Partnerships

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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New Wheelchair Accessible Prairie Trail Proposed for E.B. Lyons Nature Center

mines of spain logo

The Mines of Spain recently acquired 52 acres immediately west of the E. B. Lyons Nature Center. Plans for a paved Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) approved trail are in the works.

The partial map below shows some of the amenities of the trail. Off the map, the trail leads further north through a prairie to an overlook with Dubuque city vistas to the west, north, and east. An outdoor classroom will also be at the overlook site. Mown trails will spur off the paved trail. An information kiosk, expanded parking spaces, and an entrance with improved visibility are in the works as well.

Donations are currently being accepted by the Friends of Mines of Spain organization. Contact Wayne Buchholtz at 563-556-0620 for more information.

mines of spain map

Categories: Partnerships, Uncategorized, Walking/Hiking | Leave a comment

Heritage Trail Planning

Dubuque County hosted a team of national experts who collected information and input on the Heritage Trail from Wednesday October 17th to Saturday October 20th. The visit is part of the American Planning Association’s (APA) Community Planning Assistance Team (CPAT) program. CPAT is a national program that seeks to foster community education and engagement. The APA selected Heritage Trail from a national pool of applications to be the subject of the voluntary CPAT process. The CPAT team will offer the community recommendations on how to make the trail more accessible and user friendly, how to promote the sustainability of the trail, and how to expand the recreational and economic development opportunities of the entire region.

This pro bono consulting team shared their expertise in trail building, landscaping, legal issues, environmental issues and trail funding. Representatives from Tri-State Trail Vision attended meetings at Dyersville and Dubuque on October 17th and 18th, respectively.

The team of 5 experts from across the nation highly praised the repair work done by Dubuque Conservation Director Brian Preston and his staff, considering the tremendous devastation of the 2008 and 2011 floods. Through the public comments, the team found that trail users shared a sense of unity and willingness to work together despite the variety of trail uses and interests. The team was impressed with this sense of unity.

Some of the ideas expressed at the October 18th meeting included better parking and bathroom amenities; signage along the trail; the effect of tourism on the local economy; the needs of hikers, road bikers, mountain bikers, runners, and snowmobilers; crushed gravel versus asphalt surfaces; special events and their needs; and more access points for fishing.

The team’s recommendations for improving the trail were presented on Saturday, October 20th at the Grand River Center. A formal recommendation will be forthcoming soon. Check the Heritage Trail project website for additional project background, team member profiles, and project updates online.

(+) Dan
(+) Dianne

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Dubuque Bike COOP

While the start of autumn has the harvest in full swing, a new non-profit community bike project is taking root in the Dubuque area. The Dubuque Bike Coop is getting ready to make its official debut in the coming month or so. Modeled on other community bike projects such as the Iowa City Bike Library, Cedar Valley Bicycle Collective, Fort Collins Bicycle Co-op and the Bike Kitchen in Los Angeles, the Dubuque Bike Coop has as its mission the building of community through bicycling. With an emphasis on “community,” it has as its core vision people of all backgrounds and abilities coming together to ride, repair, recycle, educate, and promote bicycling as a viable means of transportation, fitness and recreation.

The Dubuque Bike Coop hopes to fill the following gaps in the community, in partnership with other individuals, businesses and organizations by providing:

  • An affordable means for people to get into bicycling via a bike-lending program.
  • An educational resource for bicycle safety and fundamental bicycle repair.
  • A sustainable asset where any and all bicycle related donations are accepted and either reused, repurposed, or recycled; thereby keeping these “tools” in use rather than being wasted.
  • An opportunity to volunteer, be engaged in, and take ownership of the community.

Volunteers are always welcome and no prior bike experience is necessary. Since it is a community project, everyone brings a unique experience and set of skills. Currently, the Dubuque Bike Coop is operating out of the Dubuque Rescue Mission and regular volunteer events are being scheduled, as is a winter bicycle repair clinic. For more information, email or see their Facebook page.

(+) Rob

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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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Your Friends in Spandex

A Shout Out from the Telegraph Herald Editorial Board:

Bike to Work Week – May 14-18 (TH Editorial)

Maybe your bike has been sitting in the garage collecting dust since September — or longer. Or maybe you took advantage of the summer-like March weather and got out on two wheels.

Either way, you have a chance to get it in gear with Dubuque’s Bike to Work Week. May 14-18 has been designated Bike to Work Week, with advantages for those who are ready to toss the car keys aside and give pedal power a try for a week.

If you haven’t explored the city’s trails in awhile, you might find you’re able to hop on a path for part of your commute. You can get from the West Side (Asbury and the Northwest Arterial) to downtown (22nd Street) via trail these days, and more paths connect other areas.

Lots of businesses in town support having employees bike to work — as well they should. Workplace wellness efforts lead to less sick time and employees being less stressed. And the ride probably won’t take as long as you think. You don’t have to do it every day. Take a look at your schedule and figure out what days will work best. Then go to THonline.com and sign up.

Even if you don’t plan to ride, Bike to Work Week should be on your radar. There’s no better time for drivers to be more aware of bicycles and the need to share the road. Failure to do so is a mistake of potentially fatal proportions.

Bicyclists have to follow the same rules as drivers of motor vehicles, and they are afforded the same rights to the roadway as motorists. There are far too many drivers in and around Dubuque who see the cyclist as a nuisance who deserves to be honked at, cut off and cursed.

Bike to Work Week is a great time to start making more effort to share the road. Your friends in spandex will thank you.

Editorials reflect the consensus of the Telegraph Herald Editorial Board.  (TH 5-7-12)

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All City Buses Now Equipped with Bike Racks

Parrish Marugg, owner of Bicycle World in Dubuque, spearheaded a campaign in 2010 to raise funds to purchase bike racks for all city buses. Corporate sponsors, such as Bicycle World, American Trust Bank, Tri-Cor Insurance, Dubuque Bank and Trust, Dubuque Bicycle Club, Chain Reaction, joined a number of individual donors. All contributed to match grant funds from the former Keyline Bus system. When the bus system, now called The Jule Transit, switched to newer buses, the bike racks were installed onto the new buses.

Marugg explains that the racks sit in front of the bus engine. Furthermore, he encourages bike riders to watch a short video link illustrating the easy three-step process to secure a bike to the rack. The video also reviews rider etiquette towards the bus driver and other bike patrons, and a link is provided on the TSTV website under the “Rack & Ride” heading.

Thanks goes out to Parrish Marugg for making Dubuque a more bike-friendly place for all of its riders. When the weather or Dubuque’s hilly conditions wear you out, let The Jule whisk you and your bike away.

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