Sep 8, 2021 - Politics

Des Moines drivers petition to reverse recent "road diet" project

A photo of a concrete curb bump-outs added along Euclid Avenue recently.

Tire marks, broken pieces from vehicle bumpers and damage to signs show evidence of multiple vehicular crashes to the concrete curb bump-outs added along Euclid Avenue recently. Photo: Jason Clayworth/Axios

Des Moines' latest "road diet" isn't sitting well for some drivers who are lobbying for the city to undo changes made in a pilot street project.

Why it matters: The $200K project completed just weeks ago in Highland Park's business corridor was devised as a way to calm traffic and improve safety following concerns about speeding, as well as crash rates that were nearly double the statewide average.

  • But critics contend it's poorly designed and dangerous.

What's happening: Neighbors launched an online petition after Euclid Avenue's four lanes, from 12th Street to 2nd Avenue, were converted last month into single lanes in each direction, with a center turn lane.

  • Some argue that concrete curb bump-outs used to help narrow the street are difficult to distinguish.
  • The project is under evaluation by city and state traffic officials for at least the next year before they determine whether the changes will be made permanent.

Of note: Des Moines has been shrinking the number of lanes on major roadways for years under a national initiative that's been met with opposition from several Iowa lawmakers.

What they're saying: DSM resident Kathryn Williams told Jason she's concerned with public safety and posted on neighborhood social media app Nextdoor to alert others.

  • Highland Park Neighborhood Association vice president Phil Herman said more signage and paint markings are likely needed to make bump-outs more visible. He believes the project needs further review.

Got thoughts? Des Moines' Traffic and Transportation division can be reached at 515-283-4973 or via email at [email protected].

  • Almost 40 people have made comments to the city about the project in the last month, some before it was completed.

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