The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

IC aims to take a bike


By Faradis Lindblom

[email protected]

Transportation may become easier and safer in the next year for students and staff who bike on campus and throughout Iowa City.

Currently, Iowa City is at the silver level in biker friendliness, as designated by the League of American Bicyclists. In the next year, city officials said they would like to reach the gold standard.

In order to reach that standard and improve the safety and efficiency of biking in Iowa City, officials hope to implement road diets on well-traveled streets in the center of town.

A road diet is a transportation planning technique in which travel lanes are reconfigured or reduced in order to make sharing the road between bikers and cars more efficient.

Darian Nagle-Gamm, senior transportation engineering planner for the city of Iowa City, said there are plans to implement road diets on Clinton and Madison Streets.

This will consist of reducing the current four lane streets into three lanes, with two lanes going opposite directions and one center left-turn lane. Nagle-Gamm said this method has proven to be efficient and reduces collisions.

“If you reduce the lanes in this manner, roads can still handle the same amount of traffic,” Nagle-Gamm said. “It’s primarily a safety enhancement that also enhances traffic flow.”

The conversion of Clinton Street is slated for 2017. The changes on Madison Street are scheduled for 2018. At the same time, the intersection of Burlington and Clinton Streets and the intersection of Burlington and Madison Streets will also be reconstructed.

Nagle-Gamm said she thinks these changes will be able to facilitate the growing bicycle culture in Iowa City.

“Bicycling is an active form of transportation,” she said. “It’s growing in popularity.”

The Iowa City Downtown District is working in conjunction with Think Bicycles of Johnson County, which has plans to implement a bike parklet downtown. That would be a space to park bikes and would also include amenities for pedestrians.

Some of the specifications outlined by the Downtown District were that the parklet should allow for a minimum of 12 bicycle parking spaces and should be no longer than 35 feet.

Nate Kaeding, the Downtown District’s detail development coordinator, said depending on the different proposals that are received, solar panels and greenery may also be incorporated into the parklet’s design in the hope that it will increase the optics of downtown as well as “encourage and facilitate alternative modes of transportation.”

The parklet will be built so that it can be taken down and stored during the winter months.

“We want to make just as much of an effort for the people riding bikes as we do for those driving cars,” Kaeding said.

In addition to the bike parklet being functional, Anne Duggan of Think Bicycles said it will provide artistic value for the downtown area. She said she hopes it will include seating areas as well.

“What we are seriously looking for is something that is artistic and that also parks bikes,” she said. “It slows down traffic, it’s safer, and bicycles are a pleasant way to get around.”

More to Discover