people are pedestrians, and as pedestrians are endowed with
certain inalienable rights. Among these rights are life, liberty
and the pursuit of happiness. All too often, people must risk
their lives to walk. All too often, people are not at liberty
to travel outside the confinement of a motor vehicle. All too
often, barren streets allow one to walk, but produce no joy
or happiness from the experience."
of Pedestrian Rights (Read
More frpm the Declaration)
Problem Areas in Iowa City
Grand, Melrose, Byington
(University of Iowa Medical Campus)
difficult to imagine that pedestrian planning in this
area of Iowa City is anything other than an afterthought!
The photographs shown at the right shows example of a
part of the University
of Iowa where
the City of Iowa City
and reconfigured a traffic pattern on West Bank campus
with little regard to pedestrian safety. The interest
of driver speed is clearly the primary planning goal in
missing from this newly reconstructed section of
South Grand? The Sidewalk!
And just across
the street pedestrians are greeted with exiting
cars from this new parking ramp with no pavement
markings and no warning to drivers they might be
exiting into pedestrians.
Grand Avenue was rebuilt with no sidewalk at all on the
east side of the
street (pedestrians are expected
to use the Quadrangle
parking lot as a consolation prize). Directly
across the street
a new parking ramp was built
with no reminder to drivers that they
are exiting into a sidewalk. There
is no crosswalk marking at these exits. There are no signs
warning drivers to yield to pedestrians as they exit this
ramp into South Grand.
The intersection of South Grand and Melrose includes crosswalk
marking, but as traffic from South Grand to westbound
Melrose requires no stop, it can be difficult for a pedestrian
to cross the street at this location. This intersection
needs to be signalized with Melrose place to require a
stop before the right turn in order to allow pedestrians
to cross safely.
Melrose was made into a long block one-way street which
tends to tempt drivers into speeding toward the law school
pedestrian crossing. This crossing on a curve and has
no signage but does have pavement markings.
The one-way pairs created with
South Grand, Melrose, and Byington have resulted in a
campus street designed more with traffic flow in mind
than pedestrians. This is an odd choice for a busy college
campus with pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers.
No stop is required for vehicles
to turn right at this intersection. Problem is,
they rarely stop for pedestrians either. The crosswalk
is placed so far from the intersection that drivers
usually block it trying to make the left turn as
you can see here.
you see the crosswalk at Byington and Melrose? Drivers
generally can't or won't yield if they do see. Melrose
is one-way at this point and drivers usually get
to a speed well above the speed limit by the time
they reach this poorly placed crosswalk that has
no signage but is pavement marked. Pedestrians are
frustrated because of the poor alignment with walking
the Grand/South Grand Roundabout will be completed.
This project will add to the challenges pedestrians
faced because the sidewalk patterns make pedestrians
travel long ways around what should be straight-line
travel. Even now pedestrians are seen walking in the
street rather than using the sidewalks. Iowa is cold
in the winter and hot in the summer and pedestrians
should not be asked to take detours for the benefit
of automobile traffic. As traffic exits the roundabout
southbound, almost immediately there is a marked crosswalk
which will be a bit difficult for drivers to see (the
crosswalk also has no signage).
students return in the Fall, the missing sidewalk necessity
on South Grand will become apparent as a foot created
track appears in grass. After the first snow, pedestrians
have to make their own path in piled snow to access
the South Quadrangle parking lot as a substitute for
the sidewalk. Some pedestrians choose to walk in the
Benton Street Hill Crossing
City of Iowa City received a $50,000 Federal grant
to install an automated crosswalk signal that is
pedestrian activated (motion sensors). Previous
to this installation these were used in the City
of Seattle and proven ineffective. The warning to
drivers that a crosswalk may be occupied by a pedestrian
is largely ignored and the installation provides
little security to a heavily used and very dangerous
pedestrian crossing on West Benton.
Street crossing Dodge/Governor (Iowa Highway 1)
This is College and Dodge Streets. No crosswalk
marking at the intersection used heavily even
on this Labor Day, 2007 picture. Note the
ICPD officer failing to yield to this pedestrian.
Two blocks away at College and Governor a
pedestrian (highlighted) runs across an unmarked,
unsignalized, yet heavily used crosswalk.
The one way pairs of Dodge and Governor have
traffic frequently moving at speeds up to
40 mph (the posted speed is 25 mph)
Street as it intersects the one-way pairs (this
is Iowa Highway 1) of Governor Street (northbound)
and Dodge Street (southbound) is a heavily used
pedestrian crossing. There are no signals or crosswalk
markings at this intersection. The crosswalk is
not even signed. Pedestrians who demand their right
to cross at this pair of intersections are met with
hostility and epithets from many drivers. The speed
limit on the Governor/Dodge pairs is 25 mph and
is largely ignored by drivers and unenforced by
the ICPD. As you can see in the first picture, the
pedestrian crossing (although there are no markings,
this is still a legal crosswalk) blythely drives
by a pedestrian about to cross Dodge Street.
