Opinion: Hey, Bloomington city council, got time for better bus routes?

cropped 12-02-2019 IMG_1178
On Monday morning, two Bloomington Transit buses head out from the downtown transit center north on Walnut Street. (Dave Askins/Beacon)

In January 2020, the next edition of Bloomington’s common council will take office.

The first law passed by the new nine-member local legislature should be called the “Last Call Public Transit Time Ordinance.”

The new law would require that city council meetings end before the last public bus of the day leaves the general area of downtown and city hall, where city council meetings are held.

It would help ensure that people who rely on public transportation can attend city council meetings and stay until the end. It would also encourage councilmembers maintain some basic knowledge about Bloomington Transit bus schedules.

But here’s the most important consequence of the law: For councilmembers who think longer meetings are essential to doing the People’s business, the law creates an incentive to find the money to run buses later.

That’s important, given a proposed new route configuration from Bloomington Transit that would reduce evening service on half of its routes, even while maintaining the same total number of service hours.

BT has conducted a month’s worth of public sessions to introduce the new proposal. The final meeting is Tuesday, Dec. 3 from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Downtown Transit Center. The BT board isn’t expected to make a decision until early next year. [Take the BT survey on the new route proposal here: Survey Link] Continue reading “Opinion: Hey, Bloomington city council, got time for better bus routes?”

Hey, Wait a Minute |”I’m leaving this meeting at 10:30, regardless of how long it goes…”

Note: “Hey Wait a Minute” is an occasional B Square Beacon series that highlights meeting minutes and other documentation of local government meetings in the Bloomington, Indiana area.

Screen Shot 2019-08-04 at 11.19.17 PM
“…it’s 9:45 p.m. I am leaving this meeting at 10:30, regardless of how long it goes, because I need to sleep at night. … There is absolutely no reason why we should be having a meeting that lasts more than four hours …”

At the most recent meeting of Bloomington’s city council, on July 31, councilmember Allison Chopra offered some candid commentary on the length of the meeting.

Chopra said in part: “…it’s 9:45 p.m. I am leaving this meeting at 10:30, regardless of how long it goes, because I need to sleep at night. … There is absolutely no reason why we should be having a meeting that lasts more than four hours …”

The criticism that councilmember Chopra expressed at the meeting—of her colleagues and herself—was serious business. I think it’s worth watching Chopra’s remarks as she made them, in their entirety.

But how likely are you to click on a link to a four-hour meeting video? I’d guess the answer is: Not at all likely, because you are not a local-government nerd. Continue reading “Hey, Wait a Minute |”I’m leaving this meeting at 10:30, regardless of how long it goes…””