CORALVILLE — The Metropolitan Planning Organization of Johnson County is hoping to get feedback on recommendations for making the area more bicycle-friendly.
The organization last week released the draft recommendations for its Metro Area Bicycle Master Plan, which covers Coralville, North Liberty, Tiffin and University Heights. The goal of the plan is to improve the community’s bicycle infrastructure, policies and programming.
Before formulating the plan, the organization worked for several months to collect survey results and conduct workshops to get a sense of what kind of bicycling policies and changes the public wanted to see.
That input led to the recently released draft recommendations, which include a bicycle network map with proposed road additions and improvements.
“One of the greatest challenges is providing on-street facilities, so things like bike lanes. And that comes down to the pavement width of the street,” said Sarah Walz, assistant transportation planner with the Metropolitan Planning Organization. “A lot, I think, of what we heard from people is a desire to improve some difficult-to-cross intersections, so basically connecting between facilities and wayfinding.”
Among the facility improvements in the draft recommendations for North Liberty are adding sidepaths, or 8- to 10-foot-wide sidewalks that can serve bicycles, to North Liberty Road and Zeller Street west of Highway 965, as well as adding shared lane markings on Cherry Street and Zeller Street to the east. In Coralville, bike lanes on Camp Cardinal Boulevard potentially could be recommended as well.
Challenges identified in the draft recommendations include 12th Avenue in Coralville, which is deemed “an essential route” for getting over the interstate but has issues such as the pavement width not being wide enough for a bike lane. Holiday Road is another difficult spot with pavement width concerns and the frequency of driveways making it less than ideal for sidepaths.
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“For the person who does want to commute who’s living in a neighborhood in North Liberty or Coralville, how do we get them over to the trail? And in some cases the best we can do is better wayfinding,” Walz said. “If we can get people on (the trail system), it can actually get you to a lot of the places that you’d want to go, and since the majority of people feel most comfortable on trails, it’s not a bad thing.”
The organization will be collecting feedback on the draft recommendations through May, both online and at an open house, with the goal of a final plan being adopted in July. The plan is meant to work in conjunction with Iowa City’s 2017 Bicycle Master Plan.
As far as implementation goes, Walz said smaller projects — such as switching out signage — may be completed in the next year or two, while infrastructure improvements will take longer.
To provide feedback and view the draft recommendations, go to mpojc.org/bike.
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