• Posted Jul 31, 2009

[Updated August 24th 10:49 pm] Des Moines City Council offers Ingersoll Road Diet compromise

Des Moines
[Updated August 24th 10:49 pm] Tonight was the 2nd hearing for the proposed three-lane restriping project including bicycle lanes and additional parking on Ingersoll Avenue. Quick re-cap - All 6 council members voted in favor of the restriping project. The Mayor abstained due to property he owns in the area. They also agreed to hold a 3rd hearing in 2 weeks. Keep reading for the compromise. 12-14 folks spoke tonight. About 1/2 were in support and the other half in strong opposition. In Support - Tim Lane of Iowa Public Health, the owner of the Star Bar, Ted the owner of the Mansion, Steve Switzer, and another gentleman with references to New York City all gave great points in support of the Ingersoll road diet. Tim Pointed hit it from a health standpoint and referenced several publications talking about neighborhoods gone by bye, obesity, diabetes and how our youth's sedentary lifestyles may very well be the most expensive to take care of in the future. The Star Bar, Ted from the Mansion and the frame shop guy "get it". They can see that traffic calming on Ingersoll will not lose business, but gain more! One guy just got back form New York City and stated "If they can make complete Streets happen in New York City, surely Des Moines can make it happen". Other also spoke in Support. In Opposition - Van Ginkel Athletic, Whylie Eye Care Center and Subway were the biggest voices this afternoon in opposition of the road diet. Van Ginkel expressed fear of killing someone (cyclists) on Ingersoll, and call the plan "insane". The Whylie Eye lady (yes, the one on the commercials) asked why cyclists couldn't use the bike trails around the area instead of Ingersoll Ave. The co-owner of Subway expressed his fear that he would lose business from less traffic. The Compromise - Des Moines City Council offers Ingersoll Road Diet compromise. Christine Hensley's ward is the Ingersoll area and she is a major supporter of the road diet. Kudos to her for sticking to the plan. The Mayor wrote down some questions and some other council members had additional questions that Gary Fox of the Traffic Committee answered regarding bus lanes, extra parking, noon traffic flow, snow, etc. The City Council admitted to not educating the public on what Complete Streets are and is now aware of this and said they would educate the public more on this concept. Some of the City Council members expressed concern over how fast this project was moving along, and asked for more time to review studies, etc. All City Council members agreed on a compromise to hold off on the restriping until next April 2010. They wanted to give the restriping a 6 month review and did not feel the winter would do any justice to the restriping. they wanted the new configuration to be in place for the spring and summer to gauge and monitor usage, etc. So, in 3-4 weeks, Ingersoll will be newly striped in it's current 4 lane configuration. More to come on the 3rd hearing BIKEIOWA rant-n-roll - I've been following the Ingersoll restoration project for a few years now and truly believe the area is a great neighborhood. Notice that I said "neighborhood" and not "thoroughfare". If you want to get from downtown to the West side, take Grand Ave or I-235. Leave Ingersoll traffic to those wanting to shop there or live in the area. FEAR of the unknown is a big part of the opposition. "Complete Streets" is a foreign word to most of the opposing forces. You find me a road diet that did not work. I do believe the Ingersoll business have experienced some losses this past few years with the I-235 reconstruction, the actual restoration on Ingersoll and most recently the poor economy. Bicycle Lanes also seem to be a big part of the opposition. The media is somewhat to blame for this as this makes good news - Plain 'ol Road diets do not. the bicycle lanes are such small part of the big "traffic-calming" picture. Bicycle lanes are icing on the cake. More Bicycle Lanes are also needed for the upcoming Bicycle Master Plan for Des Moines. Ingersoll is the perfect East/West cooridor. Des Moines is committed to becoming a Bicycle Friendly Community and it will show with the push for Complete Streets. Make Ingersoll a destination and businesses will flourish. My vision - In 3-5 years the business owners in opposition will wonder why they didn't vote for the road diet years ago.
[Updated August 24th 8:49 am] Monday August 24th is the next hearing at the Des Moines City Council. Updated with links to Agenda. (Item #52). ORDINANCES - SECOND CONSIDERATION #52 - Chapter 114 of the Municipal Code regarding proposal for a three-lane restriping project including bicycle lanes and additional parking on Ingersoll Avenue. August 24th 2009 City Council Agenda Council Communication Watch BIKEIOWA's Twitter account for real-time updates. May be meeting at El Bait Shop afterwards for discussions.
