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Jeff has been quick to return emails, but when I asked him how the board determines which variances to approve or not, he did not (yet) reply.
"Walmart is requesting a variance in the size of their individual parking spaces. There proposal is slightly smaller than the city code.
They are also requesting a variance in the size of the sign(s). The signs they typically install are larger than what our existing code allows."
Technically they aren't bike lanes according to the City Council and Mayor. I supported "bike lanes", and one of things I find frustrating is that since they aren't officially bikes lanes, they're aren't clear rules and signage to inform the public on how they are to be used.
I use them to bike and I find them much safer than the side roads. On the side streets there are potholes, driveways, lots of yields and more erratic driving - all of which are tense for a cyclist.
The "bike lanes" on 34 could be made safer by implementing proper rules and signage, but as they exist now I would say they are safer than alternate routes.
I guess it's all relative. I drive 34 in both the 9am, noon and 5pm "rush hours". The light at Burlington and Main backs up both East and West about a block, but I'm guessing it's adding maybe 15 seconds to the commute, if that. Compared to Des Moines, Iowa City, even Burlington or Ottumwa, the traffic on Burlington runs quick.
That's like me saying "hey you have Cats, so I should be allowed to have Alligators."
Stayed tuned for our next lighting rod topic . . .