• Posted Dec 4, 2018

There is a new at-grade crossing proposed for Commerce Park North of the new Maffitt Lake Road tunnel. We need to make our voice heard again before the next Polk County Conservation Board meeting

YOUR support is needed (Again) for the Great Western Trail.

We don't reach out asking for support very often. We know there is strong support from trail users for the Great Western Trail. It is a special trail that lets us leave the hustle and bustle of the city. Unfortunately the metro (this portion is within West Des Moines corporate limits) is sprawling around the trail. We don't want the sprawl to cross the trail anymore than it already does.

There is an agenda item on the next Polk County Conservation Board to add an at-grade crossing for Commerce Park North of the new Maffitt Lake Road tunnel along the Great Western Trail.

Knapp Properties has requested an agenda for a new at-grade crossing for one of their developments.

We are asking trail supporters to do the following:
#1 - Contact all Polk County Conservation Board Members before the next board meeting on Dec 12th


BIKEIOWA has concerns that the Polk County Conservation Board has some new members that may not understand the importance of the Great Western Trail.

These new board members were not involved in 2015/2016 when there were several meetings to support the for the Great Western Trail when it was threatened by construction of Veteran's Parkway.

We truly believe each one of the board members wants to act in the best interest of conservation and preservation SO, let’s make sure they know that there are alternatives and we support them to advocate for those alternatives.

We don't want to see Conservation Board Members start to question "What's a the issue with just one at-grade crossing?" "What could it hurt?"

Trail Safety is our conrcen too. There are other ways to enter this property versus crossing the trail.


Polk Country has been a leader in the Central Iowa Trail System for decades. Compromising the Great Western Trail would be a step backwards.

Knapp Properties is taking the proposal directly to the conservation board without staff approval. The Polk County Conservation staff continues to oppose at-grade crossings—including this proposal that came off the table before the 2016 realignment.

Knapp and Gerry Nugent seem to be trail supporters in general. Likely they are just going along with what their engineers drew up as the easiest most profitable access point.

Once one at-grade crossing is approved for one developer, what stops the next at-grade crossing for the next developer?

You want to see what at-grade crossings can do to a trail? Try riding the Raccoon River Trail (parallel to Hickman Road) through Waukee without white knuckles. It is dangerous and detracts from exactly what a recreational trail was created for.


We don't know what kind(s) of businesses will be built in this development. We've heard everything from light industrial to a convenience store and gas station.

Think about the traffic counts for a convenience store and gas station at this location or any business for that matter.

And.. businesses can change over the years.


Contact each member of the Polk County Conservation Board and remind them of their mission Tell them why the trail and trail safety is important to you.

The Polk County Conservation Board’s mission is to provide the citizens of Polk County with quality outdoor recreation, conservation education, and long term protection of Polk County’s natural heritage.

It is important to convey the significance the integrity of the trail plays in conservation and recreation and to promote the possibility of alternative solutions. For example - An access off of Moffitt Lake Road that does not cross the trail would accomplish the same results without impacting the Great Western Trail experience.

There is only ONE Great Western Trail. Once it is compromised there is no turning back.

And PLEASE attend the meeting on Dec 12th to show your support and the support for all those who love the Great Western Trail - MORE INFO

Polk County Conservation Board Members
Cataldo, Jim
3428 Rose Avenue
Des Moines, Iowa 50321
Baratta, Diana
2514 NW 3rd St.
Ankeny, IA 50023
Northway, Lance (Chair)
4270 SE 98th Street
Runnells, IA 50237
Altringer, Jill
104 NW Prairie Creek Dr
Grimes, IA 50111
Levis, Tom J.
3400 Valley Ridge Court
West Des Moines, Iowa 50265



Here are some news and features we've posted over the past two years. We recommend going back and reading these to see what we've already been through to preserve the trail thus far.

Cyclists flexing their muscle to stop reroute of Great Western Trail 1/8/2017
Landowners speak out against controversial road expansion 1/5/2017
Letter to the Editor: West Des Moines should preserve Great Western Trail 1/5/2017
Changes could preserve scenic stretch of Great Western Trail 1/5/2017
Parts of the Great Western Trail up for debate as Veterans Parkway project extension looms 1/5/2017
New routes proposed for Veterans Parkway extension 12/15/2016
Great Western Trail Could Undergo Change Due to Highway Extension 12/13/2016
Advocates worry new WDM road will ruin part of Great Western Trail 10/28/2016
Veterans Parkway to open by 2019, West Des Moines says 10/26/2016


Thanks for getting involved and helping to keep our world-class trails, well.. world class.

Scott Sumpter

The Agenda packet is posted (Read Pages 39-55):

#1 - bikeiowa posted Dec 10, 2018

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