IOWA CITY

Dodge Street in Iowa City to lose parking, gain bike lanes

Governor Street parking will remain

A cyclist pedals in the bicycle lane along S. Clinton St. at the intersection with E. Washington St. in Iowa City, Iowa on Friday, June 7, 2019. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
A cyclist pedals in the bicycle lane along S. Clinton St. at the intersection with E. Washington St. in Iowa City, Iowa on Friday, June 7, 2019. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — A portion of Dodge Street in Iowa City will soon say goodbye to about 40 parking spaces and hello to buffered bike lanes.

Dodge and Governor streets between Burlington and Bowery streets have been identified in the city’s 2017 Bike Master Plan as corridors to receive buffered bike lanes.

The hangup was that bike lanes on the 31-foot-wide streets would come at the expense of about 40 parking spots on each street.

At a meeting hosted by the city in August about the proposed changes, residents and property owners said they didn’t want to lose that much parking on Governor Street, city transportation planner Kent Ralston explained at city council work session Tuesday night.

“There wasn’t a lot of opposition to the removal of parking on Dodge Street,” Ralston said.

That left the city council to explore six options for the two streets, ranging from eliminating parking on both streets to leaving the parking and painting shared lane markings and installing signage.

Ralston told the council that city staff recommended a hybrid option — eliminating on-street parking on Dodge Street, adding a buffered bike lane on Dodge and keeping Governor Street as is but installing signage and shared lane markings.

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Ralston said that option would keep parking on Governor while creating a continuous southbound bike lane from North Dodge Street all the way to Kirkwood Avenue.

“Dodge is a more important travel corridor,” Ralston said, noting cyclists can and do use Summit Street to go north. “You’ve got this continuity on Dodge Street that runs all the way to Kirkwood.”

Losing some parking on Dodge Street also will have less of an impact, thanks to its paved alleys, which allow for parking behind buildings.

“There’s just gobs of parking out there,” Ralston said.

While council members Susan Mims and Bruce Teague expressed a concern with losing any parking and preferred an option in which Dodge and Governor would both be reduced to one lane to allow for a travel lane, bike lane and parking, the majority of the council indicated a preference for eliminating parking on Dodge Street between Burlington and Bowery streets.

The council also expressed favor in simply adding signage and markings to Governor Street, while maintaining parking.

“While it’s not ideal for the bicyclists, I think — given the critical need that was expressed by the residents — we need to keep the parking on Governor,” Mims said.

climate action

The city council also discussed the draft of a resolution that would create a Climate Action Commission.

In the wake of the council declaring a climate crisis earlier this summer, the commission would act as an advisory board to the city council.

During the work session, council members expressed a preference for creating an 11-member commission, with two members being representatives from the University of Iowa and MidAmerican Energy, to be chosen by those two entities.

MidAmerican and the university account for about 57 percent of all carbon emissions in the city.

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The city council has set goals of a 45 percent reduction in carbon emissions from 2010 levels by 2030 and reaching net zero by 2050 in order to hold global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

City staff is to deliver a report later this year on recommendations for accelerating carbon emission reductions in the city.

Comments: (319) 339-3155; lee.hermiston@thegazette.com

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