The Transportation/Complete Streets category seeks to recognize efforts to improve transportation accessibility for bicycles, public transit, and pedestrians, decrease personal car dependency contributing to urban sprawl, and reduce carbon emissions. Additional qualities include the improved safety for all ages and abilities, including people with disabilities and senior citizens, and the integration of planning and design into larger development or revitalization projects that benefit placemaking, walkability, and alternative transportation, such as innovative public transit stops.
Muscatine’s Kent Stein Park to Deep Lakes Park Trail won the Transportation category. In addition to 8.25 miles of road-sharing, this new 4.55-mile segment of 10-foot wide handicap accessible trail that connects key recreational amenities within the community while building pedestrian-friendly connectivity, creating safer bike-to-work routes, reducing motor vehicle traffic, proving outstanding recreational opportunities, promoting healthy living, and paving the way for even greater developments that are now planned for Deep Lakes Park.
This project skirted farmland as opposed to dissecting or consuming it and opened natural areas to the public. The trail connects Deep Lakes Park to the community as well traversing the Park itself, and is having a ripple effect for Muscatine County Parks to expand its built recreation infrastructure.
The careful planning and engineering for the trail increases the community’s shared space and promotes sustainable practices around natural resources without negatively impacting any historical assets or cultural resources. Sustainable recyclable asphalt was used. Over the pavement’s life cycle, asphalt pavements require only about half the energy to produce and construct than other pavements and because asphalt pavements are perpetual, less energy is consumed in maintenance and reconstruction with a life-cycle carbon footprint merely a fraction compared to other pavements.
The trail is anticipated to increase livability, social and cultural interaction, and inclusivity and accessibility by connecting to other trails and area parks as well as connecting neighborhoods to places of employment.