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CR Talks Street Plans

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28) -- If all goes according to plan, 3rd street in SE in Newbo could soon be one of the new standards.

It gives you an idea of what a complete street is, it accommodates everybody, said city council member Monica Vernon.

Transforming the streets in Cedar Rapids is the goal and Jeff Speck, a city planner based out of Washington D.C., has the vision.

Its a vision that he's continuing to refine with city leaders and engineers.

It's important that we hear feedback before were done, or we won't be done, Speck told the crowd gathered at the Police Department Tuesday.

Part of that vision is narrowing streets.

When you're on a ten foot lane in a city, you have the tendency to drive highway speed.

The solution is to remove some of the extra pavement on streets like 1st and 2nd avenue, and incorporate more sidewalks, parking lanes, and trees.

They absorb sunlight, they absorb CO 2, they also make drivers drive more safely, Speck said. When there's trees and other vertical objects up against the roadway, drivers drive slower.

More bike lanes are also part of the plan, as the push to make the city more bicycle friendly continues.

We have a growing number of people that want to get to work or play on their bike, Vernon said

Area bikers hope it will lead to more harmony on the streets.

The cars...they're intimidating, biker Linda Olney said. Even though bikers have the same rights as cars do.

Overall, the bikers we spoke with say if more streets get the makeover 3rd street SE did, it would be a win for both bikers and motorists.

A vote to extend the local option sales tax vote is in November. The money would go towards street repairs. City officials say if passed, the plans they are discussing now would set the standard for construction and reconstruction on roads in the city.
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