• Rob Smith
  • Fri November 28 2014
  • Posted Nov 30, 2014

For nearly 40 years I lived on the west side of Des Moines. I was used to seeing people walking and biking on Grand or Ingersoll avenues to get downtown, shop or just enjoy the outdoors.

Several times I remember biking like a mommy and daddy duck with our three young chicks on Grand Avenue going downtown. Even though it was four lanes, it was not scary even with my kids.

Then last year, we moved to the south side and I can’t believe a heavily traveled street like Fleur Drive does not have a sidewalk. In fact, there are very few sections of sidewalk between downtown and the airport.

It unfortunately starts with the sign at Martin Luther King and Ingersoll avenues stating “Sidewalk and Trail End.” Why? A decision was made to not include a bike lane on the new MLK bridge to save money. I find it interesting that decades before, sidewalks were provided on both sides of the old Fleur Drive Bridge.

I travel to work and watch as people try to bike or walk along a worn dirt cow path near Gray’s Lake. It’s a shame folks can’t safely bike or roller blade to Gray’s Lake and Water Works Park rather than having to load up their bike and drive there. Or continue to the many activities downtown.

One day this summer, I saw two teenagers try to bike on Fleur for a while until they figured out their lives were in danger, and they made a beeline to the cow path. I didn’t blame them.


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