Q. The Quad-City Times recently had an article with the extended bike trail grand opening ceremony along U.S. 67 heading toward LeClaire. At the current ending spot before Pleasant Valley, the article said bike riders are to use the extended shoulder. This area is always covered with loose gravel and runs along side traffic moving at least at the posted 55-mph speed. Is this actually safe to ride on for bike riders, families, etc.? The article went on to talk about the future destination of LeClaire and Princeton — where this extended highway shoulder has been paved — but is directly adjacent to highway-speed cars, trucks, etc. Is this sanctioned as a safe bike trail? Will it be painted with a bike trail symbol to alert car drivers that they should expect bike riders along side of their vehicles? — Karen, LeClaire
A. Quad-City Times reporter and former Ask the Times columnist Deirdre Cox Baker covered the story. She contacted the city of Bettendorf and the Iowa Department of Transportation regarding your questions. Here were their responses:
"About those extended shoulders: We contacted Steve Grimes, who directs the Bettendorf Parks & Recreation Department, and the maintenance department of the Iowa Department of Transportation, or DOT. Grimes said the city of Bettendorf will work to keep the shoulders clean, up to the city limits, which is near Harbor Drive in Bettendorf.
"Clyde Tobey, supervisor of maintenance for District 6, of the DOT, does not refer to the shoulders as for bikes, but sees them as for increased safety along the busy highway. Passing semi-trucks spew gravel, and rock washes out in the area. In addition, the DOT does some hole patching, which uses pea gravel, and that could be part of the reason the reader notices gravel on the wide shoulder. But Tobey said the extension was not specifically designed for bicycles.
"Several bike riders who discussed the shoulder extensions noted they should be used by experienced bicyclists."
Q. I was notified by Iowa DOT regarding renewing my driver's license. There are six websites to obtain info to "renew in a way that works for you." I do have access to a computer, but I know many older citizens who do not use a computer. There was no telephone number on the card to receive info. I find this quite discriminatory to many Iowans. What do you think? — Fran, Bettendorf
A. Here is the contact information for the local driver's license facility: Iowa Department of Transportation-Scott County, 902 W. Kimberly Road, Davenport, Iowa 52806; the phone number is 563-386-1050 or call Iowa DOT in Des Moines at 515-244-8725.
I understand the facility can be a little difficult to locate. The facility is located in the Village Shopping Center in the back on the northwest corner. There are several different phone directories, but most contain a government section usually with a blue tab. The Iowa Department of Transportation would be under the state government listing.
Older Iowans without a computer also can contact their local public library for help. The Bettendorf Public Library number is 563-344-4175. The Davenport Public Library number is 563-326-7832.