Providing Transportation Options

The Des Moines River Trail will provide for a safe, efficient, and viable alternative to vehicular transportation. The trail provides pedestrian and bicycle travel, and is designed for recreational as well as functional usage. There are two main immediate transportation-related benefits of this trail: 1) a connection to downtown, and 2) a connection into the Central Iowa Trail System.

Connection to Downtown

The highest concentration of jobs and workplaces in Iowa is in downtown Des Moines. There are problems with traffic congestion on I-235 and other south side arterial roads, such as SE 6th, SE 14th, and Indianola Avenue which carry high traffic counts for the commute to and from work in downtown each day. Several of these will have direct connectivity to the trail. The roads that are expected to see a reduction in vehicular travel as a result include Indianola Avenue, Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway, and Southeast 14th Street (Hwy 69). This project will build upon important trail linkages being constructed for non-motorized traffic to connect downtown Des Moines to the rapidly-growing neighborhoods in southeast Des Moines. This trail will allow for better bicycle commuter, fitness and recreational opportunities as a result.

Connection to the Central Iowa Trail System

At the west end of the this planned trail are connections to the larger Des Moines and Central Iowa Trail systems that are part of the regional intermodal transportation system:

This trail will directly connect to the Meredith Trail, which leads to the Kruidenier Trail at Gray’s Lake Park and the Bill Riley Trail. The Bill Riley Trail connects directly to the Meredith Trail and passes under busy Fleur Drive, through Water Works Park and leads to Greenwood and Ashworth Parks, the Des Moines Art Center, and area neighborhoods. These trails are part of the greenbelt along the Raccoon River and Water Works Park, which is the “hub” of several trail connections. The Walnut Creek Trail picks up from there, connecting Des Moines’ trails with the Clive Greenbelt Trail. The Bill Riley Fleur Drive underpass also leads to the 17-mile Great Western Trail that heads south from Des Moines to Martensdale. Going north from the west end of the Des Moines River Recreational Trail is a connection to the John Pat Dorrian and Neal Smith Trails, which are part of the Des Moines River Greenbelt and extend 27 miles north to Saylorville Lake and Big Creek State Park. In addition, the Neal Smith Trail provides connections to Des Moines’ Beaverdale Neighborhood and the City of Johnston.

The Central Iowa Trail System consists of approximately 550 miles of trails, drawing people into the Des Moines Metro from Polk, Dallas, Guthrie, Greene, Boone, Story, Marshall, Jasper, Marion, Warren, and Hardin Counties.

The Des Moines River Trail will link into the Meredith Trail which is a portion of the American Discovery Trail previously described.

When ultimately connected to Carlisle, the Des Moines River Trail will connect to the Summerset Trail, an 11-mile trail between the cities of Carlisle and Indianola, and will give citizens of those cities connections to the Central Iowa Trail System.