ADVOCACY

2017 TSTV Membership Drive

by Michael Loebach

 

Spring’s arrival indicates that not only are the robins back, but so is Tri-State Trail Vision and its membership drive. Consider what your membership will do to enhance trail opportunities within the Dubuque area. You have probably already seen our emails and maybe even received a letter in the mail. Maintaining a strong membership is critical to the success of this all-volunteer organization. Benefits include a newsletter that comes out three times per year, advocacy by board members to various governmental agencies, and connections with community leaders who support trails in the Dubuque area.

Please send $15 for a single or $25 for a family membership along with your name, address, phone, and email address to: Tri-State Trail Vision, Treasurer, 790 Valentine, Dubuque, IA 52003.

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Bee Branch Creek Restoration Project and Trail Update

By Kristin Hill

Construction of the Upper Bee Branch Creek Restoration Project started in June 2015. The project required a lot of excavation, relocation of utilities, and construction. The creek channel is now finished and fully functional. This spring, crews will complete the remaining construction and landscaping. The City plans to host a ribbon cutting and community celebration on Wednesday, July 19, 2017. More details will be shared as plans for the event are finalized.

Amenities along the newly restored creek include the E. 24th St. overlook, a play area with slides, an outdoor classroom/amphitheater, the E. 22nd St. spillway, and a multi-use trail system that connects to the Heritage Trail and Mississippi River Trail (MRT). There is a street-level trail and a trail that runs along the edge of the creek, which passes underneath the E. 22nd St. and Rhomberg Ave. bridges. The trail system was designed to loop around the creek, which stretches from E. 24th St. to Garfield Ave. This loop is approximately one mile.

The on-street route from the Upper Bee Branch Creek to the Lower Bee Branch Creek will be Garfield Ave., to Pine St., to E. 19th St., to Washington St. When you turn east off Washington St. onto E. 16th St. and cross the railroad tracks you will find yourself at the Lower Bee Branch Creek.

The Lower Bee Branch trail runs along the creek and detention basin up to Kerper Blvd. (behind Dairy Queen and Fazoli’s). A portion of the trail closed in February 2016 for the construction of a new overlook. It re-opened this spring, while the overlook and adjacent parking lot are expected to open in June 2017. Until then, the City recommends trail users park on E. 15th St. or Sycamore St.

Improvements associated with the Lower Basin Overlook include a plaza, an open-air pavilion, drinking fountain, bike racks, trash receptacles, benches, lighting, and landscaping. Over the next five years, the City is looking to continue the Lower Bee Branch Trail around the detention basin and extend it over 12th St. and 11th St. to the Intermodal Transportation Center.

To sign up for Bee Branch Project-related email and/or text alerts, including information on the ribbon cutting on July 19, visit www.cityofdubuque.org/notifyme.

 

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New Mountain Bike Advocates in Dubuque (TMBR)

By Brett Errthum, TMBR President

There’s a new trail advocacy group working on projects in Dubuque and the surrounding area.  Tri-state Mountain Bike Riders (TMBR) is a non-profit trail advocacy group that incorporated in the fall of 2015.  TMBR’s mission is to enhance the experience of mountain bikers in the tri-state area through improved trails, amenities, and social networking.

The founding members desired to see new local trails that are designed for mountain bike use.  When the group discussed the future they wanted to create, they quickly aligned around a 10-year plan to make the tri-state area a destination for mountain bikers around the Midwest.  TMBR exists as an entity to channel funding, organize volunteers, and work politically toward this outcome.

In its first year of operation, TMBR has focused on creating the foundation for a sustainable organization.  This includes incorporation, writing bylaws, community networking, and developing membership and sponsorship processes.  At this time, the organization is nearing 100 members, has earned a sponsorship agreement with 7G Distributing, and is working to fund its first project to be completed in the fall of 2016.

TMBR is working with the City of Asbury to create the Cloie Creek Park trail system.  This trail will be 2 miles of natural surface trail that weaves and loops through 20 acres of the city park located west of Hales Mills Road.  When completed this fall, the trail system will provide a recreational facility for cyclists, runners, hikers, and walkers.  Located within the City of Asbury, this park is easily accessible to Asbury residents and others on the west side of Dubuque.  Features like berms and banked turns will provide cyclists with a truly unique riding experience.  Cloie Creek trails will be an asset to the community and a showcase for the type of projects TMBR endeavors to complete in the coming years.

