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HUBBELL RESTRIPING: City Pitches Revised Plan

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After the city's original plan for restriping Hubbell Avenue drew sharp criticism, leaders moved on to Plan B.  Public outcry caused the city to ditch one idea for making the busy stretch of road safer.  Tonight, they are asking the council to move ahead with a restriping plan, but on a smaller scale.

“I thought it was a bad idea from the get go,” says Kerry McDermott.

McDermott has worked on the corner of Hubbell and Easton for the last 26 years.  He doesn`t see the point of dividing four lanes into three with a center turning lane.

“I think it would be better left alone.  It`s good the way it is,” says McDermott.

The city`s original plan for Hubbell would have looked a lot like Ingersoll Avenue with three lanes for traffic, including a center lane, plus designated bike lanes.

“There was significant neighborhood concern about that and that council said well, we`re not going to do that,” says Des Moines City Manager Rick Clark.

Now the city is proposing a variation of that plan, but without the bike lanes.  Clark says the plan would still include three lane striping, but on a smaller scale  It would stretch from Easton to East 33rd and it would only be temporary.

“We`ll sort of put temporary striping on the street to see how it works and we`ll run it for several months like that and if it doesn`t work well and improve the safety of the street, then we wouldn`t have to go forward,” says Clark.

Some still aren`t sold on the three lane configuration.

“There`s a lot of traffic on Hubbell.  It`s a main thoroughfare to Altoona.  I can`t see cutting it down,” says Cora Sizer.

Sizer says she wants more bike lanes.

“People should be able to ride to downtown if they wanted to ride to work.   I really believe that so I’m torn,” she says.

If the council decides goes ahead with it, the public will have a chance to weigh in at community meetings.  The $220,000 project will be paid for by a federal grant.