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Community Team

Interns

Erika Birnbaum, Flenker Land Architecture Consultants

Amanda Holtman, Flenker Land Architecture Consultants

Landscape Architect

Meg Flenker, Flenker Land Architecture Consultants

Steering Committee

Nancy Barth

Janis Deyak

Karen Drake

Michael Gay

Michael Haverkamp

Wally Heitman

Dorothy Maher

Virginia Miller

Sara O’Sullivan

Silvia Quezada

Martha Terry

Thad Wunder

Trees Forever Facilitator

Hannah Howard

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Project Reports

10•17•16

Community Report

University Heights (population 1,120) is situated inside Iowa City just west of the University of Iowa. Because of its proximity to Kinnick Stadium and the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, an inordinate amount of traffic passes through the community daily. Its location also gives residents access to many amenities such as parks and trails. A point of pride among residents is the fact that approximately 40% of the population either walks or bikes to work. However, many streets lack sidewalks and there are no bike lanes.

Planning and Design Summary

The community assessment process in University Heights included focus-group workshops and a mailed transportation survey. The results of both of these assessments indicate that pedestrian and cyclist accessibility and safety are major concerns among residents, and that recreational opportunities are highly valued. This information is reflected in the concept plan, which consists of the following proposals:

  • Melrose Avenue Streetscape – Install decorative pavement for crosswalks and seating areas, widen sidewalks, create bike lanes, install way-finding signs, and add decorative vehicular and pedestrian lighting.
  • Signage and Community Entryways Enhancements – Install large entrance signs, native vegetation, and lighting on Melrose Avenue at the east and west ends of town and the south end of town on Sunset Street.
  • Triangle Park – Screen the park from the road with native vegetation and add a bike rack, a water station, a shelter, and a bench planter.
  • Sidewalks – Install sidewalks in phases, starting with connections to priority areas such as Ernest Horn Elementary School.
  • Site Lighting – Add both vehicular and pedestrian lighting to Melrose Avenue, Sunset Street, and Benton Street and add vehicular lighting to residential streets.
  • Stormwater Management – Install bump-outs that integrate bioswales along Koser Avenue to both slow traffic and manage stormwater, install bioswales in the area between the street and the sidewalk.

Assessment Highlights

Transportation Barriers

Focus-group participants identified the lack of connections in town, especially to recreational facilities, as a major barrier. Poor lighting, drainage issues, and visibility issues were also mentioned as problems in town. Some participants expressed the need for entrance signage so people know when they are entering University Heights.

Transportation Assets

Melrose Avenue and Sunset Street are the two main streets in town. Residents noted the wide sidewalks as an asset to University Heights. The large shade trees on these streets and the park and recreation facilities in town were also assets identified by participants.