
A notice of the violation was sent to Holdman and Judie Baker on Oct. 16, according to the press release. The press release says that the property owners have a right to appeal to the city’s board of zoning appeals within five days of the date of the notice.