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Letters to the Editor/Online Comments

BY DI READERS | JULY 23, 2013 5:00 AM

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The City’s “Gateway Project” would spend $40 million of your tax money to transform Dubuque Street into an elevated highway along City Park.

This plan will raise Dubuque Street 15 feet, meaning it will be above the level of the current streetlights. This new elevated highway will run from Foster Road at Highway I-80, down along City Park, and all the way up to Church Street, essentially extending Highway I-80 into the heart of Iowa City. Also required will be highway-grade steel guardrails, to protect cars from the precipitous drop.

If you go to City Park now, you can walk along the river with a view of the hills, trees, and bluffs. If we put in this elevated highway, we will instead walk below cement structures, with traffic whizzing by 15-20 feet above our heads.

Our town won’t look like Iowa City anymore; it will look like everywhere else on the road to Chicago.

This plan was originally framed by the project managers as a “worst-case scenario,” but it has been renamed “The Preferred Alternative.”

It’s a staggering misuse of public funds and an enormous urban-planning mistake.

Flood mitigation is a necessity. There are less invasive and less impactful alternatives.

Shortly, the City Council will vote on this extreme proposal. If it passes, we’ll spend $40 million and trade in our greatest open space to make Dubuque Street into an elevated highway.

Contact your city councilors: Oppose the “Gateway Project” now, before it’s too late.

Steve Tannen

I would prefer if the city went with a more modest elevation (somewhere between the 100-year and 500-year flood level) and planned to use HESCO barriers if needed. The 10-15 foot elevation is extreme and expensive. The emphasis on the Gateway will be a highway-style road, not the scenic, pastoral entrance we have now. And, yes, the project is overly wide in places that can barely handle five lanes of traffic and 8-foot-wide sidewalks.

Sharon DeGraw

And herein lies the crux of a lot of Iowa City’s problems. You’ve got a contrast between the people who realize that Iowa City is too popular and crowded to be run like a quaint little village and the people who want their quaint little village. Very few cities of this size, in any state in the U.S., are as poorly planned as Iowa City. You’ve got thousands of students living within a few square blocks near downtown, yet most of your roads are two-lane or even one-way. You’ve got parking for maybe a 10th of your downtown population, so you’ve got hundreds of cars lining the downtown area streets all winter via calendar parking, which, in combination with quaint little brick roads that can’t even be properly plowed, make many roads nearly impassable if you get more than a few inches of snow on the ground. You’ve got a 70,000-plus capacity stadium and a 6,000-plus employee hospital right next to each other, both accessed by what? Two-lane Melrose.

And now you’ve got people fighting raising the road to mitigate flooding because of the visual impacts.

I’m not an Iowa State fan, but Ames is a town that figured out a long time ago that if it’s going to try to support the population of a university town, it needs to plan and build like a university town.

Online user clarkshorneau


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