An overflow parking lot at Davenport's Thunder Bay Grille is helping promote a menu of transportation options by providing a new park-and-ride location.

The parking lot, located west of Thunder Bay, 6511 N. Brady St, Davenport, now is available for those who rideshare, carpool and use other public transit. The parking lot is serving as a pick-up location for River Bend Transit's daily riders and its QC-IC Express shuttle to Iowa City and is adjacent to Davenport's CitiBus Red Line 4 route.

The designated lot was launched as part of the Iowa Park and Ride System Plan by the Iowa Department of Transportation, or IDOT, and is free to the public, said Joe Drahos, IDOT passenger planner.

According to Drahos, the state agency owns the 55-space parking lot, but has allowed Thunder Bay to use it. Now with a new public-private partnership, the lot will be used as both a park-and-ride location and overflow parking for the restaurant.

"We see it as a win-win for both of us," he said, adding that Thunder Bay will be in charge of the lot's maintenance, including snow removal.

By creating a place for commuters to connect, Drahos said it encourages ridesharing and "helps alleviate a little congestion on the roadways."

River Bend Transit Executive Director Randy Zobrist said the transit agency has seen an increase in its ridership, particularly among walk-on passengers since the lot began. In fact, he said nearly half of the shuttle riders now drive to the lot and park or are dropped off there.

In the future, Zobrist said the lot also could help encourage more commuting, particularly when the new Interstate 74 bridge construction begins to impact bi-state travel. "That might be a good location for people who are going to the same job location to jump in one car and then take only one car across the bridge."

The Davenport location marks the third park-and-ride lot rolled out by IDOT over the past year, joining locations at Kirkwood College in Cedar Rapids and one in Dyersville. The Davenport lot is about a half mile south of Interstate 80 at the intersection of North Brady Street and Veterans Memorial Parkway. It can be accessed via Jason Way Court.

For more information about commuting options and a map of other Iowa DOT park and ride locations, visit iowarideshare.org or iowadot.gov/ParkRide.

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