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Riverdale Mississippi River Trail fence sparks disagreement with Bettendorf, lawsuit with QC bicycle club

Published: Oct. 22, 2020 at 8:26 PM CDT
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RIVERDALE, Iowa (KWQC) - The Bettendorf City Council unanimously voted in favor of not renewing an agreement to provide snow removal services and some engineering services for the City of Riverdale in response to a disagreement over a fence along the Mississippi River Trail.

The Duck Creek Trail and Mississippi River Trail approach each other in Riverdale, but don’t actually connect, except for an unofficial connection on South Kensington St.

Over the summer, the City of Riverdale placed a fence at the end of the street to stop bicycle and foot traffic from accessing South Kensington after resident in the neighborhood raised concerns over the amount of traffic on the narrow street.

With the fence in place, trail users must continue down the trail towards Arconic.

Although the route is approved by the Dept. of Transportation, path users have argued this route is dangerous because of the highway 67 traffic, but Riverdale Mayor says the South Kensington route was never intended to be a path.

“We don’t want hundreds of people riding across city land and to get onto Kensington Street to make that connection. You can follow the bike path around and get the crossing where it is or you can take the sidewalks on either side of the street to get down to the Duck Creek Bike Trail,” Mayor Mike Bawden of Riverdale said.

The City of Bettendorf taking a side by ending some city services for Riverdale.

“We asked that they consider holding off on that action until we can find a mutually agreeable solution and that didn’t happen,” Decker Ploehn, City Administrator for the City of Bettendorf said, “Having people go under the highway and onto a residential street where traffic is minimal and 25mph maximum speed, is definitely safer than having people cross above ground at a highway intersection where people are traveling 45 MPH. I think anyone recognizes that there is an obvious safety flaw in that argument.”

Both city leaders said they are interested in working towards a resolution and believe partnerships between the cities are important.

Meanwhile, a lawsuit was filed on Friday in Scott Co. against the City of Riverdale by the Quad Cities Bike Club and the Cornbelt Running Club. They are trying to force Riverdale to take down the gate.

“I have close friends that have been in the middle of the road and almost hit. So just through their agility to miss a car, they have survived. I don’t think we should depend on people’s ability to react to cars about to hit them to have a safe route. If Kensington is open, we can go under 67, no one gets hit,” John Harrington of the Quad Cities Bicycle Club said.

The clubs have raised about $11,000 towards their lawsuit.

The City of Bettendorf will continue to provide mutual aid emergency services for the City of Riverdale.

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