Do you think if this pedestrian would receive a
jaywalking ticket if he crossed before the squad
car? One Iowa City officer told me that all pedestrian
fatalities in Iowa City were the fault of the pedestrian.
Road Parking Ramp Crossing
Newton Road crosswalk has flag signs reminding
drivers that yielding to pedestrians is state
law. Also the crosswalk is raised to encourage
traffic calming before the crossing.
is one place the City and the University of Iowa
it right. There would be better compliance if
"flag" signs were mounted in the centerline
on a flexible fixture. The hump is a nice touch
and the compliance at this crossing is pretty good.
Iowa City needs about 50 more crossings just like
this one! Speeding enforcement needs to be stepped
up on Newton Road. This is the only street on campus
posted at 20 mph. (although enforcement is shoddy
and vehicular speeds are frequently much higher).
That speed limit should be repeated everywhere else
on the UI campus.
Newton Road crossing is the only place in
Iowa City where this flag sign is used in
Iowa City. Use of this signage is becoming
more common in other cities throughout the
United States. Iowa City Planner Jeff Davidson
has been quoted as saying he believes these
signs are ignored. The Newton Road crossing
is arguably the most driver-compliant crosswalk
in Iowa City.
Avenue and the
car is not stopping for this pedestrian at
the EPB/Iowa Avenue crossing.
UI English Philosophy Building
of your webmaster's constant pet peeves. The University
and the City of Iowa City made the crossing ADA
compliant and then refused to stripe the crosswalk
saying they didn't want to give pedestrians
a false sense of security. Perhaps if there
was traffic enforcement to slow the 35-45 mph traffic
down to the posted speed limit of 25 mph (lower
would be better) then perhaps pedestrians would
feel more secure. There is no real traffic need
that necessitates this be marked as a four lane
road. This is one mid-block crosswalk that is screaming
for a pedestrian-activated signal. The City of Iowa
City uses the 85% rule to justify that the average
vehicle speed in excess of 30 mph is of no real
safety concern since drivers are competent to judge
a safe speed in the presence of pedestrians (heavy
Street at Iowa Rail Crossing
runner is not well protected on this newly
constructed Burlington Street sidewalk due
to the distance between the crossing and the
busy street. Great for aesthetics, but lousy
for pedestrian safety.
is a newly constructed wide sidewalk which would
be great (wide enough to be shared by cyclists not
inclined to use Burlington Street with pedestrians)
if it weren't for the crossing (the access road
for the parking lot behind the Main Library and
English Philosophy Building) being so far away from
the actual intersection with Burlington Street.
Drivers turning into this access road from the busy
street will not likely willingly yield to pedestrians
here. As of this writing the crossing does not have
pavement markings or signs.
Street at Muscatine Avenue
traffic coming toward us in this picture may
make a left turn into Burlington without stopping.
While they are obligated to stop for pedestrians
crossing the end of Burlington it would take
a brave soul to cross here to continue on
to the signal at Court Street one block to
City traffic engineers and planners seem to be great
fans of intersections where drivers don't have to
stop. Burlington and Muscatine is one such intersection
in an otherwise very walkable close-in Iowa City
neighborhood. Where does one cross the street here?
Running is a good idea—should you be able!
a crosswalk marking to be had. Vehicles eastbound
on Burlington and northbound on Muscatine
approach this intersection fast! Some vehicles
have even overshot the curve coming down Burlington
to land in the front yards of the houses on
Muscatine. Those houses now have guard rails
let's not forget our dear sprawly
next door neighbor Coralville!
Racks at Coral Ridge Mall
only way one can use these bike rack at Coral
Ridge Mall is at the ends. The racks come
with installation guidelines but I guess they
weren't read. These certainly weren't installed
by anyone who has ridden a bike recently!
Was the idea that only bicycles ridden by the Jolly
Green Giant would ever be ridden to Coral Ridge
Mall? These bike racks are mounted about 18"
too high to be useful.
"Lane" on Fifth Street
about as wide as bike handlebars, it's littered
with, well, litter. There are sewer grates, pavement
imperfections and various other hazards. This
needs to be three feet wider and that would nicely
slow traffic down on Fifth Street.
Avenue Bike "Lane" on Coralville. An
exercise in "feel good" facilities.
But this lane is not likely to make anyone who
rides a bike feel good at all.
TV or illegal drugs but the automobile has been the chief
destroyer of American communities. Highways and roads obliterate
the places they are supposed to serve."
—Jane Jacobs, Dark Age Ahead