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Public Works

Cottage Grove Avenue and Forest Drive SE

The 2021 Cottage Grove Avenue project stretches from 1st Avenue to Forest Drive SE and includes new pavement and utilities (curb, gutter, storm sewer to improve drainage), and a multi-use path on the north side. A roundabout at Cottage Grove and Forest Drive is proposed for 2022, to resolve back-ups during morning and afternoon peak times.  Design has not yet been finalized. A second neighborhood meeting will be held this fall or early winter with additional information. Cottage Grove Avenue between Forest Drive – 34th Street will be repaired in 2022. .  

Roundabout Details

  • Would decrease delays and wait time during peak morning and afternoon commutes
  • Single-lane roundabout
  • Includes painted crosswalks
  • Raised pedestrian splitter islands
  • Pedestrian beacons that flash when activated by a push-button
  • VIDEO: Would be similar to already existing roundabout at Johnson Avenue and WIley Blvd NW
  • Learn more about roundabouts
Project Timeline (*updated May 2020):

  • Project area: 1st Avenue - 34th Street SE
  • 2021: 1st Avenue - Forest Drive
  • 2022: Forest Drive - 34th Street (including the intersection of Forest Drive and Cottage Grove)
  • Current status: concept & public outreach phase; design plans have not yet been completed.
2021 Improvements (1st Avenue - Forest Drive): 

  • Replace pavement
  • Multi-use path on the north side (split into two parallel sidewalks to physically separate those walking from those riding a bike)
  • Improve signals at 1st Avenue and Cottage Grove
  • Utility improvements (water and storm sewer) which will improve drainage 
Neighborhood Meeting | January 30, 2020

Video of Similar Roundabout 
Short video snippet of a similar roundabout located at Johnson Avenue and Wiley Blvd NW. Video captured January 23, 2020 during the afternoon. The installation of the Johnson Avenue roundabout has reduced speeds and reduced the number of accidents at this intersection. 




FAQs - Trees & Greenspace

Q: How does the project impact trees / greenspace?
A: Project engineers anticipate minimal tree impacts. While we are still refining the concept, we estimate at this point only approximately 7-10 trees will need to be removed, which includes some trees already in a state of decline. Currently we do not anticipate removing any trees behind the sidewalk during the project. We also do not plan to remove the large white pine tree on the NW corner of the intersection. We have also removed plans to replace the sidewalk on the south side of the street to ensure tree roots are not impacted. We recognize that trees play a large role in shaping the aesthetics of a neighborhood, and never remove trees unless absolutely necessary. Additionally, the road width will narrow slightly, so we do not anticipate losing any greenspace along Cottage Grove Avenue.

Q: Why are some trees along Cottage Grove Avenue marked with orange dots?
A: The City’s Forestry Division is taking inventory of all ash trees throughout the community that will need to eventually be removed to help decrease the spread of the Emerald Ash Borer. Orange dots are used to identify ash trees that are slated for removal in the years ahead.

FAQs - Sidewalk (Multi-use Path)

Q: Why is a multi-use path being considered on the north side of Cottage Grove?
A: Multi-use paths are safer for families and can accommodate a wide variety of users, including joggers, walkers, families with strollers, and people with disabilities. With a nearby high school cross-country team as well as a retirement community, a path provides a safe option for cyclists and pedestrians.

Q: How are we responding to concerns about bikes and pedestrians sharing a sidewalk?
A: We are currently reviewing the size, width, and layout of the sidewalk in order to respond to concerns about cyclists and walkers sharing a path, and we are proposing changes based on this feedback. The revised plan will include a multi-use path split into two parallel sidewalks to physically separate those walking from those riding a bike. Since we are narrowing the road slightly, this sidewalk layout will not result in any tree loss. We will be able to share an updated rendering at our next public meeting.

