Ames City Council to address inclusive sidewalk compliance


Grant Tetmeyer/Iowa State Daily

Ex-Officio Devyn Leeson at an Ames City Council meeting June 18, 2019. Leeson proposed a list of nine policy ideas for the Council to look into regarding landlord-tenant relations.

Amber Mohmand

The Ames City Council biweekly meeting will start earlier at 5 p.m. Tuesday to discuss an internet feasibility study, regulations surrounding the all-inclusive sidewalk, Ames Plan 2040 and a proposed application for new CyRide routes and increased frequency. 

The meeting will take place in the Council Chambers at City Hall. 

An all-inclusive sidewalk was unveiled Sept. 3 at the intersection of Fifth Street and Douglas Avenue, and the project was voted unanimously in favor of the design by the City Council. Mark Johnson, the acting division administrator of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), wrote a letter to Ames City Manager Steve Schainker informing him about how the sidewalk is not compliant with the manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices.  

In the letter, Johnson requested the council “take the necessary steps to remove the non-compliant crosswalk art as soon as it is feasible.” Johnson said the sidewalk art could distract and compromise the safety of pedestrians and motorists, which presented a liability concern for the City of Ames. 

Ames City Attorney Mark O. Lambert said in a memo to Mayor John Haila and the council that there is still a question about whether the jurisdiction falls under the City of Ames or the FHWA, who did not have a direct answer and are still researching this topic. 

City Council will bring up the idea of pursuing an Internet Feasibility Study, which will evaluate a possible path to accomplish availability, reliability, speed, customer service, cost and net neutrality. The study will have three phases: understanding the landscape, preliminary study and gap-filling with decision point and pursuit of a long term path concluding the study. 

A discussion about rezoning 0.68 acres of vacant land located at 507 Lincoln Way will be used as a way to situate a drive-through facility in a preferred location. It will also discuss support of relocating the existing Starbucks Coffee at 327 Lincoln Way in anticipation of future development within the 300 block of Lincoln Way.

There will also be mention of the Iowa Department of Transportation Clean Air Attainment Funds Application to be submitted. The application requests a new route expansion for the CyRide #12 Lilac bus — peak only — and adding frequency to #1 Red, #11 Cherry and #7 Purple. The request was made due to the growth of CyRide’s ridership and Iowa State enrollment. 

City Council will also discuss Ames Plan 2040, which was brought up in July. It will cover the intended structure of the plan and confirm the general approach for preparing the draft plan.