• Tue August 11 2009
  • Posted Aug 10, 2009
Des Moines, IA An ordinance that would cut lanes of vehicle traffic and improve bicycle access along Ingersoll Avenue in Des Moines has some business owners and cycling advocates at odds. The City Council on Monday voted 6-0 to "restripe" Ingersoll between Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway and Polk Boulevard to convert four lanes for motor vehicle traffic into three - one lane in each direction with a center lane for left turns - to make room for bicycle lanes and extra parking. Mayor Frank Cownie, who owns a business along the corridor, abstained from the vote. Removing the current lane striping and repainting traffic lines for a three-lane roadway would cost about $7,500, but some business owners are concerned they'll pay a much heavier price. "From a business standpoint, we'd like to see more traffic on Ingersoll, not less," said Ben Jung, who manages his family business, Ingersoll Wine & Spirits at 3500 Ingersoll Ave. Some business owners say they have struggled to rebound from lower patronage wrought by recent road projects in the area that have created traffic headaches. The three-lane plan is supported by the Restoration Ingersoll Committee, bicycle enthusiasts and Councilwoman Christine Hensley, who said Monday: "We're not going to do anything that's going to be detrimental to that area." The plan would add about 50 parking spaces along Ingersoll and expand a "complete streets" initiative that aims to make Des Moines streets more accessible to bicycles and pedestrians. "It's going to be important to Ingersoll overall and get rid of that thoroughfare," said Scott Sumpter, who runs the Web site City traffic engineers say that the three-lane conversion could support the current vehicle traffic volume and that the change would help "calm" traffic along Ingersoll. The council is expected to take the second of three required votes on the ordinance on Aug. 24.

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