This email was sent to the Iowa City City Council in advance of its work session on redesigned streets.
Dear Mayor Throgmorton:
On Monday, April 2, the City Council will be reviewing at its work session proposed designs for American Legion, Foster, and McCollister Roads. I am disappointed to see that even after the adoption of the Bicycle Master Plan, the proposed designs include 11 ft car lanes, at the expense of bicycle accommodations.
These changes will be some of the first redesigns after the adoption of the Bike Master Plan. The decisions you make now set the tone for what we want our city to be in the future. As we develop our roadways and neighborhoods, we need to keep in mind that safety of our residents is of the utmost importance.
According to NACTO, lane widths of 10 feet are appropriate and have a positive impact on a street’s safety without impacting traffic operations. Simply put, wider lanes may cause cars to increase speed and assume valuable right of way at the expense of other modes of transportation. I am concerned that the 11 foot lanes will convey permission to increase speed in these areas.
American Legion Road is the home of the new Hoover School and a thriving neighborhood (Windsor Ridge.) The city’s bike trail has been extended through the neighborhood, with the intent of connecting it to the new school. In addition, American Legion is a popular bicycling route, even though it has not had any bicycle accommodations, even a paved shoulder. The recently adopted bike plan notes that American Legion Road is a principal bikeway with a sidepath.
Objective 1.5 of the Iowa City Bicycle Master Plan refers to the NACTO Bikeway Design Guide and the AASHTO Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities.
· The NACTO Urban Street Design Guide states, "Lane widths of 10 feet are appropriate in urban areas and have a positive impact on a street’s safety without impacting traffic operations."
· The NACTO Urban Bikeway Design guidance on conventional bike lanes states under required features, “the desirable bike lane width adjacent to a curbface is 6 feet.”
· The AASHTO Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities cites a minimum of 5.5 feet. (1.5’ gutter pan + 4’travel).
Allowing wider traffic lanes at the expense of other accommodations simply continues to encourage traffic speeding on a street designed to improve safety for bicyclists and pedestrians commuting to the new school.
I encourage the city to adopt 10 foot travel lanes and 6 foot bike lanes as the baseline design for new urban roadways. This supports the NACTO recommendations. This supports slower speeds. At slower speeds, it is easier for roadways to accommodate safe passage of bikes, trucks, buses, cars and scooters.
Sincerely, Anne Duggan
President, Think Bicycles of Johnson County