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Letter to the editor: Iowa City’s sidewalk closures favor drivers over pedestrians


Pedestrians walk near the intersection of Burlington and Madison streets in Iowa City. Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019. — Zak Neumann/Little Village

By Donald Baxter, University Heights

Iowa City is on an unending rotating schedule of sidewalk closures due to the corresponding unending construction. It’s too bad that Iowa City seems to have never actually looked at how a progressive, civilized city deals with sidewalk detours. Hint: accommodating pedestrians for construction shouldn’t involve forcing a pedestrian to actually cross a street three times (one of these crossings is un-signalized and drivers ignore their legal responsibilities with abandon).

The recent Burlington/Madison intersection sidewalk and crosswalk closure asks for a lot of safety challenges and inconvenience for pedestrians — and asks for nothing of drivers. No lane closures, no speed enforcement. For cyclists who aren’t secure and unwilling to use Burlington or Madison traffic lanes and rely on sidewalk riding (legal on campus and outside of downtown Iowa City), they suffer similar safety issues and inconvenience.

Nothing. Which shouldn’t surprise anyone. Iowa City is a pedestrian-hostile place years behind cities who do much better.

Iowa City will change this only after someone is hit and killed. It shouldn’t take that to start doing the right thing. Meanwhile, the drivers get a pass.


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