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Community Team

Intern

Sara Davids, RDG Planning & Design

Landscape Architect

Bruce Niedermyer, RDG Planning & Design

Steering Committee

Travis Cook

Linda Darrock

Don Edwards

Doug Garrett

Connor Jones

Brad Magg

Dave Mast

Pete Parvi

Kim Seebeck

Trees Forever Facilitator

Leslie Berckes

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Project Reports

11•6•16

Community Report

Colfax (population 2,093) is located in Jasper County just south of Interstate 80, approximately 24 miles east of Des Moines. Highway 117 runs north-south through town, connecting it to Interstate 80. Because of its proximity to Des Moines, Colfax positions itself as “residential enclave” for those who work in Des Moines but prefer small-town living. Colfax participated in the Community Visioning program in 1999 and has implemented many of these projects. The recently opened 500-acre Quarry Springs Park on the north side of Colfax has generated a lot of excitement in the community.

Planning and Design Summary

As the gateway into Colfax and the primary connection to Interstate 80 and Quarry Springs Park, Highway 117 is heavily used by drivers, pedestrians and cyclists. At the same time, this corridor has a number of issues identified by survey respondents and the focus-group participants, including lack of lighting and sidewalks. Residents also indicated through the assessments their concern regarding the poor condition of streets and sidewalks in town.  The steering committee sought to address these and other issues in the four top priorities it identified:

  • Highway 117 Corridor Improvements
  • Downtown Enhancements
  • Safe Routes to School and Recreational Trail
  • County Road F48 Pedestrian and Vehicular Safety Improvements

The proposed Highway 117 improvements consist of 1) connecting the trail in Quarry Springs Park to Colfax, 2) expanding the native prairie at the entrance to Quarry Springs Park to the entire corridor, and 3) adding trees and lighting with banners along the corridor to enhance aesthetics and help with traffic calming. The concept for downtown also includes planting additional trees, as well as reducing the number of driveways along Highway 117 and adding curb ramps and crosswalks at intersections. Safe Routes to School is addressed in the concept plan with sidewalks connections to the schools.

Assessment Highlights

Transportation Barriers

With Highway 117 bringing heavy traffic through town, the conditions of many roads are less than satisfactory. All user groups listed both roads and sidewalks as barriers in town. The intersection of State and Walnut Streets emerged as serious issue during the focus groups because it is a three-way stop on a hill.

Desired Improvements

The majority of the desired enhancements are along Highway 117 and includes road repair, better lighting, and street plantings. People would also like better pedestrian access to places such as Quarry Springs Park.