Des Moines is poised to convert a portion of East Grand Avenue into the city's first protected bike lanes as part of a pilot project aimed at slowing traffic and improving pedestrian safety.

The seven-block project would remove a westbound vehicle lane and add protected bike lanes in both directions on East Grand between the Des Moines River and Pennsylvania Avenue. Parallel parking, including a three-foot buffer for car doors, would be in between the vehicle lane and the bike lane, which would be next to the curb.

The City Council is scheduled to consider the project at a workshop Monday. If approved, construction would start this summer.

City Councilman Joe Gatto, who represents the city's southeast side, which includes East Grand Avenue, said the project is "icing on the cake" for the booming East Village neighborhood.

"Walkability has been very important to the development of the East Village," he said. "Slowing down the traffic, creating parking, making it more walkable and easier to navigate is what the businesses, developers and neighbors have always wanted."

The pilot project, which is expected to cost $175,000 to $225,000, would be constructed with paint and bollards (plastic poles that separate the bike lane from parking).

Making the project permanent with concrete islands, new traffic signals and other improvements is expected to cost up to $525,000, according to a city report.

The bike lanes will be marked with green paint — another first for the city.

Proponents say the bike lanes would provide a link from the trail system along the river to the East Village and the State Capitol complex.

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