Editor’s note: The following is a press release from the City of Bloomington. Bloom has republished it here with edits for style and clarity.

The expansion of the City’s parklet program this season will increase the opportunity for safe, outdoor dining to support the economic vitality of Bloomington’s downtown. Parklets convert parking spaces into expanded, physically distanced seating that is protected from traffic to serve adjacent restaurants. Spaces that opened Wednesday, March 31, will increase the total number of parklets throughout the downtown to 11, as mapped here .  

Additional parklets may be implemented based on requests from downtown restaurants, which may be made at  forms.gle/8YLAuUVmE8PAjmbY8. Additional requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis, balancing needs for expanded seating with availability of parking, safety, feasibility of implementation, and other factors. There is no cost to the restaurant to have a parklet.  

Together with the parklet program and free 15-minute pick-up/drop-off (PUDO) parking spaces throughout the downtown, the renewal of pedestrian-only blocks along Kirkwood Avenue this season will work to bolster the City’s downtown economy as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. From March 25 through June 30, the following three sections of Kirkwood will be closed to motorized vehicles to allow for expanded seating: 

  • Indiana Avenue to Dunn Street
  • Dunn Street to Grant Street
  • The west half of the block between Walnut Street and Washington Street 

The decision to renew the conversion of these Kirkwood blocks this season was made in collaboration with Downtown Bloomington, Inc. and the Kirkwood Community Association, and with input from affected downtown businesses. Downtown Bloomington, Inc., conducted a survey of businesses in order to build consensus and determine the most effective measures. The Board of Public Works voted to approve the temporary conversion at their March 16 meeting.