Trail crossing ordinance to protect pedestrians
A recent request from Maharishi University of Management to extend a campus road across the Fairfield Loop Trail has prompted city administrator Kevin Flanagan to consider an ordinance governing all future trail crossings.
The ordinance would create a uniform procedure for residents who wish to extend a private road or driveway across the trail, said Flanagan at a Public Safety & Transportation Committee meeting Thursday. The committee approved a motion to take the ordinance to the full council for adoption at its next meeting Monday.
Safety for trail users, who have the right-of-way at all crossings, is the main objective of the ordinance, said Flanagan.
Flanagan called upon Melanie Carlson of French-Reneker-Associates Inc. to help create specific requirements. Carlson said she pulled 90 percent of the ordinance directly from the Iowa Department of Transportation’s “Design manual for sidewalks and bicycle facilities.”
Carlson tailored a few items, such as requirements for street aprons, right-of-way details and spacing between crossings.
According to the drafted ordinance, property owners must apply for a permit at city hall to undertake a trail or path-crossing project. The applicant must have an illustration of the plan, including heights of objects within the designated area that could obstruct the view of cars, bikers and walkers. It also must include estimated roadway usage, required signage and other traffic control devices and all public and private improvements related to the proposed improvement.
The city engineer, the city administrator and the public works director would need to sign off before construction could begin.
Public works director Darrel Bisgard raised a question at the meeting of crossing maintenance, such as snow removal. The committee determined the city would most likely be responsible, as it would be a public right-of-way.