Phase One of the University Avenue Streetscape project represents the beginning of a multiyear, multicity effort to transform an important regional thoroughfare into a complete street. Current planning efforts could eventually extend the complete street from 73rd Street in Windsor Heights to East 14th Street in Des Moines. Complete streets benefit a neighborhood because they improve walkability, enhance pedestrian and bike safety, and encourage the use of public transportation. They also confer a number of economic benefits, bolstering local businesses and significantly revitalizing areas.
With an estimated completion date of spring 2020, phase one of this initiative will transform the stretch of University Avenue between 25th and 31st Streets in the Drake neighborhood. From five lanes of travel to three, with dedicated parking on the south curb, east and west bound bike lanes, and new, art enhanced DART bus stops, University Avenue will transform into an urban transit corridor serving neighbors, commuters, and students alike.
At its core, the University Avenue Streetscape project is about placemaking. It will strengthen the identity of the Drake neighborhood and help build community among its residents and the Drake campus. To this end, Drake University has encouraged new development along University Avenue and made a commitment to lead efforts to beautify the street to promote walkability, public tranist, and greater engagement with local businesses.