SIOUX CITY -- Metro cyclists gave a thumbs-up to Sioux City's first bicycle lane, which opened up between Fairmount and Rustin Streets in September 2020.
"Hopefully, this will encourage people to bike instead instead of driving a car," Siouxland Cyclists member Ron Begnoche before going for a ride.
However, longtime cyclist Bob DeSmidt noted that Sioux City was by far the largest community in Iowa that didn't have bicycle lanes.
"We've definitely needed one for a very long time," he said.
Mayor Pro-Tem Dan Moore was in complete agreement.
"Increasingly bike trails and bike lanes are quality of life considerations," Moore said. "When people consider moving, they often ask how bike-friendly a city is."
This is why the council decided to add bike lanes as part of the city's Leech Avenue Reconstruction Project. In addition to boke lanes, the first phase of the $1.3 million project included replacing all street pavings, sidewalks, driveway entrances, water mains, sanitary sewers and storm sewers from South Fairmount Street to South Rustin Street.
The next phase of this project will continue these reconstructions along South Rustin to Leech Avenue to Dodge Avenue in 2023, followed by Dodge from South Rustin to South Cecelia Street in 2024 and, finally, South Cecilia to Dodge to Morningside Ave., slated for 2025.
Each of these projects are expected to include bike lanes as well as other reconstruction improvements, Moore said.
Begnoche was simply happy that the new bike trails -- including the Riverfront Trail between Hamilton Blvd. and Riverside Park, which opened in the fall of 2020 --represents progress for cyclists like himself.
"Cycling is such a family-friendly activity that we should make it as accessible for as many people as possible," he said.