Road Safety Grant Awarded to INRCOG to benefit Waterloo

The Iowa Northland Regional Council of Governments (INRCOG) has received a $60,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to improve road safety in the greater downtown Waterloo corridor. The grant will be used to gather data and gain input from the community to help develop a comprehensive safety action plan aimed at eliminating serious injury and fatal crashes affecting all roadway users. Public input is vital to ensure solutions meet the community's needs and enhance road user safety.

SS4a Map 2The study area is between Walnut Street, Randolph Street, Mullen Avenue (US 63 S) and 11th Street. The area was selected due to its recorded high number of crashes involving serious injuries and fatalities during the past five years. During this time, there were 951 crashes, with 14 involving serious injuries and two resulting in fatalities. Fifteen crashes involved a pedestrian with one of them resulting in a fatality, and twenty-one crashes involved a bicyclist, resulting in two fatalities. The most recent fatality occurred in June 2024 and involved a person on a bicycle.

As part of the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, federal safety grants supporting the “Vision Zero” concept were offered nationwide. Vision Zero was first adopted in Sweden in 1997 and has since been gaining momentum in the U.S. The Vision Zero concept states that every year, thousands of Americans are needlessly injured and killed on U.S. roadways, and that these traffic tragedies are a preventable public health crisis. The ultimate goal behind this strategy is to make zero roadway deaths and serious injuries a reality.

The U.S. Department of Transportation says implementing a Safe System approach is key to reach zero deaths on our roads. This approach is based on the idea that people make mistakes, and human bodies have a limited threshold for serious crash impacts. In a safe system, roads are designed and managed in ways that plan for human error while reducing crash impacts, so people don’t pay for roadway mistakes with their lives.

Roadways designed to reduce tragedies and serious crash impacts include safer speeds, roundabouts, protected pedestrian intersections and bikeways, safety islands, lighting improvements, and more. Various traffic safety solutions to our downtown corridor will be studied following the development of a comprehensive safety plan involving public input.

“Enhancing road safety is essential as we strive toward our Vision Zero goal of eliminating traffic fatalities. This project will be a cornerstone in creating infrastructure that prioritizes the safety of all users, ensuring that every journey — whether by foot, bike, or vehicle — ends safely at home,” said Nick Fratzke, Director of Transportation at INRCOG.

“It’s imperative that we continue our positive efforts toward the elimination of pedestrian accidents within our downtown corridor as well as across the entire city," said Quentin Hart, Mayor of Waterloo. "I’m so excited that we are able to continue examining our multi-modal transportation system through this Safe Streets initiative, creating Complete Streets that are walkable, bikeable and accessible for all -- making us an even more attractive city with streets and trails that attract and retain citizens and businesses.”

A local committee of community leaders has formed to begin developing the comprehensive safety action plan for the downtown Waterloo corridor. In the coming weeks, INRCOG will release an online public survey and host public input meetings to gather feedback from those who live, work, and socialize in downtown Waterloo. To access the upcoming survey, find details on the public input meetings, or stay up to date on the project, visit https://bhcmpo.org/ss4a/.

Contact: Nick Fratzke 
(319) 235-0311
nfratzke@inrcog.org