Despite Staff Losses, Bikes Are Focus Of Public Works Dept.

The department has lost eight staff members to budget cuts -- many of them long-tenured -- and will only be able to replace two.

Decycles Indiana

Photo: decyclesindiana.org

Bloomington's Public Works department will focus on bike paths and greenways in the coming year, despite losing six staff positions.

The Bloomington Public Works Department has outlined plans for a focus on greenway and bike path development for the coming year, but leaders say they will have to do the work despite fewer staff.

During the final round of budget hearings before the Bloomington City Council Thursday night, Director of Public Works Susie Johnson pointed out creating more space for cyclists is already underway.

“Completion of the Allen St. Bike Boulevard, turning 4th street into a bikeway from Rogers all the way to the IU campus, building out Hawthorne and Highland as a greenway that goes from Winslow all the way to the IU campus, those are a few of the things,” Johnson says.

But Public Works was not immune to personnel cuts, losing eight positions to early retirement and separation agreements. Only two of those positions will be re-filled.

Johnson says her department lost several valuable employees who worked for the city for more than 30 years.

“They were my mentors and I will miss them and their knowledge,” she says. “Can we replace them, no but are we going be able to move forward and be aggressive and get the service delivery to the community that needs to be done, absolutely.”

Council member Steve Volan commemorated the department for the progress being made to earn Bloomington a Platinum Bike Status, a label given by the League of American Bicyclists and shared by only three other cities in the country.

Kyle Clayton

Kyle Clayton is a WFIU news producer. He is currently studying journalism at Indiana University and comes to WFIU following an internship in the fall of 2011. After serving in the U.S. Army, he returned home to Indiana in 2008 to begin his education and pursue his interests in writing.

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