Q: What does the Trails Master Plan outline for this area?
A: The Comprehensive Trails Master Plan outlines an off-street, multi-use path as the suggested trail/bike facility for this location. View the Trails Master Plan here

FAQs - Roundabout 


Q: Why is a roundabout being considered?
A: A roundabout is the best solution to solve the congestion and back-ups that happen during peak morning and afternoon times. The intersection is near a school, which routinely sees high traffic volumes for short periods of time. During the rest of the day, the roundabout would enable cars to flow smoothly through the intersection without making it necessary to stop and idle. A roundabout would also be more pedestrian friendly than the current four-way stop.

Q: What is a mini roundabout?
A: A mini roundabout functions the same way as a traditional roundabout, but with a smaller footprint. School buses will still be able to drive through the roundabout; the slightly raised dome will provide an apron for other larger vehicles to drive over when making the turn. Mini roundabouts also take up a smaller footprint, resulting in less impact to the surrounding neighborhood. The mini roundabout currently proposed on Cottage Grove would be a single-lane roundabout.

Q: Does a similar roundabout already exist in Cedar Rapids?
A: Yes, a mini roundabout was installed at the intersection of Johnson Avenue and Wiley Blvd NW in 2018, and has since operated smoothly. This location is also next to a school where children frequently cross. Instead of vehicles making multiple turning movements and traveling at high speeds through the intersection, vehicles now slow down and follow a circular pattern around the intersection. Children cross the intersection using flashing pedestrian signals and marked crosswalks, which is also proposed at Cottage Grove. Residents can view of video of traffic using this roundabout on our website

Q: What are the safety considerations with using a roundabout near younger and older drivers?
A: Roundabouts are safe for all users. Their design means vehicles slow down while approaching the intersection. Slower speeds provide drivers with more reaction time (which is a benefit to both new drivers and older drivers). Slower speeds also mean that accidents are low-impact and less severe (instead of head-on or right-angle crashes, they are side-swipes).

Q: How will the roundabout improve safety for pedestrians and students?
A: Roundabouts, because of their circular design, decreases the number of conflict points. Pedestrians no longer have to watch for cars coming from multiple directions or making turns. The roundabout will include painted pedestrian crosswalks, flashing pedestrian beacons, and raised splitter islands: pedestrians simply walk across one lane of traffic at a time, stopping safely at the raised island before walking across the last lane of traffic. They will only need to look in one direction at a time (illustration below).  
Roundabout and Pedestrian

Q: What is the cost of the roundabout vs. a four-way stop?

A: The intersection pavement needs to be completely removed and replaced regardless of whether it’s a four-way stop or a roundabout. The cost difference is negligible. 

Q: Would we consider installing a traffic signal at the intersection of Cottage Grove and Forest Drive?
A: Based on traffic volumes, a traffic signal is not warranted at this location, and there are no plans to install a signal. 

Q: What are the roundabout aesthetics? 
A: A mini roundabout includes a small raised inside dome, similar in size to the middle of the already existing intersection. Brick pavers, raised splitter islands, and new street lights will also be included.  We are working with private utility companies to relocate their lines underground, which would eliminate the large utility poles currently at each corner of the intersection. We are also exploring options on colored concrete for the inside raised dome, as well as other aesthetic changes to respond to neighborhood interest. 

Misc. Questions 

Q: Will the width of the street change?
A: The road will narrow slightly, preserving greenspace and reducing construction impacts to adjacent property owners. 

Q: Will the on-street parking change?
A: On-street parking will be eliminated on the south side, with reduced on-street parking on the north side. We will be reducing spaces near driveways to improve sight-distance for drivers. 

Communication 

Q: How can residents continue to give input?
A: Residents are encouraged to share comments and feedback by emailing us at PavingforProgress@cedar-rapids.org
 
Q: When will residents receive an update on the project?
A: We are currently in the evaluation stage and continue to conduct traffic studies, engineering analyses, and stakeholder outreach. We anticipate having more information available sometime this fall or early winter, and will hold a follow-up meeting with residents to share an update. 
 

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