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Officials Discuss Trail Linking C.R., Iowa City

Plans for Bike Path Still in Early Stages

Hieu Pham

Iowa City Press-Citizen

April 28, 2006

[Note: This material is copyright by the Press-Citizen, and is reproduced here as a matter of "fair use" for non-commercial, educational purposes only. Any other use may require the prior approval of the Iowa City Press-Citizen.]

Bike enthusiasts may have something to look forward to as Iowa City area officials discuss a possible recreational trail that would link Iowa City to Cedar Rapids.

Two routes are being discussed for the paved trail. One route would start in Iowa City, run through North Liberty, along Highway 965, and end in Cedar Rapids. The other route would follow the old Rock Island Railroad, also know as the Hoover Nature Trail, run through Solon and Ely and end in Cedar Rapids. Standard-sized paved trails are about 10 feet wide and made of concrete or asphalt.

Iowa City assistant transportation planner John Yapp said the idea was in preliminary stages. He said more information would be available after May 22, when area officials and legislators will meet to discuss the trail.

"The trail systems within Iowa City, Coralville and North Liberty are all starting to connect anyway," he said. "(Also) the Cedar Rapids trails system is being pretty well built out."

He said officials were interested in connecting Iowa City and Cedar Rapids to benefit the overall concept of the North Corridor.

Because most of the trail would be in Johnson County, the proposed trail would need to be approved by the Johnson County Board of Supervisors, Yapp said.

Terry Dahms, a member of Friends of Iowa River Scenic Trail, said he thought a multipurpose trail system would appeal to many people who fit into the "casual users" category.

"Casual users are walkers, runners, people on rollerblades, children, parents, grandparents -- people who don't get out on a bicycle that much," said Dahms, a biking enthusiast who uses his bike daily to commute through town.

Currently, Iowa City bicyclists have 30 miles of paved or unpaved trails to choose from, including 8-foot-wide sidewalks along Scott Boulevard intended for pedestrians and bicyclists. City trails now extend to the Coralville Reservoir north of Iowa City and to North Liberty.

Yapp said he expected the trail to be completed in phases over several years.