Christmas in July: Iowa City Bike Lanes Are Finally Here!


For all the cool things about Iowa City, the place has never been known for its adept administration — I once counted two days without seeing a plow after several inches of snow — so you can imagine my surprise as I drove home this morning and saw an honest-to-goodness bike lane on Jefferson Street, complete with — get this — pothole patches all the way to the curb.

Was there some sort of mayoral coup I had missed? Had stimulus funds finally found their way to the heartland? Had the city managers finally tired of receiving my hate mail? Whatever the reason, I was so stunned that I literally pulled off Jefferson St. and ran back into the middle of it with my iPhone to take a photo commemorating the event (the above image can be seen if you’re at the corner of Jefferson and Lucas Street, looking west). I guess I would have known about this ahead of time if I actually read the local paper (and it turns out the actual story is a lot less exciting):

Kristopher Ackerson, assistant transportation planner for the Johnson County Council of Governments, recommends adding bicycle lanes on Jefferson and Market streets between Governor and Gilbert streets in a memo to the Iowa City Council. The items are part of the JCCOG Metro Bicycle Master Plan.

Ackerson wrote that studies have shown that cyclists ride more often and in a more predictable manner when bike lanes are available.

The bike lanes will be subject to the approval of the council. They will not require widening streets or reducing parking spaces, Ackerson said.

Shared lane arrows—or sharrows—are recommended for Jefferson and Market streets between Madison and Gilbert streets, as well as College Street from Summit to Linn streets.

Sharrows are an alternative to bike lanes and are used where road width is inadequate for bike lanes, according to the memo.

“Although popular in other cities across the country, this will be one of the first applications of sharrows in eastern Iowa,” Ackerson wrote.

This may be one of those minor technicalities/asshole moves, but sharrows have been in nearby Coralville for a while, and popped up about a month ago one hour north in Cedar Falls. But, hey, if Ackerson wants to portray it as a truly groundbreaking event, I’ll take it. I might even start paying some of those back taxes I owe the city, but I want to see a goddamn plow once in a while!

[Sharrows, bike lanes in the works — IC Press-Citizen]


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