Bloomington public buses continue to roll at 21-percent ridership under COVID-19 conditions, board OKs deal with Trinitas development

At its regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, the board of Bloomington Transit handled routine business, like receiving a financial report from its controller.

The five-member group also handled another item that has become routine business for the board: an extension of its COVID-19 protocols for another month—through Dec. 15.

The board also approved a deal with Trinitas Ventures, the developer of a roughly 1,000-bedroom project oriented in large part towards students, to provide transit service to the West 17th and Arlington Road area on the west side of town.

The deal with Trinitas was a requirement for the city council’s approval of the zoning for the project. The first year of service will cost $359,000. Construction on that project is expected to start as soon as the real estate deal closes, which is early December, based on remarks from Jeff Kanable of Trinitas, made to the BT board at Tuesday’s meeting.

The board also approved its Federal Transit Administration safety plan on just a 3–2 vote, with dissent from Alex Cartwright and James McLary. The plan did not appear to be controversial, but Cartwright and McLary wanted better clarity about how the definition of “safety event” that’s used by the feds squares up with BT’s statistics.

In another piece of business handled on Tuesday, the BT board approved an extension with the company that sells advertising on its bus wraps. BT splits the revenue 50-50 with Mesmerize, formerly Clean Zone Marketing. That stands at about $175,000 annually, according to BT general manager Lew May at the meeting. That’s about a six-fold increase since 2015, when BT started doing business with Mesmerize, he said.

The extension of COVID-19 protocols for BT means continued fare-free boarding for all passengers and a closure of the indoor passenger waiting area of the downtown transit center. The Grimes Lanes administration building will also remain closed to the public. Designated administrative management and employees will continue to work remotely. Continue reading “Bloomington public buses continue to roll at 21-percent ridership under COVID-19 conditions, board OKs deal with Trinitas development”

Council OKs Trinitas project, makes more than 2,200 bedrooms approved with special zoning in last 6 months

Back in 1991, Bloomington’s city council voted to rezone the property at the northwest corner of Kinser Pike and the SR 45/46 Bypass, so that it could be used for offices and the storage of semi-trailers.

That 7–2 vote of the city council taken 30 years ago was vetoed by then-mayor Tomilea Allison. As an “out lot,” the land could not be developed and still conform with the new master plan for the city, which stated there should be “no out lot development,” Allison wrote in her veto announcement.

The veto was overridden on a 6–3 tally, the minimum it needed to give it a 2/3 majority on the nine-member council.

But land didn’t become a home to semi-trailers.

It’s now destined to become home to around 1,000 people, after a unanimous vote of Bloomington’s city council on Wednesday. The 9–0 vote to approve the as-yet unnamed development by Trinitas Ventures came about 90 minutes after the agenda item was introduced.

Wednesday’s approval of the roughly 1,000-bedroom Trinitas project makes for more than 2,200 total bedrooms that the city council has allowed in the last six months through altering local zoning laws.

That includes the the Curry PUD  (344 bedrooms) on Pete Ellis Drive, the Collegiate Development group PUD (750 bedrooms) on North Walnut Street, and Hilltop Meadow (166 bedrooms)
Continue reading “Council OKs Trinitas project, makes more than 2,200 bedrooms approved with special zoning in last 6 months”