Bettendorf residents had a chance Monday to review a proposal to guide the development of the city’s recreational trail system along it arterial roads.
About 70 people attended a public open house Monday afternoon at the Quad-Cities Waterfront Convention Center to review the proposal for the development of recreational trails and bike lanes created by the Moline firm of Shive-Hattery after a study of the city’s arterial road system.
City Administrator Decker Ploehn said if approved by the city council, the plan would serve as a guideline for the inclusion of trail development as part of road construction or reconstruction projects in Bettendorf.
While some trails in the proposal, such as the separated trails along Middle Road and Devils Glen Road, already are included in the city’s community improvement plan, others are for roads that have not yet been developed.
Pat Lynch of Shive-Hattery said the study includes recommendations for four types of developments — separated trails, bike lanes that would be marked off on the road, a “share the road” plan that includes a slightly wider road but no delineated bike lane, and a combination of separated trail and bike lane.
Lynch said factors used in making the recommendations included traffic patterns and the availability of right-of-way. Lynch said the study includes recommendations for “share the road” systems along the city’s downtown arterial roads due to the lack of available right-of-way for a separated trail. In the northern part of the city, where much of the land is undeveloped and available, the plan calls for separated trails along the existing and future arterial roads.
Bettendorf resident Jim Slavens said he supported the idea of adding more recreational trails in the city because it would make help bring in more businesses and people.
“The bike paths create added value,” he said. “It’s a quality of life issue.”
Local cycling enthusiast Dean Mathias said the development of more trails would help make Bettendorf a destination for cyclists.
Dixon Novy, who helps local cyclists train for the Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa, or RAGBRAI, said he was hopeful that further development of Bettendorf’s bike trails would convince RAGBRAI organizers to consider Bettendorf as a possible stop for the annual event.
He said he also was hopeful other local cities would follow suit.
“I think Bettendorf is on the forefront now,” he said.
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Bettendorf Parks and Recreation director Steve Grimes said making the city more accessible for cyclists and pedestrian not only creates opportunities for people who walk or cycle for health purposes or recreation, it creates an alternate transportation system and allows people to connect with each other in a way that is not possible when they pass by each other in cars.
“I just think it really makes it a much more welcoming community,” Grimes said.
Bettendorf resident Chad Miller was among those who asked the city for a study of the recreational trail system last year when residents along Middle Road objected to a city plan to build a separated trail between Devils Glen Road and Parkway Drive.
Miller said Monday he believed the city should focus on putting in sidewalks where none exist before building more recreational trails.
Ploehn said city staff would meet with representatives of Shive-Hattery to review comments left by the public at Monday’s meeting before presenting a final proposal to the city council sometime in the spring.