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New Plan Will Connect Most Popular Bike Trails

DALLAS COUNTY, Iowa — The idea is simple: take two favorites and join them together.

“Any trail rider or user will tell you that this is a great connection for central Iowa,” says engineer, Brenna Fall.

The map makes it look easy—run the High Trestle Trail west to Perry and join with the Raccoon River Valley Trail.

Riders have been calling for it.

“They ask ‘When are you going to make a connection from Perry to Woodward?’” says Mike Wallace, director of the Dallas County Conservation Board.

It’s NOT that easy. The section of abandoned railroad bed between Perry and Woodward was sold long ago to private landowners and can’t be recovered, but the demand to join the trails is higher than ever and the Dallas County Conservation Board has a plan to get the job done.

“One of the things we’ve been looking at doing is to build the trail off to the side of the existing county road right-of-ways,” Wallace says, “which has been done before, it takes a little bit more engineering and more money.”

The board got $92,000 late last year from the Iowa DOT and used that money to hire Snyder and Associates of Ankeny and their engineer, Brenna Fall.

“We have just started the feasibility study, just looking at the location,” she says.

Her firm has done many of the bike trails around here, but with no rail bed, this is a special challenge.

“It will take more time,” Fall says, “it may be a little bit more expensive than the other Rails to Trails projects but I think it’s a popular enough idea that it will go forward.”

Dallas County guesses it could run $5 million and take 4-5 years to fund and complete, but again, this seems to be an easy sell.

“And once you start it, that kind of feeds on itself,” says Wallace, “and then people see it’s a reality and they buy into the program and that helps as well.”

10 comments

  • PayYourWayBike!

    Yep, let’s spend MORE money on bike trails so the bikers can ride down the middle of busy streets with no lights, no reflectors, no respect. Four of them completely blocked 2 lanes of traffic the other day. If they want to ride on the roads, make them register their bikes and get license plates for them. THAT money can be used for the bike trails and bike lanes. JUST like the registration and gas taxes I pay to use my car pay for roadways. I’m not against them being there, but, they need to follow the same rules and they should help foot the bill! And I don’t want to hear ‘I have a car, I shouldn’t have to pay anything for my bike too’. If you have a car and a motorcycle or moped, you pay for both. You want the same privileges on your bike, take the same responsibility!

      • PayYourWayBike!

        Why NOT have bikes be registered if they are going to be on the road? Why not require bikes to have safety equipment to be on the road? Like the other vehicles on the road? Why is that not ok? If I want to ride a motorcycle, I have to go through additional training and get that added to my license. What is wrong with requiring something like that for cyclist if they want to ride on a road with a speed limit great than ‘x’ amount? AND just because ALL cyclists aren’t like the ones I have encountered, why does that mean the ones that ARE like that should just be allowed to be like that? why does the fact that you follow the laws/rules make it ok for others to break them? As a motorist, if I run a stoplight, or I don’t have proper safety equipment (like working lights) I will be pulled over and ticketed. I’m not going to get away with it because, not all motorists are like that. So, the argument that not all cyclists break the laws is stupid. The ones that do either don’t know better, or don’t care. They are the ones that are going to get killed or hurt, or get someone else killed or injured. Why not have them go through a class so at least they know the rules? I had to go through a class before I could drive my car. I had to drive with someone else first to learn the rules. If you want the privilege, take the responsibility.

  • Conservative Values (@conservativekc)

    Love to see investments like this. It’s a significant amount of money, sure, but bike/ped projects have a huge return on investment for our economic and physical health, and make our communities better places to live and work. It’s a fiscally sound investment to make.

    @payyourwaybike!, bicyclists and pedestrians are already paying into the roadway system (and subsidizing it to a greater extent than motor vehicle users), and yet you want them to pay more, more, more?

    • PayYourWayBike!

      How are bicyclists and pedestrians paying MORE than anyone else towards our roadways? Ask a cyclist sometime why he doesn’t want to ride on the trails. Granted some of them are riding places, such as to work, that they can’t get on the trails. Others will tell you ‘there are too many walkers, strollers, little kids moving too slow’. Guess what, the wobbly bike going down the middle of the road 10 miles under the speed limit, or the 2-4 bikes riding across the lane, those are the same to cars as the strollers and kids are to ‘avid bikers’ on a trail…a danger.
      I am really not against bikes on the road. I think, though, their needs to be some additional rules enforced. Again, why is it wrong to ask them to go through a training course? Why is it wrong to ask them to have lights/reflectors? Why is it wrong to ask them to register their bike so it can be identified if it does cause a problem on the roadways? If you talk to some cyclists, they will tell you that they get an entire lane and should ride right down the middle of the lane, they say that is the law. If you look at the Iowa Coalition for Biking website, it says they should ride as close to the curb as is safe and they should be single file if there is more than one biker. Then, you have bikers that ride INTO traffic on the left side of the road (which is what they taught us when I was in school about 100 years ago). Why not have to take a class so you know which of these techniques is correct? Isn’t it going to be safer if everyone, or at least most people, are doing it the same way so people know what to expect? And guess what, I own a bike too, in fact, we own 6 of them. We choose not to ride on the roads. So, I paid sales tax on my bike and I have purchased equipment for it, plus registering my car. I guess I walk sometimes too, so, I am also a pedestrian, I bought shoes, which I paid sales tax on….so…I am paying on all your fronts.

      Rather than attacking me though, explain to me why requiring bikes that want to be on the road to take some safety precautions is wrong. We expect it of EVERY OTHER vehicle that uses the roadways. Why should bikes be exempt? And no, I’m not talking about LIttle Johnny who is riding in his neighborhood to get to LIttle Billy’s house or the pool. Usually children are on the sidewalks and not in the middle of a lane anyway.

      • DC

        A bit ironic that @PAYYOURWAYBIKE’s rant is nearly entirely about bikes on roads when this article is about trails. Try to stay on topic.

        Thank you Iowa for continuing to make your trail system better. Our family is from Iowa, but we live out of state. Looks like we’ll keep scheduling our vacation time to visit your great state and system of trails!

      • David

        They are only a danger to motorists who are in a hurry to arrive at their destination 30 seconds sooner. There are far more motorists on the road who could use some remedial driving training than there are cyclists who need to go to class to learn the ‘rules’.

    • Troy Hendrickson

      oh wl then I’m sure you’ll support license and trail fees for cyclists to help fund trails like ATV owners are required to pay to support there trails. We also need to include cyclists in DUI prosecutions if they’re on the street, and insurance requirements as well.

      As a cyclist, I fully support such things.

      • Sally

        you can be arrested for public intox if you are walking down the sidewalk, so, I would assume a drunk biker could be arrested, or ticketed as well.

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