TMBR and the City of Asbury are well on their way toward the funding required to install sections of trail this fall.  Additional funding is needed to complete the entire length of trail.  Check out tmbrtrails.org or call the City of Asbury to see how you can help.

By any measure, TMBR has enjoyed success in its first year.  Its members are focused on the sustained strength of the organization and continued growth of trails in the area.  These soft surface trail systems complement paved trails, interconnected neighborhoods, and commuter corridors to create a community that we are all proud of.

 

 

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Trail Improvements for 2015-16

Dienst Outlines Pedestrian and Bicycle Projects for 2015-2016

Jon Dienst, Civil Engineer from the Dubuque City Engineer’s Office, attended the May 28th Tri-State Trail Vision meeting to give an update on upcoming projects.  The very informative meeting highlighted the wide number and variety of trail-related tasks that occupy the Engineering Department. Dienst also works closely with Leisure Services Director Marie Ware and City Planner Laura Carstens to encourage trail usage and provide a higher quality of living for Dubuque area citizens.

During the fiscal 2015-2016 year, the Northwest Arterial Trail will be lengthened and paved from the McDonald’s on Holliday Drive to Chavanelle Drive, where bicyclists will be directed onto sharrows (on-street lanes) and eventually arrive at Bergfeld Pond.  This is funded by Iowa Department of Natural Resources REAP grants.

At the northeast end of the Northwest Arterial Trail, the Highway 52 and John Deere Road intersection will be the site for a small 10-stall parking lot. This will alleviate overflow parking that occurs at the Alliant substation driveway and blocks access for Alliant workers.  This project will be developed this fall.

The Bee Branch project will commence this summer with excavation of the main channel and the building of bridges between the 16th Street detention pond and 24th Street Comiskey Park. Trail construction will take place in 2016.

For those travelling by wheelchair, life just got easier around the city of Dubuque. The Department

of Justice has mandated that new ramps be installed for better wheelchair accessibility. So far, Clarke Crest received new ramps and 37 more will be built in the St. Anne and Clarke Drive areas.

Just west of the E. B. Lyons Center, the newly acquired Mines of Spain property sports a new trail that will open July 2015. The ½-mile long trail, meeting Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements, will lead to a scenic overlook and an outdoor classroom.  An expanded parking lot, drinking fountains, restrooms and an outdoor pavilion will also be available for visitors.  Another unique feature along the trail is the State Tree Walk, which displays the state tree from each state.

Construction will begin soon on these projects and will hopefully enhance our trail availability and accessibility in Dubuque.

Categories: ADVOCACY, Walking/Hiking

Bike To Work Week Is May 12-16

REGISTER NOW!

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ADVOCATE: Pledge your support for Blue Zone Dubuque

Help make Dubuque the Healthiest City in America by pledging support to bring the Blue Zones Project to Dubuque!!!

The Blue Zones project is a community-based approach to transform the environments in which Iowans live, work and play to improve their emotional, physical and social health. If selected, Dubuque would receive direct assistance from national experts to become a healthier and happier community. 

Citizen support is an important selection factor, so citizens are encouraged to help bring Blue Zones principles to our community by registering support at http://www.bluezonesproject.com/users/sign_up/. Scroll to the bottom of the page and, “Take the Pledge” to get started.  Under the “Zip Code” field, please enter your home or work zip code (52001, 52002, or 52003).  Please forward this onto your friends, family, and coworkers who live, play, and work in Dubuque.

You may also pledge by texting bzp to 772937.  You will be asked to enter your email address, then name, and lastly your zip code.

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Smart Plan for Area Bikers and Pedestrians

A “Smart Plan” for transportation sustainability was designed as a result of an Iowa grant by area cities. The purpose is to create pedestrian and bicycle access between and within area communities, thus increasing sustainability efforts.

