Iowa City City Council request expedited street Market and Jefferson Streets redesign

The Iowa City City Council will start discussions on repairing Market and Jefferson Streets. This action highlights Iowa City’s focus to achieve street safety. The speeding up of this project will cause city staff to do “gymnastics” on the capital improvement project budget.


Daniel McGregor-Huyer

Iowa City Mayor Bruce Teague speaks at the Senior Center during an Iowa City City Council Meeting on Tuesday, Dec, 7, 2021. City Council Members discussed the new redistricting plan for Iowa City.

Emily Delgado, News Reporter

The Iowa City City Council is requesting to speed up the redesign of major Iowa City streets to increase street and public safety as part of the capital improvement plan. 

Iowa City’s capital improvement projects are slated to cost $47,356,220 out of its $47,958,995 funds in 2023. Funding for these projects will be certified in the fiscal 2023 operating budget. 

This is the second year in the capital improvement project, which was introduced in the fiscal 2022 budget. 

A major part of these projects is street improvement, which takes up 45 percent of the capital improvement budget.  

The one-way conversion and construction on Market and Jefferson Streets is a priority for the council. 

Mayor Bruce Teague said the project has been a top priority since 2014. 

City Manager Geoff Fruin said he doesn’t see speeding up this project as a possibility. He said he doesn’t think there is any way to get that project done until 2024. 

“That would be the earliest that we could do that,” he said. “If we ordered new traffic signals right now, we wouldn’t get them this coming construction season.”

City staff will need to do a full design upon the council’s request of the project. The council will want to hear public input on the project Fruin said. 

He said staff will need to start design in 2023 in order to get construction started in 2024.

“If you do want to move that up, I’d suggest 2024, 2025. But we’re going to have to do some gymnastics with other projects because that’s over $2 million in bond funds,” Fruin said. 

Mayor Pro Tem Megan Alter said she supports speeding up the project. 

Councilor John Thomas said that Dodge and Governor Streets have few signalized intersections. The Dodge and Governor Streets project, budgeted for $15 million, will be on the 2025 capital improvements. 

“If you’re northbound on Governor, the last light is on Market and you have basically a straight shot up the hill to the hillside without any other signalization and it’s almost a mile from Market before you hit the top of the hill there,” Thomas said. 

Thomas highlighted that the council has received letters from the public expressing the dangers of crossing Dodge and Governor Streets. 

“My personal feeling at this point is that I would really prefer us at this time to emphasize the idea of redesigning the streets so that they better self regulate,” Thomas said. 

As a way to achieve self-regulation, Thomas is suggesting an automated traffic enforcement program. Thomas said that he is asking the council to reconsider prioritizing public safety over car speed. Reverting Market Street into a two-way street is an example of this approach, Thomas wrote in an email to The Daily Iowan on Jan. 18.

“At this point, I would really like us to try to focus on making sure our streets are safe by design rather than unsafe,” Thomas said.


Facebook Comments