MARION — Marion wants to make 10th Avenue more convenient for pedestrians and bicyclists in the near future.
Called the Marion 10th Avenue Sidepaths Project, the project will be located along a one-mile, typically busy stretch of 10th Ave and would construct a 10-foot-wide, shared-use path for bicycles and pedestrians. The project also will provide a connection to the Route 20-Marion Circulator bus stops.
The stretch of the project runs from where 35th Street and 10th Avenue meet, in front of the Marion Hy-Vee, east to where 10th Avenue and Eagleview Drive meet, across from the Walmart store.
Project improvements include paving and grading, new pedestrian signals and connections to existing sidewalks.
Kesha Billings, associate planner for Marion, said the project is important to connecting pedestrian routes.
“When you think of this route, you have some neighborhood connectors,” Billings said. “When you think of most major roadways, they are connecting from point A to point B and that’s for convenience. Why don’t we make it convenient for pedestrians, too?”
The total project is estimated to cost $3,537,500, with 80 percent of the funding, or $2,830,000, being provided by Iowa’s Transportation Alternatives Program.
The city of Marion will provide the remaining cost of $707,500.
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The project also is being evaluated in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act, the project’s presentation reads, which looks at potential impacts to environmental sources such as cultural resources, floodplains, threatened and endangered species and low-income and minority populations as well as other areas of impact.
Actual construction is scheduled to begin in May 2021. The final design of the project is expected to be done in November.
Future construction may require intermittent, single-lane closures along 10th Avenue among other easements. Tentative completion of the project is November 2021 according to the public presentation.
“Our communication with the contractor will be pretty clear to minimize closures when possible,” Billings said. “Get in, get out, do what we need to do. But of course, it’s also inevitable.”
Billings said the city is seeking feedback on the project.
“We want to make this something the entire community enjoys,” Billings said. “This is something I see as more of a need. You see people walking on the gravel shoulders of the street. I like the safety component of having a separate area to walk or bike on.”
Other improvements are planned for the street in the future as well including working with Cedar Rapids Transit to build bus shelters as part of Route 20-Marion Circulator.
Marion Parks and Recreation are looking at improving the street aesthetically for the new side paths, and improvements for the 35th Street/10th Ave intersection are being explored.
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