In November of 2010, the State of Iowa awarded Dubuque County and the Cities of Asbury, Cascade, Dubuque, Dyersville, Epworth, Farley, and Peosta with a grant to create a regional plan for sustainable development. These seven cities and the county established the Dubuque Smart Planning Consortium. The primary goal of the Consortium is to create a “Smart Plan” that will incorporate the principles of sustainability into everyday life. Improving bicycle and pedestrian transportation will be a primary objective of the Smart Plan. The plan will encourage new capital improvement projects that incorporate a “Complete Streets” approach to street design. Using a Complete Streets approach, streets will be designed to accommodate all modes of transportation including transit, pedestrians, and bicyclists. Complete Streets represents a change in transportation priorities, putting safety and cost ahead of traffic speed and volume. The plan will also encourage long-term changes in urban form and land use such as increased density and mixed-use development that will reduce distances between destinations and make non-motorized transportation more viable in Dubuque County communities.

The Dubuque Smart Planning Consortium feels that these changes will improve conditions for pedestrians and bicyclists in the region and will improve the environmental and fiscal sustainability of our region. For more information or to provide input on the Smart Plan, please visit www.dubuquesmartplan.org, or contact Dan Fox at ECIA, 563-556-4166 or  dfox@ecia.org.

(+) Dan

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Sponsor a Mile of the Heritage Trail for the Dubuque Smart Plan Study

This is an opportunity for you to sponsor part of an exciting study that’s about to take place. We’re trying to raise $650 (26 miles X $25 per mile) to assist with travel and accommodations costs for researchers coming to Dubuque County later this summer. Heritage Trail was selected to be the subject of an American Planning Association voluntary planning process. Experts from around the country will visit and interview stakeholders, and study our trail and communities in order to recommend upgrades and funding opportunities that will make Heritage Trail a year-round premier recreational destination, with regional economic development capabilities. It’s all part of the Dubuque County Smart Planning Consortium. Visit www.dubuquesmartplan.org  for more information. (Also see a related article on page 6 of this newsletter about this organization’s work.)
Tri State Trail Vision has contributed $500 toward the amount needed to transport and house the researchers. Your contribution of $25 will cover a “mile’s worth” of the additional $650 that we’re hoping to raise. Make your check payable to “Tri State Trail Vision” and mail to TSTV Treasurer Michael Loebach, 1155 Rosedale, Dubuque, IA 52001. Contributions are needed by July 7th.

(+) Tony

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ADVOCATE: The Heritage Trail Bridge

Tri-State Trail Vision supports the Heritage Trail Bridge Project.   With the understanding that the county has to work within certain budgetary constraints and that not all projects are appropriate for the county to take on, we stand firm that the Heritage Trail Bridge should be a priority.  The Heritage Trail Bridge Project should be viewed in terms of:

1)      Economic development. Increasingly, individuals are choosing where to live based on recreational opportunities.  It is vital that Dubuque County develop such opportunities in order to attract a talented and entrepreneurial 21st century workforce.

In “The Rise of the Creative Class,” Richard Florida noted “Creative class people value active outdoor recreation very highly. They are drawn to places and communities where many outdoor activities are prevalent—both because they enjoy these activities and because their presence is seen as a signal that the place is amenable to the broader creative lifestyle. The creative-class people in my studies are into a variety of active sports, from traditional ones like bicycling, jogging, and kayaking to newer, more extreme ones, like trail running and snowboarding”.

2)      The health and wellbeing of Dubuque County citizens.  Providing opportunities for individuals to be active is the first step in fighting back the trend of increasing obesity and health care costs. A connected, accessible trail system that allows residents to travel from their homes to long distance trails (like the Heritage Trail) sends a message that access to recreational activities is important for residents of all ages.

3)      Safety.  While it may be possible to put in a cross walk for pedestrians instead of a bridge to save money, forcing individuals to cross 4 lanes of highway creates very unsafe situations.  Highways are designed to move cars from point A to point B very quickly with very few obstructions.  Putting in a heavily used cross walk slows and frustrates that traffic, significantly increasing the likelihood of unfortunate accidents.

In conclusion, the Heritage Trail Bridge is an investment in the future of Dubuque County, and should be viewed as such; an investment in the future health and safety of our community.

Please support the Heritage Trail Bridge Project.

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