The Gazette covers City Hall, now a flood-damaged icon on May's Island in the Cedar River

City’s pursuit of cool, bicycle-friendly status needs you: Thursday evening event will help define where future bike routes should go

In City Hall on April 6, 2009 at 3:44 pm

There is a reason that no city in Iowa currently holds the standing with the American League of Bicyclists as a bicycle-friendly city.

It’s hard to accomplish.

The City Council here, though, wants to try to achieve the bicycle-friendly status just as cities like Madison, Wis., Ann Arbor, Mich., Eugene, Ore., and Fort Collins, Colo., have achieved it.

In that effort, the city’s Bicycle Advisory Committee is holding a workshop/open house on Thursday evening to work on a plan of action to secure bike-friendly status.

Thursday’s event will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. at the African American Museum of Iowa, 55 12th Ave. SE.

Those who attend will help the committee identify desired bicycle routes and amenities along the routes.

Participants also will address the five “E’s that are part of being bicycle friendly: engineering, education, encouragement, evaluation and planning and enforcement.

For more information, contact Ron Griffith, a city traffic engineer and the city’s bicycle coordinator, at 286-5154 or

  1. is it free to become one of these cities ? because this city is broke.

  2. This has to be the dumbest idea to come out of the city council since the giving themselves pay raises. Study after study (at tax payer expense mind you) has been presented to the council showing that bicycle lanes and bicycles in general are not a safe form of municipal transportation. Mr. Podzimek and his ilk are not interested in facts, only in his greenie ideology. Get the broom, clean them all sans Weineke out.

  3. Nominally, I don’t think that there is an application fee, per se. However, TANSTAAFL. The various committees, engineering resources, and eventually capital expenses for re-configuring streets and building paths will be anything but free. Witness the bicycle racks being added to the front of some buses in the City’s transit fleet. Anything but free, and will likely remain empty for the foreseeable future.

    One problem is, a city with the square mileage and population of Cedar Rapids will have a MUCH harder go of it than a city as compact as Iowa City, which already has significant bicycle resources already in place, and significant numbers of bicycle users.

    The other major problem with this idea is that, like most of the hare-brained schemes that the City has tried lately, they care more about the title of “Only Official Bicycle-Friendly Community in Iowa” than they care about actually having people USE bicycles (see also: 9 community development plans in 9 months, which is an exercise aimed towards getting published in community planning journals and national newspapers, not towards actually having GOOD planning).

    I’m sure it’s part of some marketing major’s idea of trying to find a way to elevate Cedar Rapids above Iowa City, Des Moines, etc. with “progressive” and “green” ideas.

  4. Amen Taxpayer and Brave Polish Lancer.This IS just another way to push through stupid ideas and projects instead of concentrating more on the people that were flooded out of their homes.Come on
    Council members,get the priorities straight.You’re cutting the budget for needed services but paying out HUGE consultant fees for
    some stupid studies.If the Mayor and Councilman-at-Large want to ride their bikes then go for it but don’t be spending taxpayers money becausa they think they are special and need special bike lanes.If we go to a “Bicycle Friendly City”,then we should also look out for another group and be a “Motorcycle Friendly City”.
    Get that broom and start sweeping out the temporary City Hall.

  5. I commend the city for attempting to improve bicycling in Cedar Rapids. Many other progressive communities around the country (some of those identified in Mr. Smith’s post above) have improved the quality of life for citizens by developing “bicycle friendly” programs and goals. I support the Bicycle Advisory Committee and I hope that it will begin to change the way people in Cedar Rapids think about bicycling as recreation and transportation.

  6. With all due respect, Mike Heffern, there are two things that those “progressive” communities have in common. One is high taxes/high property values (much like Iowa City), and the other? Well, if you hadn’t guessed by now, ALL four of those cities listed are home to State Universities (UW-Madison, University of Michigan, University of Oregon, and Colorado State University).

    The two cities in Iowa that received “Honorable Mentions” in the most recent application process were Des Moines, the home of high taxes, a large population, and a REAL downtown, and Cedar Falls, home of U.N.I. I’m pretty sure that Iowa City could get Honorable Mention just by batting their eyes at the Committee, if they cared about such titles.

    Cedar Rapids is NOT a university town. It’s not the home of high property taxes (yet… I’m sure it will be soon enough, unfortunately), and it was built by and on the backs of blue collar workers, and still excels in its blue-collar-ness. Until or unless you replace most of the factories in Cedar Rapids with offices and white-collar jobs, it will never be the “progressive” city that a minority of the population want it to be.

    If you want progressiveness, bicycle-friendliness, and high property taxes to subsidize bike initiatives, there’s a perfectly nice city 30 miles south of here that already has all those things. And until Iowa City and Cedar Rapids become one contiguous city, it will always remain “Us vs. Them”, for better or worse. In my humble opinion, though, it’s for the better, as it gives people a choice of where to live based on their respective values.

  7. Brave Polish Lancer: I like how you think!

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