Jun 3, 2021 - News
Making Des Moines streets safer, one curb at a time
A bicyclist riding by a bumpout near the corner of 4th and Locust streets in Des Moines.
A bumpout near the corner of 4th and Locust streets in Des Moines. Photo: Jason Clayworth/Axios

The concrete curb extensions that you may have noticed popping up around Des Moines in recent years are about to become far more common.

  • A $1.7 million project that goes before the City Council next week includes 35 more of them.

Why it matters: The bumpouts are part of a larger plan to make the city safer for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Flashback: The public in 2016 identified high speeds and large roads throughout downtown as some of the biggest challenges to development.

  • Overcoming "barrier streets" would help attract people to the area by making it safer, a city report the following year concluded.
  • Curb extensions reduce pedestrian exposures to traffic by shortening crosswalk distances and blocking some parking lanes from being used for through traffic.

Bumpouts are now standard design for many downtown streets where bike lines aren't planned, city spokesperson Devin Perry told Jason.

  • Areas with on-street parking along the curb are generally targeted areas.

What's next: Plans for bumpouts along Mulberry Street from 6th Avenue to 12 Street, and along 12th Street from Locust Street to West Martin Luther King, Jr. Parkway, will go before the council Monday.

  • Construction would begin this summer and complete in the fall of 2022.
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