Government

Oakland Road in Cedar Rapids to become two-way

The Cedar Rapids City Council chamber at City Hall on Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013, in southeast Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Cedar Rapids. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
The Cedar Rapids City Council chamber at City Hall on Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013, in southeast Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Cedar Rapids. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — The one-way to two-way street conversion effort in Cedar Rapids is expected to continue on Oakland Road NE later this year.

The conversion is part of an estimated $2.67 million road project, also including resurfacing a portion of Center Point Road NE. Cedar Rapids City Council approved the project Tuesday, a day after two-way traffic opened on the previously one-directional Second Avenue SE in downtown Cedar Rapids.

“It improves accessibility, and it’s easier for pedestrians trying to cross the street,” Doug Wilson, the program manager for Paving for Progress, said in listing benefits of eliminating one-ways.

The work, which is paid for with proceeds from the local-option sales tax, includes milling and an asphalt overlay of Center Point Road between 29th Street and 32nd Street NE and converting Oakland Road from H Avenue to 32nd Street from one-way to two-way, both scheduled for completion in the fall. Reconstruction of the intersection of Center Point Road and 32nd Street NE would occur in summer 2019.

Pending favorable bids, an option exists for Oakland to mill and resurface from J Avenue to 32nd Street NE, replace the water main from 29th Street to 32nd Street NE, and fill in sidewalk from 29th Street to 32nd Street NE. If approved, that would occur this summer and fall.

Center Point Road is expected to be converted to two-way, possibly from 29th Street to H Avenue NE, in 2020, Wilson said.

Cedar Rapids has prioritized converting most of its one-way streets to two-ways, particularly downtown, to improve safety, make roads more accessible for pedestrians and bikes, and make the streets more friendly for shopping. Fourth and Fifth Avenues SE in downtown Cedar Rapids are planned to convert from one-way to two- ways this summer.

In other action

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l Van Meter’s plan to build a $4.2 million, 42,000-square-foot addition to its distribution center at 850 32nd Ave. SW gained City Council support. The council agreed to a local match worth $355,700 in tax breaks over 10 years if Van Meter wins a state High Quality Jobs grant.

l The council denied a rezoning request for a northeast duplex complex for the second time in a year, with some questioning if it was an attempted bait and switch.

Earlier this year, developer Adam Stradt had appeared to shift gears from four duplexes to six single-family homes at 1525 Hollywood Blvd. NE near Wright Elementary School, which the council supported. Stradt tried again for the duplex concept despite opposition from neighbors. Council members called it out of context with the neighborhood, as they did a year ago.

l The council deferred voting on a plan to change the use of 804 44th St. SE from residential to industrial until the next City Council meeting, set for 5:30 p.m. May 22, buying time to examine the property.

Michael Odell, who owns the property, requested rezoning and amending the city’s future land use map to allow industrial use, both of which were supported by city staff. A contractor warehouse was discussed as a possible use.

Warehouses are on one side of the property and single-family homes, are on the other. A stream of residents contended the development would add noise and trash and hurt property values.

“It’s a beautiful place to live, and we are asking council to say enough,” said Steve Olsen, who lives in an adjoining property. “I’m asking a line be drawn in the sand where it is.”

l Comments: (319) 398-8310; brian.morelli@thegazette.com

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