[Updated August 11th 11:50 pm] MORE GOOD NEWS! The Des Moines City Council voted in favor of re-striping Ingersoll ave to have 3 car lanes and bicycle lanes on each side, but there will still be one more hearing to finalize this plan. There is still plenty opposition out there, and if you have not sent email to the Des Moines Council members, please take a few minutes today and send an email of support! Next vote will be August 24th. More info to come as it becomes available
[Updated August 10th 10:15 am] GOOD NEWS! The Traffic Safety Committee for Ingersoll Avenue voted 5-1 in approval of the City Planner's recommendation for a 3-lane road diet along Ingersoll Ave this evening. Info about Monday's City Council Meeting City Hall is 400 Robert D Ray Drive City Council Agenda (This is #53 on the agenda and will be talked about as early as 4:30 pm and as late as 5:45 pm) Please be there if you can, else send email to the City Council Members today!
[Updated August 5th 9:41 pm] THANKS TO ALL CYCLISTS WHO SHOWED UP! THE CITY COUNCIL WILL VOTE NEXT MONDAY. WE NEED YOU TO SEND SUPPORT EMAILS TO CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS THIS WEEK. the scoop There were nearly 100 folks at the meeting this evening. A mix of cyclists, residents, city staff and business owners. Much of the opposition came from the business owners who thought the road diet would take away from their business. But they were in support of some sort of traffic calming due to the excessive speeds people drive on Ingersoll today. Other opposition to the 3-lane design was winter-time, bus traffic and the "safety" of cyclists. Grand Ave was mentioned several times, but that is an arterial street and not wide enough to accommodate such a plan. Several supporters voiced that the road diet would calm traffic and reduce speed. It actually is much more than adding bike lanes to Ingersoll Ave. Cyclists wanted to feel safer while riding on Ingersoll and the fact that this street just make sense to be the East/West bicycle corridor for the city. Tim Lane made some great comments about the disappearing neighborhoods, and that Ingersoll Ave was a thoroughfare these days and "those people" don't stop at the businesses on Ingersoll Ave anyway. He also spoke of increased health care and obesity was running rampant in the U.S. After the public input each member of the Traffic Safety Committee spoke. Most in total support of the road diet. A couple were on the fence, but believed in the safety aspect and the fact that they hired a team of experts to make this recommendation and the fact that road diets just like this have been very successful in areas much larger and population dense than Des Moines. what's next? The Des Moines City Council will vote next Monday, August 10th on the Ingesoll road diet. (More to come...) We will need a great showing of cyclists there too! This week we need YOU to send emails to all the City Council Members and the Mayor in support of the this road diet. The Des Moines City Council Members are as follows: Ward I - Thomas D. Vlassis Ward II - Robert L. (Bob) Mahaffey Ward III - Christine Hensley Ward IV - Brian Meyer At Large - Christopher Coleman At Large - Michael Kiernan Our Mayor - T. M. Franklin Cownie Here are all their email addresses. Please let them know how this will make us more of a progressive city and the traffic calming measures will be much safer for all involved, and oh yeah... the bicycle lanes are a big plus too! (Especially for the Des Moines Bicycle Master Plan). Copy and paste these into your email.;;;;;;;;;; Thanks for taking the time to support this!
[original post] We've got another shot to get bicycle lanes on Ingersoll! Attend the Public Input Meeting this Wednesday, August 5th! The special Traffic Safety Committee/Ingersoll Avenue Public Input meeting will be held on Wednesday, August 5th, 5:30 p.m., at Central Presbyterian Church, 3829 Grand Avenue in Des Moines. Discussions will include the Ingersoll Avenue three-lane traffic concept, including bike lanes and additional parking. This has been an ongoing issue for 5 years. The majority of the Ingersoll business owners did NOT want 3 lanes of traffic and bicycle lanes in the past. Times have changed and this is our channe to to re-stripe Ingersoll Avenue with bicycle lanes. This East West bicycle commuting corridor is imperative for the Des Moines Bicycle Master Plan. PLEASE ATTEND THIS MEETING! We usually get 15-20 core advocates that show up to these types of meeting, but this time we need to make a statement ans really show that we want bicycle lanes on Ingersoll Ave. See YOU there!

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