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A new look

Proposal for downtown includes bike lanes

-Submitted graphic
This view looking east down Central Avenue from Sixth Street shows how the downtown Fort Dodge streetscape would look under a plan introduced to the City Council Monday.

Central Avenue in downtown Fort Dodge may have designated bike lanes and less on-street parking in the future.

Also, a deadend section of 11th Street south of Central Avenue could be closed to traffic to create a plaza, and more landscaping could be added to public right-of-ways.

Those are all possibilities under a downtown streetscape plan introduced to the City Council Monday evening.

Implementing all elements of the plan drafted by Snyder & Associates, of Ankeny, would cost an estimated $14 million. However, any work to implement the plan’s recommendations will not happen anytime soon. The council took no action on the plan Monday.

Although listed on the council’s agenda as the Central Avenue draft concept plan, the proposal covers more than Central Avenue. The section of Central Avenue between Third and 12th streets is covered, along with all the streets that run north and south in that area.

-Submitted graphic
This scene shows how 11th Street south of Central Avenue could look if a proposal to close the street and turn it into a plaza is adopted. A plan from Snyder & Associates calls for closing that section of road and the piece of Central Avenue north of Veterans Park.

Staffers from Snyder & Associates, participating in the meeting via internet, explained the elements of the plan.

Generally, the driving lanes on Central Avenue would be narrower to accommodate the bike lanes. The driving lanes around the City Square would also be narrower.

The bike lanes could be at the same height as the street or they could be at the height of the sidewalks, according to Tim West, a landscape architect with Snyder & Associates.

The plan envisions what West called “parklets” at different spots along Central Avenue. Each parklet, he said, would have some benches or other seating.

Under the proposal, parking lots would be surrounded by fences of brick and metal.

-Submitted graphic
-Submitted graphic A walkway in the 700 block of Central Avenue could look like this someday if a downtown streetscape plan unveiled to the City Council on Monday is implemented.

The plan also includes upgrades to a north-south walkway in the 700 block of Central Avenue.

In two locations, the plan calls for closing part of what is now a street. South 11th Street between Central Avenue and the deadend is one such spot. The other is the piece of Central Avenue that is north of the triangle of land near Central Avenue and 12th Street called Veterans Park.

Images of the proposed new streetscape show lots of greenery. Councilman Kim Alstott, who is a member of Pride In Community Appearance, questioned how all those plants could be properly cared for. He said PICA is so busy taking care of plants and trees elsewhere in the community that it can’t possibly take on the responsibility for all the proposed new plants.

“PICA is not in favor of all those plants, by the way,” Alstott said.

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