‘Concerns and hopes and opportunities’

More than 500 participated in Highway 14 study survey; more meetings set for March

Spohnheimer

Hundreds of Marshalltown residents took part in a the Iowa Highway 14 Corridor Study survey from late January to mid-February, and many comments focused on traffic and way-finding.

“I think we had a lot of good feedback, definitely, and comments about concerns and hopes and opportunities and areas to think about,” said Marshalltown Director of Housing and Community Development Michelle Spohnheimer, adding that more than 500 people took the survey. “We’re excited that so many people were participating, that’s really good turnout; you never know with a survey like that.”

The survey is part of the ongoing Highway 14 Corridor Study being performed firm Bolton and Menk Inc. of Ames. The Marshalltown City Council approved the study at an estimated cost of $75,730 in December of 2017.

For the study, the firm divided the North 3rd Avenue/Highway 14 corridor in the north part of Marshalltown into four zones. The total area being studied is between Anson Street in the south to the city limits at the Iowa River bridge in the north.

“We’re definitely hearing a lot from people about concerns at this stage … and truck traffic specifically,” Spohnheimer said, adding the survey and direct public input have yielded complaints about truck traffic en route to city industry areas. “It’s a big part of the industry that’s in our community; but how can we best get it safely through the community, to where it needs to go?”

She added that the downtown area was another area survey-takers focused on.

“We’ve had talk about downtown, relating to pedestrians and access between the medical complex and downtown and having people travel safely in pedestrian ways,” Spohnheimer said, adding way-finding is another area of focus. “Sometimes you can kind of come through [downtown] and not necessarily even recognize that you’re there if you’re just traveling past; so, how do you make it known that you’ve arrived at the downtown, for visitors?”

These questions and more will be fleshed out in meetings set for mid-March, she said, adding more scheduling details are set for release soon.

Spohnheimer said meetings with residents and business owners in each of the four study zones are to be held, as well as a meeting for the general public in the March 12-13 timeframe.

“At those meetings, hopefully we’ll start to see some conceptual kind of thoughts coming from the team, and try to put that out there and get some feedback on those,” she said.

The city council is set to take action at the upcoming Feb. 26 meeting on an amendment to the study contract with Bolton and Menk. The firm is offering to create a way-finding master plan for the city at an estimated cost of $37,460.

In a memo sent Friday, Marshalltown City Administrator Jessica Kinser recommended approving the the amendment, writing that hiring Bolton and Menk to do the work would be better than bidding for a separate company to do the work.

“They are uniquely qualified to do the work due to these other projects,” Kinser wrote, referencing the firm’s familiarity with the city from the Highway 14 study. She added the extra cost, which added to the estimated cost of the study comes to $113,190, is “under budget.”

Spohnheimer said the survey is one tool being used to gather public input during the study.

“It’s one of those things that helps guide you as you’re making decisions, as we’re talking about re-development opportunities, or street improvement, or way-finding, or lighting or things like that,” she said.

The next Marshalltown City Council meeting is set for 5:30 p.m. Monday in the Council Chambers in the Carnegie building, 10 W. State St.

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Contact Adam Sodders at (641) 753-6611 or asodders@timesrepublican.com