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Bloomington Sidewalk Construction Causes Tension

According to the Bloomington Municipal Code, sidewalks were not required before 1972. This law has led to frustration for families that have no sidewalks along their path to work or their child’s school. Shelli Yoder is a mother of three.  She has to walk up East Third Street and cross College Mall Road to take her son to preschool.

“My daughter just started kindergarten at University this past fall and we were really disappointed to know that we could not either ride our bicycles or walk there on one continuous sidewalk, and that was a real problem for us," says Roder.

Bloomington Public Works Director Susie Johnson says the city isn’t in violation of any regulations because Yoder’s neighborhood was established at a time when sidewalks weren’t required.

“Typically sidewalks, neighborhoods that don’t have sidewalks were built prior to the requirement of sidewalks being built. So they were just built at a time when sidewalks were not a city priority,” remarks Johnson.

Johnson says there are no plans to add sidewalks in Yoder’s neighborhood.  She says the money the city has in its budget for sidewalks will be used to build them in areas in dire need.  Yoder says she worried not just about her family, but about the people she feels are in dire need of pavement.

“Some people rely on walking, as well as some people who have accessibility issues that actually need to have smooth sidewalks. Being able to have curbs that are welcoming to whatever ability they have, and this is a serious issue with the Disabilities Act I would imagine," states Roder.

But Johnson says the upkeep of some sidewalks in Bloomington is not the city’s responsibility.

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