Pedicab service coming to downtown Cedar Rapids area

Cedar Rapids passed ordinance on Tuesday

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A famous "Seinfeld" episode features Cosmo Kramer trying to run a rickshaw service in New York City using homeless men to pull the load.

More likely for success may be the prospects of a Cedar Rapids pedicab service, which would feature two-wheeled or three-wheeled vehicles powered by pedals or motor that would carry passengers in an area defined by the downtown, the Medical District, Coe College, New Bohemia, Czech Village and the Ellis Boulevard area.

Brad Larson, a planner in the city’s Community Development Department, said on Tuesday that two residents had asked to operate pedicabs in and near the downtown, and in response, the City Council approved a new ordinance without comment on Tuesday to regulate such a business in the city.

The proposed ordinance will limit pedicabs to the downtown and nearby areas of the city and would require city licenses, proof of insurance, vehicle inspections and background checks.

Larson said one of those interested in operating a pedicab test drove a motorized pedicab around the downtown without passengers last fall. The other potential operator wants to pedal passengers between the downtown and Czech Village, Larson said.

The city of Iowa City has had a pedicab ordinance in place for about a decade, City Clerk Marian Karr reported on Tuesday. Currently, one licensed operator, Matt Steele of I.C. Ecocabs, is providing service in season in Iowa City, Karr said.

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