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Des Moines is tweaking its $7.1 million planto revamp a busy portion of Sixth Avenue north of downtown, reducing the number of lanes for cars and adding a 13- to 15-foot wide bicycle laneand pedestrian pathon the west side of the road.

The goal is to make the1.2-mile stretch between Interstate Highway 235 and Hickman Road more pedestrian friendly.

But some bikeadvocates are skeptical that a mixed bicycle and pedestrian path isthe safest solution. They arecalling for protected bike lanes like those recently added toEast Grand Avenuein the East Village.

Creating a safe space for cyclists and walkers is "not just a recreational need, it's an economic need," saidBreann Bye,executive director ofthe 6th Avenue Corridor, a nonprofit dedicated to revitalizing the roadway.

Twenty-nine percent of households in River Bend don't own a car, according to Des Moines Metropolitan Planning Organization data. Thirty-five percent are living below the poverty line. And in Cheatom Park neighborhood, 28percent ofhouseholds are below the poverty line.

Sixth Avenue is a main thoroughfare running through both neighborhoods.


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