Council approves first-consideration to extend Ped Mall regulations


After a unanimous vote Tuesday evening, Black Hawk Mini Park is on its way to incorporate regulations already a part of the Pedestrian Mall.

The Iowa City City Council voted 7-0 on the first-consideration of a resolution that would provide uniformity of regulations between the Ped Mall and Black Hawk Mini Park, which is located near the north entrance of the Ped Mall.

“It makes sense to do this,” Mayor Matt Hayek said. “This is just a cleanup to make sure that all the ordinances that affect the Ped Mall also include the mini park, which is really part of the Ped Mall because 99 percent of people don’t know where one ends and the other begins, so it’s really a cleanup measure.”

The city currently does not include Black Hawk Mini Park in the definition of the Ped Mall.

However, the council has adopted various code provisions over the past several years, which apply to both the Ped Mall and the park.

If the resolution passes, the park would become a smoke-free area, as well as increase police regulations on miscellaneous offenses such as aggressive solicitation.

“Although there were some regulations I didn’t agree with in the past, it makes complete sense to me to extend from the plaza to the Black Hawk Mini Park,” City Councilor Jim Throgmorton said.

City Councilor Terry Dickens said he also agrees the regulations downtown should be uniform, but he hopes to adjust the regulations as the Ped Mall is reconstructed.

“I do think we’re going to look at things when we do the new streetscape,” Dickens said. “Whether we’ll have to look at the smoking ordinance a little differently whether it’s through the whole area, whether it causes a concentration at one end, we need to look at that in the future and see once the construction is done we’ll see how it plays out.”

City Councilor Susan Mims echoed that.

“I think it makes sense for the regulations to be consistent when those two pieces of property are so adjacent to each other,” she said. “I am very interested in looking at the designs for the new Ped Mall as we upgrade it, and trying to have some of the design take care of behavioral issues so maybe we can get rid of some of the regulations; the fewer regulations, the better.”

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