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Q: My daughter is getting married and would like to get married outside. I was just wondering if you could tell me of any outdoor wedding venues in the Iowa Quad-Cities?

— Julie, Davenport

A: The Conservatory and Rose Garden at Vander Veer Botanical Park in Davenport are popular sites for wedding ceremonies, as well as the Stampe Lilac Garden and Gazebo at Duck Creek Park in Davenport. Those sites can be reserved through the Davenport Parks and Recreation Department, 700 W. River Drive. Reservations are made for blocks of time in two-hour increments. The Rose Garden is available during park operating hours, from sunrise until one half-hour after sunset and can accommodate 150-200 people. Fees for the Rose Garden and the Duck Creek sites are $150 for two hours, while the Conservatory is $250. Call

(563) 326-7812 for more information.

Shelters at Scott County Park and other county parks also may be reserved through the Scott County Conservation Board for $45 to $130, while Olde St. Ann’s Church rental is $300 for three hours. Call

(563) 328-3280.

As well, many churches and private reception venues may have outdoor options. Readers, do you have any other suggestions for Julie and her daughter?

Q: As you drive around Davenport, the yellow caution light comes on at the stoplights at different frequencies. Is there a law that the yellow warning light has to be on for a certain amount of time? In some instances it’s on about one second before it turns red. Are they timed at different intervals?

— Samuel, Quad-Cities

A: Gary Statz, Davenport traffic engineer, says there is no law establishing minimum yellow-light timing. The yellow lights are timed based on principles established in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. The yellow-time formula incorporates the slope of the road approaching the signal, driver perception-reaction time and the speed of the traffic.

“Our policy is to have a minimum time of 4 seconds, even if the number derived from the formula is less than that,” he said.

All of the yellow-light times in Davenport exceed the minimum required and range in time from 4 seconds to 5.5 seconds. The signal controllers that run the intersections have a default minimum yellow time of 3 seconds, so it is impossible for us to set a yellow time of less than 3 seconds.

Q: Billboards along Interstate 80 have always been so far off the road that some are barely readable, yet now I’m seeing giant towering billboards on poles being erected next to the road all over the place. Is there some regulation about billboards that has changed?

— Deborah, Wilton, Iowa

A: We asked Brooks Glasnapp, the Iowa Department of Transportation’s advertising management supervisor, about this.

“The answer is rather complicated,” he said.

He’s right. Iowa passed a bill in 1965, as an incentive for interstate highway funding, prohibiting billboards from being within 660 feet of the interstate, but with certain exemptions — being within a city’s limits in areas zoned commercial or industrial in 1959. Outdoor advertising companies started putting up larger billboards outside the 660-foot limit. In 1972, Iowa passed a law that prohibited building billboards outside the 660-foot control area as well as establishing standards for size, lighting and spacing.

In 2003, the Iowa Legislature amended the law, removing the 1959 date and merely requiring that the location be zoned commercial or industrial and also used for commercial or industrial purposes. “Since then, there have been a handful of new locations approved for billboards and some of these may be the billboards noticed by this reader,” Glasnapp said.

More information on billboards can be found at

(Answers provided by Community Editor Linda Watson, city of Davenport and reporter Kurt Allemeier.)

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