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.

Thoughts? Tips? A cute picture of a dog? Share them with LV »


Iowa City Book Festival

Oct. 18-24

A celebration of books, writing and ideas

Find Out More


Summer Programs 2020

Get 150+ local restaurants delivered to your door in the Iowa City & Cedar Rapids areas!

The Future is Unwritten

You look to Little Village for today’s stories. Your sustaining support will help us write tomorrow’s.


$10/mo or $120/year
The cost of doing this work really adds up! Your contribution at this level will cover telephone and internet expenses for one month at the LV editorial offices.


$20/mo or $240/year
$240 is enough to cover one month’s costs for sending out our weekly entertainment newsletter, The Weekender. Make a contribution at this level to put a little more oomph on your support and your weekend.


$30/mo or $360/year
(AUTO-RENEW) connects eastern Iowa culture with the world. Your contribution at this level will cover the site’s hosting costs for three months. A bold move for our boldest supporters!

All monthly and annual contributors receive:

  • Recognition on our Supporters page (aliases welcome)
  • Exclusive early access when we release new half-price gift cards
  • Access to a secret Facebook group where you can connect with other supporters and discuss the latest news and upcoming events (and maybe swap pet pics?) with the LV staff
  • Invitations to periodic publisher chats (held virtually for now) to meet with Matt and give him a piece of your mind, ask your burning questions and hear more about the future plans for Little Village, Bread & Butter Magazine, Witching Hour Festival and our other endeavors.