Posts Tagged 'Linn County Iowa'

Public meeting about Springville intersection: Tell DOT what you think

Springville, Iowa

Consider stopping in at American Legion Post 331, at 252 Broadway in Springville, on Tuesday (1/12/10) for a public info meeting of interest to cyclists and motorists alike.

The Iowa DOT is hosting the meeting between 5:30 and 7 p.m. to discuss proposed changes to the intersection of U.S. 151 and Linn County Road X-20 (AKA “Springville Road”).

HBA member Lisa Paulos says the modification plans initially did not include accommodations for cyclists or pedestrians. She reminds us that we need to continue to make our concerns known when these things come up. Sooner or later, maybe, planners will not need so much prompting to keep all road users’ needs in mind.

A DOT news release on Dec. 30 said the meeting will use an “open forum” format. No formal presentation, but DOT staff members will be there with plans, displays and other information and ready to discuss the project “informally.”

More detail from that news release:

“Left turns would be allowed from U.S. 151 across the median. Linn County Road X-20 left turn and through traffic would be restricted with the use of J-turns. Right turn lanes would be construction on U.S. 151 at the intersection.

“For general information regarding the proposal or the public meeting, contact Catherine Cutler, transportation planner, District 6 Office, Iowa DOT, P.O. Box 3150, 430 16th Ave. S.W., Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52406-3150, telephone 319-364-0235 or 800-866-4358, e-mail”

Let ’em know what you think.

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Have your say on Linn County office space

Off the bike…

…from a Lu Barron email asking people to spread the word:

Linn County is holding open houses Oct. 26 – 29 to gather public input about a permanent location for its administrative building. Attendees will be asked to fill out a survey at the open houses.

Through November 4, Linn County residents who can’t attend an open house can go to to see the displays and complete the survey.

Linn County is weighing five options for an Administrative Office Building because of flood-related damage to the site at 930 First St. S.W., in Cedar Rapids. County offices and staff from the AOB have been operating out of temporary locations since the 2008 flood.

The five options being considered are:

*    Returning to the Administrative Office Building as it was pre-flood.
*    Renovating, improving and expanding the Administrative Office Building.
*    Buying and renovating the Steve & Barry’s building at Westdale Mall for long-term use.
*    Buying and renovating the former Econofoods building on 51st St. NE in Cedar Rapids.
*    Co-location with the City of Cedar Rapids and/or school district in a yet-to-be-determined location.

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Stepping offline to pound the pavement: U.S. has jobs to fill in Linn County

Off the bike…

Over the past several months I’ve followed and participated in some online conversations about building networks. I’ve assembled some networks of my own for diverse purposes and helped some clients do the same.

In the past couple of weeks, though, I’ve taken some steps backward technologically into non-digital network building. Why? Because there are many people in the Cedar Rapids community who are not linked in, online and able to tweet at will from their digital devices.

Some things, I’ve been reminded, can’t be done entirely electronically – things like recruiting temporary workers for the U.S. Census Bureau, as I’m temporarily engaged in doing.

My territory is much of Linn County, Iowa, south and east of Highway 151, including Ely and Fairfax. In making the rounds of churches and other community centers to talk to people and distribute information, I’ve been reminded also of the devastation wrought by last summer’s floods.

A number of churches that were flooded are still holding services in other parts of the city. Some other organizations who serve the poor were dislocated, too. For example, when I visited Hope Lutheran Church, which at 2736 Bowling Street SW was spared from floodwaters, Pastor Dan’s generous help included a suggestion that I come back an hour later and talk to the CrossRoads Mission staff.

The mission’ s building at 526 Third Avenue SW was a victim of the flood along with the neighborhood it serves. The folks at the mission’s temporary quarters the day I stopped in said it was very likely they would have visitors who could use some temporary work. Most, however, wouldn’t have Internet access or even a phone to call the toll-free number.

The loss of our library in the flood only compounds that problem, since those computers are no longer available. Fortunately, people who don’t have other ways to apply can get the information and access to phones and computers at Iowa Workforce Development, 800 7th Street SE, Cedar Rapids. That office is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The toll-free U.S. Census Bureau Jobs Line phone number is 1-866-861-2010.

Information about applying for jobs is online, too, of course: Click here.

The benefits of having a job, even on a temporary basis, are obvious. A couple of final notes about the census:

Getting a correct census count in our area could be especially challenging because of the people who have lost their homes and had to relocate. Missing anyone who should be counted could mean missing out on federal funding that we need.

To quote from the website:

“The census count is used in determining representation in the U.S. House of Representatives, state legislatures, and local governments. It is also used in distributing about $300 billion in federal funding annually to states and localities for public programs in education, community healthcare, public transportation, housing, and other areas.”

Help spread the word. We need a correct count, and we have jobs for people to do.

Thank you.

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Supervisor candidates give views on bike-friendly Linn County

With the election coming up soon, I’ve been wondering what our candidates for supervisor think about making our roads safer for bicycling. So I asked them. What better way to find out? The question:

If you are elected, what will you do to make our roads safer for the bicycling public?

District 1

Lu Barron: As a member of the Metropolitan Planning Organization my priority is to pass and implement a “Complete Street” policy.

