City Councils discusses bike-sharing, bike lane additions

City Council discussed on Tuesday night its consideration to implement a city-wide bikeshare program. A motion passed to allow electric bikes and scooters in parks, but raised concern regarding the addition of bike lanes to the city.


Jenna Galligan

City council members discuss zoning issues at City Hall on Tuesday, September 17, 2019.

Hannah Rovner, News Reporter

Iowa City is slowly but surely implementing its bicycle master plan, a process which began within the last couple of months. Iowa City City Council passed a motion Tuesday night bringing the city’s parks one step closer to a bike-sharing program.

However, many citizens raised concern over the addition of bike lanes on major streets, which is expected to occur before the bike share program is implemented.

During public comment at Tuesday’s City Council meeting, two Iowa City residents expressed their concern over Dodge and Governor Streets’ bike lane additions. The pair claimed that residents weren’t notified of the work session where this decision was made, over the summer.

RELATED: Iowa City on a roll with bike share agreement

One commentator mentioned that the people residing in these areas are primarily University of Iowa students or multi-family homes, both of which would not have had the opportunity to attend the work session if it was during the summer break for college.

The plan also eliminates approximately 80 parking spots in the area, according to previous reporting by The Daily Iowan. In an article from August, one citizen claimed it may be difficult for elderly family members to visit one another and have access to even their own homes.

“We have…two spots in a driveway; we don’t have alley access,” Anne Freerks, a past Iowa City planning and zoning commission chair, told the DI in August. “It [would make] our lives much more difficult.”

UI Associate Professor Sarah Bond added in the same article that she would prefer Governor Street be a one-way road, as she bikes to and from work. This would allow the addition of a bike lane and keep parking spots on the opposite side. 

City Council further discussed at their meeting the immense amount of traffic throughout Iowa City. By implementing a bike share program, the city believes it can eliminate some cars on the road to lessen traffic for the safety and convenience of citizens. 

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Tuesday’s motion was the second consideration of e-bikes and scooters allowed in parks, according to Iowa City Mayor Jim Throgmorton. The motion to proceed with their plan passed 7-0 in City Council, and is the first step towards accessibility of bike-sharing programs.

“We didn’t want to make anyone think this was a done deal,” Iowa City senior engineer Jason Reichart said to the DI last month. “…We have a high-level plan, we’re narrowing it down to site-specific, we want to know what the concerns are.”

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