Government

'Thousands' expected for Greta Thunberg's Iowa City visit

Iowa City will have road closures, bus detours in place Friday

Climate change teen activist Greta Thunberg speaks as she receives the key to the city from Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante after a climate strike march in Montreal, Quebec, Canada September 27, 2019. REUTERS/Andrej Ivanov
Climate change teen activist Greta Thunberg speaks as she receives the key to the city from Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante after a climate strike march in Montreal, Quebec, Canada September 27, 2019. REUTERS/Andrej Ivanov

IOWA CITY — Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg’s visit in support of student climate strikers Friday is expected to draw thousands of people to downtown Iowa City, according to a release from the city.

The rally with Thunberg and other activists has been moved to the intersection of Dubuque Street and Iowa Avenue, beginning at noon Friday. The speakers are expected to finish around 1 p.m.

Thunberg, 16, has drawn international attention for her climate change protests and advocacy and spoke to the United Nations last week.

Thunberg will join a local movement of students and activists led by two 13-year-old boys who started walking out of school in March and whose activism has led to action from the Iowa City school board and the Iowa City Council. They are now pressuring the University of Iowa to stop burning coal.

The city is planning road closures and parking bans in anticipation of the visit.

Road closures are Dubuque Street from East Jefferson Street to East Washington Street and Iowa Avenue from South Linn Street to North Clinton Street.

Roads will be closed from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, and vehicles parked in that area will be towed between 2 and 6 a.m. Friday. Vehicles can be moved to a downtown parking ramp or to on-street parking spaces outside the towing area.

Several bus routes will be detoured during the event, and some bus stops will be closed.

Starting at 6 a.m. Friday, the bus interchange will move from Washington and Clinton streets to a temporary location on Court Street between Clinton and Dubuque (adjacent to the Court Street Transportation Center) for the day. The Northside Free Shuttle Service will not be available Friday.

The following bus stops also will be closed:

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Outbound: Washington Street and Linn Street (stop 7200), Washington Street and Gilbert Street (stop 7201), Washington Street and Van Buren Street (stop 7046), Clinton Street and Jefferson Street (stop 7400), Jefferson Street and Linn Street (stop 7401), Jefferson Street and Van Buren Street (stop 7123), Jefferson Street and Dodge Street (stop 7403), Washington Street and Madison Street (stop 7082), and UI Main Library (stop 7080).

Inbound: Mercy Hospital (stop 7443), Market Street and Linn Street (stop 7206), and Clinton Street and Jefferson Street (stop 7207).

Customers who use these stops should catch their buses at the alternate interchange on Court Street. The stops will reopen Saturday.

Downtown parking ramps are anticipated to be full or near full, and the city is urging people to walk, bike or take public transit downtown if possible.

Those who drive are encouraged to use two parking ramps south of Burlington Street: the Court Street Transportation Center, 150 E. Court St., and the Harrison Street Parking Ramp, 175 E. Harrison St.

Comments: (319) 398-8339; alison.gowans@thegazette.com

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