116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CORALVILLE - The Iowa City metro area soon will be cycling into a new era for its bicycle policy, programming and infrastructure.
The Metropolitan Planning Organization of Johnson County is putting together a new Metro Area Bicycle Master Plan to guide improvements that would make cycling safer, easier and more convenient in Coralville, North Liberty, University Heights, Tiffin and portions of unincorporated areas. The effort will compliment Iowa City's 2-17 Bicycle Master Plan and be adopted next summer.
The new plan would be an update to the 2009 master plan because most of those goals, such as facility upgrades like the Mahaffey Bridge trail, have already been started or even completed. Sarah Walz, an assistant transportation planner, said in the last 10 years there's been more interest in bicycles, especially with RAGBRAI stopping in Iowa City last summer and the Cyclocross World Cup event at the Johnson County Fairgrounds.
'I just think communities are little more interested in kind of pushing things a little bit further,” Walz said. 'Now it'll just be looking from getting people from that spine that is the trail system and then out into the neighborhoods and to the other places that they need to go.”
The planning organization will be collecting online public survey results through December. Staffers will follow that up with public meetings in both North Liberty and Coralville in February.
Walz said most of the actionable steps that would be included with in updated plan hopefully would be able to be completed in a 10-year span, depending on how aggressive the cities are with budgeting.
Sherri Proud, Coralville's director of Parks and Recreation, said this time around the plan will be more of an on-street accommodation plan rather than trails. The questions Coralville staff hope to answer are where people are riding and how to make those routes safer.
'People who commute really want to get from Point A to Point B in the most efficient manner, so this helps us work with our biking community to be able to do that,” Proud said, adding the plan may help aid grant applications.
Josh Schamberger, president of the Iowa City/Coralville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, said he's gotten more familiar with the cycling culture in the county after working on the Cyclocross World Cup and RAGBRAI events. The tail work that has come since the last plan in 2009 has been another tool for his organization to promote the area, he said.
'We're interested in doing everything we can to help because it's such an environmentally healthy and friendly activity,” Schamberger said. 'The connectivity between Iowa City to Coralville to North Liberty, all the way up to Cedar Falls and Waterloo by trail, is significant. We're going to have a lot more in-state and really out-of-state visitors that will frequent our trail system.”
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