District 2

Linda Langston: I think first and foremost our goal should be to solicit more funding for roads that include bike lanes. Next, I think our obligation is to wherever possible include areas in the right of way for bike paths or lanes. I think that as we plan roads in the future we need to anticipate bike lanes to be included in road projects for minor and major arterial roadways. I also think that it is important to engage in collaborative projects to educate both drivers and bikers regarding road safety.

John H. Erceg: (New 11/1) As I understand the Linn County road system is largely gravel and not very suitable for bicycles of any kind. That said one must keep in mind as well that except interstates bicycles are allowed all the other roadways. The state of Iowa highway department also controls many roads outside of the counties control. The use of bicycles is generally broken down into sports/entertainment and personal transportation (a function of gas prices) both of these uses are controlled in large part by the weather. Except for the extension of abandoned rail lines for transportation and enjoyment there is no resources available for individual bicycle lanes at this time. If a group can show that there is a particular need and rider ship that needs to be served then I am unaware of a particular reason to afford a creation for bicycles.

District 3

Eric Rosenthal: (New 11/2) Planning and public education are critical components to building better infrastructure for biking. The incredible potential offered by biking has been realized in several European countries, but only after there is a broad understanding by the public of the benefits of such a lifestyle. So the first hurdle is public education. Then the next challenge is to incorporate bike lanes and trails into our regular planning processes for streets and roads. I grew up in Iowa City and enjoyed the bike lanes available there. There was consensus in the community so there was planning and coordination that resulted in bike lanes and trails. I hope that with the recovery from the floods we will choose to incorporate trails and bike lanes into our green spaces. It is a real opportunity that should not be missed. And I believe that there is community consensus to make it happen.

Ben Rogers: (New 10/24) As Supervisor, I would welcome discussion on getting bike lanes on county roads. I think our first priority is to secure more funding for roads that include bike lanes. I have lived in other countries that have adequate lanes for bikes and I would like to see a similar model in Linn County. This needs to be coupled with safety and ensuring motorists and bicyclists have ample room and right of way. I would also look forward in listening and learning more from the biking community how we can improve current trails, roads and educational programs for bikers and motorists..

District 4

Don Gray: (New 10/24) I would like to see, when road work is being done on arterial roadways, that a bike lane should be added; as well as when planning future roads. As more people turn to cycling as an alternate to driving, or simply as it becomes a viable recreation, I believe education regarding safety for both bicyclists and motorists need to be investigated and addressed. I welcome all input to this regard. I am proud to say that the City of Central City, along with the Central City Parks Commission have built a trail (for both bikers and walkers) from one end of town to the other. And, with Linn County, will have that trail eventually extended into Pinicon Ridge Park within the next several years. This is a fantastic addition to Central City, as well as Pinicon Ridge Park. I look forward to having future additions like this throughout the county.

Brent Oleson: I would be willing to sit down with any members of bicycling clubs or individual bicycle enthusiasts to discuss how to include serious proposals for improved educational programs when getting or renewing a driver’s license, working to get better enforcement of current laws and regulations regarding how drivers treat bicyclists on approach, and good ideas for incentive and awareness projects regarding this problem. I would entertain working with any existing local task forces or creating one, which should include members from bicycling enthusiast groups, local law enforcement, road engineer and trail/path planning agencies, school districts, and safety groups.

District 5

James M. Houser: (New 11/2) I have been a longtime advocate of trails. I initiated the paving of the Cedar Valley Trail from Hiawatha to the County Home Road. I also pushed for the tunnels under the County Home Road and Midway Roads for bike safety. The Linn County Conservation Board is currently applying for grant funding to pave another three miles of the Cedar Valley Trail going north from the County Home Road. I support that and hope we can eventually pave the trail all the way thru Linn County. We are also looking at the possibility of paving wider shoulders on our trunk collector roads to be used as bike lanes to give a expanded trail network on paved county roads.

Dave Machacek: As a supervisor, I would push to have roads improved to include a bike lane when they are either improved or resurfaced. I think trails are a great place to bike and would advocate improving existing trails to be more usable by both pedestrians and bikers. Being a farmer and rural resident, some of my most serious concerns involve bikers that elect to ride into either a setting or rising sun. They become virtually invisible to the vehicles overtaking them. I need your input as to how to deal with this.

To find out which district is yours, go to the Linn County website and locate yourself on one of the maps. The Gazette’s online voter guide might also be helpful. Pedal on. Comment? Full names, please.

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Toughest climbs in Linn, Johnson counties?

Question: What are the toughest hard-surface roads to climb on a bicycle in Linn County? How about Johnson County?

There are enough big, nasty hills not far from my house in Cedar Rapids to put together a pretty strenuous workout – 30th Street Drive SE, Indian Hill Road, Rosedale Road – but I’d like to compile a more complete list. (I’ll pull it out next time the “Iowa is flat” myth comes up.)

Are there hills that even the toughest climbers dread?

Which ones do recreational riders go out of their way to avoid?

Which would be good training for Blackjack or The Wall on TOMRV?

Point me to the baddest hills around by leaving a comment here. Maybe we’ll dream up a special event for the spring. Thanks!

Pedal on.

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