Monthly Archives: September 2010

Managed Lanes for the Twin Cities?

According to the Star Tribune, transportation planning in the Twin Cities is undergoing major changes. Rather than attempting to keep up with suburban expansion, planners have chosen to adopt the notion of managed lanes on existing roadways, which will be available to “buses and drivers who are willing to pay extra to skirt stalled traffic.”

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Filed under Congestion Management, Street & Highway

Public Transportation in the Central Business District

Public transportation options in downtown Des Moines are rapidly changing. Earlier this month, the B-Cycle program launched. The Business Record notes that the Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority (DART) is set to begin work on its new intermodal facility early next year and that efforts to bring passenger rail to the metro area also are underway.

DART’s new hub could open as soon as 2012 between Sixth Avenue and Seventh Street south of Cherry Street. The $22 million facility will serve as both the DART main offices and a user-friendly station that is safer than the current Walnut Street Transit Mall, officials say. Construction is scheduled to start early in 2011. Rendering submitted

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Filed under Bike-Ped, Public Transportation, Rail

Grimes to Remain DART Member

The Des Moines Register reports that the City of Grimes will remain a member of the Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority (DART). In November 2009, the City Council voted to withdraw from DART. At a meeting last week, however, the City Council opted to rescind its previous decision.

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Filed under Public Transportation

Rain Delays Roadway Improvements

During the summer of 2010, central Iowa experienced heavier rains than usual. As a result, the Des Moines Register reports that work on Grand Avenue between Fuller Avenue and the entrance to Raccoon River Park has experienced several delays. The project is slated to wrap up in December, but more rain could push this back.

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Filed under Street & Highway

Free GIS Instructions Available Online

Thanks to Iowa State University Extension, a series of Quick Task Sheets is available online. These guides provide instructions on how to perform specific Geographic Information System (GIS) tasks.

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Filed under General

Val Gate District Plans Unveiled

In August, the City of West Des Moines unveiled its plan to reinvigorate the east end of Grand Avenue. The Val Gate District, according to the Des Moines Register, stretches from First Street to Fourth Street and is a commercial area with a 1950s style motif. The plan includes improved sidewalks, more landscaping, and relaxed code requirements that will help facilitate property improvements.

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Filed under Environment, Street & Highway

Automobiles’ Impact on Wildlife

Thanks to technology, a retired California veterinarian is mapping automobiles’ impact on wildlife. Using cameras and GPS devices, this veterinarian, along with hundreds of volunteers, has developed a website to better comprehend where automobile-animal incidents occur.  The New York Times reports that researchers plan to utilize the roadkill data to forecast where such incidents are likely to occur and to decide where to place warning signs.

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Filed under General

Extending Waveland Trail

According to the Des Moines Register, work to extend Des Moines’ Waveland Trail is underway. The extension runs along Glendale Cemetery between University Avenue and Franklin Avenue and is ten feet wide. Plans call for the trail to extend to Interstate 235 in the future.

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Filed under Bike-Ped

Traffic Deaths Drop

According to the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), traffic deaths are at their lowest level since 1950. In 2009, the number of deaths dropped nearly ten percent to fewer than 34,000, even as the number of miles driven increased slightly. Experts attribute the decline to an increase in the number of people wearing seatbelts and to the economic decline, reports CNN.

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Filed under Street & Highway

The Polar Bear & The Leaf

Nissan recently launched its 100 percent electric Leaf. Now, marketing efforts are underway for this vehicle that creates no emissions and possesses a range of 100 miles on a single charge. The “Polar Bear” commercial, part of Nissan’s “Innovation for All” ad campaign, has garnered much attention since its debut last week. This entry is not an endorsement of the Nissan Leaf.

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Filed under Environment, Street & Highway