Apr 14, 2023 - News

Scoop: Des Moines hits pause on downtown one-way conversions

A photo of Grand Avenue.

Grand Avenue's one-way westwardly route survives another year. Photo: Jason Clayworth/Axios

Des Moines is delaying plans to convert Grand Avenue and Locust Street into two-way trafficways, city engineer Steven Naber tells Axios.

Catch up fast: A 2018 report to improve safety and encourage pedestrian activity included recommendations to convert some of downtown's one-way streets, which can be susceptible to speeding.

  • The target areas generally start at the DSM River, running west about two miles to 15th Street.
  • Most of the work was slated to start this year.

What's happening: The project is now paused after city staff raised concerns about emergency response vehicles being able to make turns on the converted streets.

  • There are also questions about bus flow, potential increased risks at some intersections and a negative impact on parking.

Driving the news: A consulting engineering team hired by the city is digging deeper into the potential risks and will provide recommendations.

  • And the city this week launched an interactive website allowing people to pinpoint and leave comments at specific sites along the routes.

What's next: The engineering traffic study is anticipated to be completed at the end of the year.

  • An evaluation of the two-way study, public meetings and a possible implementation schedule will follow, Naber says.

Of note: A three-block segment of Grand’s conversion between Fifth and Second avenues was included in another project and is nearly complete.


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