Apr 24, 2023 - News

More "road diets" are in Des Moines' future

Illustration of a road sign with a snail icon on it.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

DSM's road diets are about to get supersized.

Why it matters: A citywide series of street safety improvement projects is being recommended by a consultant hired to help eliminate traffic deaths in a draft report being presented to the City Council this morning.

Catch up fast: DSM is implementing Vision Zero, a Swedish transportation safety goal developed in the 1990s to eliminate serious accidents on streets.

  • The city's goal is to reach zero traffic deaths by 2040.
  • The plan can help DSM qualify for federal or state roadway improvement grants.

What they found: There were as many as 6,047 yearly crashes between 2017 and 2021, according to data analyzed by Toole Design Group, the Maryland-based consultant hired last year.

  • An average of 156 people were seriously injured or killed each year, with a disproportionate share of those occurring on four-lane streets without medians.
  • Most crashes occurred during peak evening commutes.Those that happened later were more severe.

Zoom in: The study pinpoints high-injury corridors, with University Avenue between 56th Street and East 40th at the top of the list.

  • Southeast 14th Street between Southridge Boulevard and Johnston Court was second.
  • Southwest 9th from County Line Road to Morgan Street was third.

Yes, but: Other areas may see traffic-calming projects first because of their "project readiness" and available federal funding, according to the report.

  • Sections of Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway/19th Streets, Douglas Avenue and Euclid Avenue are among them.

What's next: The council is expected to approve the report in coming weeks with the city seeking grants soon after, a city spokesperson tells Axios.


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