City Council Member Raising Concerns Over Walkability Due to Downtown Construction

DES MOINES, Iowa -- The concerns raised by Des Moines City Council Member Christine Hensley could have leaders creating a new ordinance. The problem: Pedestrians are being forced to walk in the streets to get around construction downtown.

It seems like the ongoing construction is everywhere, like City Hall, Southwest 3rd and Market, by El Bait Shop, you can't avoid it.

"It`s a pain but I know, in the long run, it will be okay," said Monty Nyguard.

But in the meantime, it's a headache.

"That`s a pain, I mean you do kind of have to walk out in the street sometimes," said Katie Peters.

In some areas like at 7th and Grand, there are no sidewalks on either side of the street.

"I`ve almost been hit a few different times by a few different cars that just aren`t paying attention," said Michael Bialas. "It really sucks that there isn`t a sidewalk for me to safely get to my transfer spot."

For pedestrians like Peters who have to walk the area, things can get dicey.

"It`s a bit scary. My back is turned to traffic so I can see exactly where I'm going but I can`t see if another car is going to swerve into me or not so I can`t predict what to do," said Peters.

Bialas works at Principal and knows how dangerous the situation can get.

"Especially when you`re trying to get to and from as quickly as possible and you have to kind of fight oncoming traffic sometimes," said Bialas."

That's why City Council Member Hensley wants something to be done about it.

"From what I understand, other communities have ordinances in place that have requirements of the developers that they always provide a pedestrian walkway," said Hensley.

"Absolutely, that is the case in other communities and it even includes protection from the weather elements as well and scaffolding,  that type of thing," said City Manager Scott Sanders.

After discussing the issue, the City Council unanimously voted to refer the matter to the City Manager`s Office and the appropriate departments.

They will look at options and come back with recommendations to the council.