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Bloomington Closes Portions Of Kirkwood For Outdoor Dining Through December

Kirkwood Dining 3

(Mitch Legan, WTIU/WFIU News)

Bloomington is expanding the Kirkwood Avenue closure to motor traffic from a weekend event to an everyday occurrence.

The closure started as a pilot program in mid-June to allow downtown restaurants to offer safer outdoor dining for patrons during the coronavirus pandemic.

Mayor John Hamilton said that service will now be 24/7 from now until Dec. 31.

“We’ve been working very closely with the merchants’ association to close those [streets] to allow them to continue to use outdoor space through the end of the year,” Hamilton said. “And that lets them invest in a little more infrastructure.” 

Hamilton said the city will partner with IU to make nearby parking lots free of charge after 5p.m. to encourage people to shop and eat downtown. The following lots will be available:

  • The lot behind the Von Lee between Dunn Street and Indiana Avenue (lot #404)
  • The lot on the corner of East Fourth and Dunn Streets (lot #412)
  • The lot at East Sixth and Dunn Streets (lot #402)
  • The Poplars Garage on East Sixth Street between Dunn and Grant Streets 

Vehicles may not be left in these locations overnight.

Kirkwood will be closed to east-west traffic from Indiana Avenue to Walnut Street, with the north-south cross-streets still open for vehicles.

The blocks from Dunn to Grant and Walnut to Washington will remain closed to motorized vehicles throughout the week until Dec. 31. The block from Indiana to Dunn will reopen on weekdays.

“We appreciate the strong collaboration between the downtown business community and city leadership as the community struggles to remain vibrant during the COVID crisis,” said Talisha Coppock, president of Downtown Bloomington, Inc., in a press release. “This additional closure period will allow businesses to invest in outdoor infrastructure to help them serve customers during the colder months.”

Hamilton said part of the reason to keep the north-south streets open as well as the alleyways is to maintain access for emergency vehicles and people with disabilities.

READ MORE: How Does The Kirkwood Ave. Closure Affect Access For Those With Disabilities?

“If there are any problems with anybody, please reach out to my office or to the downtown merchants and we’ll certainly try to figure out if there’s anything else we need to be doing,” Hamilton said.

Want to contact your legislators about an issue that matters to you? Find out how to contact your senators and member of Congress here.

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