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East Grand Avenue must be safe for residents

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Letter to the Editor, by Don Corrigan, AARP Iowa Executive Council Member

As a volunteer in July on the Better Block project along East Grand, between East 5th and East 6th streets, I heard mixed comments from passersby [ East Village block temporarily transformed for Build a Better Block ]. There of course were concerns about where the parking was located, but mostly the questions were about “those silly white posts'” and what their purpose was.

However, when the project was finished, the chatter was positive and people could see first-hand what was being created — a complete street.

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Complete streets are easily defined: They are easy to use and accessible for all users and modes of transportation. Equity for all users and safety are the key elements.

The biggest thing I noticed while working on Better Block was the traffic flow and how it had slowed significantly. I worked in three different buildings in the East Village area over 25 years and it was always a challenge to cross East Grand. You wouldn’t dare try to park on the street because of the speed of traffic.

During my lunch hour and after work, I saw few people walking in the area. Now, people are out throughout the day and evening.

For the safety of our citizens, East Grand can no longer be a four-lane racetrack to western downtown. With even more housing being built in the area, the safety issue may still be a challenge, but traffic has been calmed and needs to stay that way. The Des Moines City Council is debating whether to adopt the City’s Complete Streets plan on Sept. 24, and I urge them to pass this policy.

— The letter to the editor appeared online in the Des Moines Register on Sept. 18, 2018  

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