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Pedestrians worried about crossing Dubuque Street as city raises speed limit

IOWA CITY, Iowa (KWWL) – The city covered up 25-mile-per-hour speedometers on Dubuque Street in Iowa City this week, the last remnant of the flood-fighting Gateway Project.

The small stretch of Dubuque Street between Kimball Road and Ridge Road remained a 35 mph zone in city code throughout the multi-year project but city council decided to add 25 mph signs in 2014, trying to slow drivers in a high pedestrian area.

“The road is kind of designed for 35-40 mph speed limit and I think it’s kind of deceiving to put 25,” University of Iowa freshman Ethan Page said.

City staff say they found the same thing in a report to council earlier this fall, finding the average speed in the area to be 34 mph, with 85% of cars traveling at or below about 39 mph.

“It’s like a freeway going through a park,” Iowa City cyclist Donald Baxter said of renovated Dubuque Street.

Page is one of the 1,032 UI students who live at Mayflower Hall off of Dubuque Street. While he doesn’t necessarily oppose the 35 mph speed limit, he would like to see more precautions taken at the crosswalk in front of Mayflower.

“Maybe put some more pedestrian signs around it,” Page said.

The city has said it will do a brief re-evaluation after changing the speed limit, to assess whether warning lights, signage or striping is needed.

City staff also reports there have been no bicycle or pedestrian collisions on Dubuque Street since construction’s completion.

Travis Breese

Reporter, Iowa City

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