Letters to the Editor

Bicyclist wants seal coating to cease

I am over 60 and a bicycle commuter. It is my preferred form of exercise, riding year-round over 100 days per year. I am not alone, as I am seeing a gradual increase in the number of bike commuters.

Bike commuting has gotten easier thanks to street improvements, which are funded by the local-option sales tax (LOST) paid by motorists and cyclists alike.

I say thank-you to the voters who supported LOST. I say thank-you to the city for its ambitious commitment to streets, bike lanes and trails.

Adding bike lanes implies the city believes the benefits to the community outweigh increased costs for street striping, signage and sweeping (street debris is more hazardous to two-wheeled vehicles). So it remains a mystery to bicyclists like me, as well as parents of children who are learning to ride, as to why the city continues to seal-coat (coating streets with tar and gravel) residential neighborhood streets.

Seal coating is not good maintenance. In addition to being hazardous to cyclists, the gravel stays loose for months. Winter plowing and strong rains send gravel into storm sewers. Gravel reduces gutter capacity to convey stormwater. Pavement cracks and potholes reappear the next year and when the seal coat breaks loose potholes are often deeper than they were before.

Most people that I have spoken to where the city has seal-coated the streets would rather put up with pavement patching and wait for real paving versus tar and gravel.

Please stop the seal coating.

Ken Russell

Cedar Rapids

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