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A task force is being created to establish and solve the problems of bikers, pedestrians and motor vehicles in and around Campustown.

The Ames City Council had a few members of council staff address a request from the Student Affairs Commission concerning bikes and nonmotorized vehicles in Campustown.

The staff focused on two main concerns — the addition of more bike-friendly locations and to reduce the number of collisions involving bicyclists with both pedestrians and cars.

The staff discussed their findings at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting, and the decision was to create a task force to establish a plan to improve the safety of not just one of the groups, but all of them.

The task force'sfindings consisted of a 64-page report, which included its findings after issuing a survey to bicyclists, pedestrians and business owners along Lincoln Way and Welch Avenue.

“The Lincoln Way corridor in Campustown is reflective of a time when parking adjacent to businesses, fewer cars and slower speeds were characteristic of this roadway,” the report states.“As the traffic volume on Lincoln Way has exceeded 23,000 daily trips and speeds have increased, challenges have been created for all users of the road.”

The staff met with Campustown Action Association’s Transportation Task Force to discuss the relationships with cyclists, pedestrians and motorized vehicles.

One of the staff members said biking on certain sidewalks in Campustown is not allowed because of the high volume of pedestrians that also use those sidewalks.

Municipal Code Sec 4.13 prohibits bicycling on sidewalks on the south side of Lincoln Way from Stanton Avenue to Hayward Avenue, on Welch Avenue north of Knapp Street and on the east side of Hayward Avenue from Lincoln Way to Hunt Street.

The survey the staff conducted helped them discover a few options that could be done around Ames to benefit both bicyclists and pedestrians.

One of the staff members explained that in downtown cities, parking garages tend to succeed when they have good signage directing traffic toward them, and the Ames Intermodal Facility lacks that.

The Ames Intermodal Facility is located on Hayward Avenue, near the corner of Chamberlain Street.

Another solution discussed was adding more bike racks around Campustown, and at the Ames Intermodal facility, so bicyclists would be less inclined to lock their bikes to parking meters or city benches.

“It is a realistic idea,” said City Council member Matthew Goodman. “We can put the bike racks [at the Intermodal facility], but I don’t think that putting them there would be utilized by students.”

The last option discussed was to eliminate parallel parking in front of businesses on these streets, which several business owners said they thought would negatively impact their businesses due to losing parking spaces directly in front of their businesses.

A staff member discussed that if removing parallel parking was the option selected, it would need to be utilized as efficiently as possible, in ways such as installing parklets or sidewalk cafes.

Three options were presented to the council by the staff members in regards to the solutions they found.

One of the solutions was not to do anything; establishing parking was the more important priority. Another solution wasto move forward with eliminating parallel parking for the installation of bike lanes, meaning cyclists were the more important priority.

The last, and chosen option, was to create a task force to further investigate the issues and, if possible, how both needs could be satisfied.

“I think we should move forward with creating a task force,” Goodman said. “In their discussions, we should include the issues of installing better signage and installing the bike racks, but also whatever else comes from the discussion.”

Goodman explained the importance of other nonmotorized vehicles, such as skateboarders, and to not limit the discussion to specific groups. He expressed the need for a task force to determine any more issues that might have been overlooked.

According to the report issued by the staff members, the task force's goal will be "to identify creative solutions to satisfy both needs."


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