Here is the timeline of releasing this information:
Saturday July 14, 2012 - Released to general public in various web sites and social media.
Monday July 16, 2012 - Released to the local media, ADA of Iowa and national and state bicycle advocacy organizations.
Tuesday July 17, 2012 - Released to the Siouxland Trails Foundation.
Wednesday July 18, 2012 - Released to the City of Sioux City, Iowa.
Some may wonder why the City of Sioux City is informed last. In part to bring this to the attention of the public so they can be informed as to the conditions of the trail and in part to allow and cause more people to hold the Sioux City's leaders more accountable for what needs to be done to correct the very bad trail conditions. Hopefully by Wednesday July 18 the city will have already been made aware, by someone other than me, of the problems on the Perry Creek Trail and start to take action to correct those problems.
As the one who took all of the photographs below and published this article I do have some expectations and hopes regarding the trail and the city's response to this report. My expectations is they will simply say thank you for informing us and do very little to nothing to fix the problems. But my hope is they will fix everything wrong with the trail in a quick and timely manner before a trail user is seriously injured. It is my understanding once a municipality is made aware of dangerous conditions involving facilities such as a trail and nothing is done to correctly fix the problems they can be held responsible if someone is injured. Thus informing the public to help the city accountable for correcting the problems of the trail.
The reason I say this because Sioux City for some strange reason has had an ongoing stupid and foolish competition with Sioux Falls, South Dakota. When something like building new and improving existing city facilities comes up the I have hear the city leaders literally ask what is Sioux Falls doing. I have first hand knowledge unless Sioux Falls is doing something Sioux City's leaders tend to do nothing to improve things and wait until Sioux Falls decides to. This makes the city leaders reactive rather than proactive when it comes to improving the quality of life and safety of the residents and visitors of Sioux City, Iowa. My attitude toward that is stop this stupid competition with Sioux Falls, be a lot more proactive with improving the quality of life of Sioux City. That said, I honestly hope I am proven wrong in my expectations of what the city will actually do to fix the Perry Creek Trail.
The city leaders frequently bemoan the lack of economic development in Sioux City. Sure the recession has had an impact on the community as it has all over the country. In Sioux City part of it also has to do with the lack of improved and properly maintained city facilities and amenities. When a business is looking at setting up shop in Sioux City one of the things they look as part of the whole picture is what does the city have to offer for recreation. When there is a lack of safe facilities to use it certainly weighs on their decision to locate to this community.
There is a trail advocacy organization called the Siouxland Trails Foundation. I have been credited as being the founding member of the organization. As such I humbly accept that recognition. I was heavily involved with the foundation for the first 2 years of its existence and during its 3rd year I stepped away from the heavier responsibilities I was involved with. Today I am no longer directly involved. Part of the reason the foundation was created is for issues such as those occurring on the Perry Creek Trail. Lately they leaders of the foundation state they promote trail awareness. While that is part of the foundation's responsibility and reason for being part of the community sometimes they need to get more involved, roll up their sleeves and work with city leaders to do what is needed to improve trails such as Perry Creek. Awareness will only go so far. If direct involvement for trail improvement is left to the way side the Siouxland Trails Foundation is not doing their job as a responsible member of the community.
Originally built as part of the Perry Creek Flood control project, the trail runs from Stone Park Blvd on the north side of Sioux City to Pierce St, just a block south of downtown Sioux City. Since it was built it has had a few modifications and has multiple access points along its route. The Perry Creek Trail is one of the most useful and the highest used trail in Sioux City, Iowa. It literally connects the north side with the west side, near north side and the downtown area. Along the trail are very close access points to commercial shopping areas, schools and other city amenities.It is used for far more than just recreation. Pedestrian and bicycle commuters to get to and from school on an almost daily basis. A majority of the trail is scenic as it parallels Perry Creek along floor or bottom of the creek valley. The trail has minor elevation changes or slight undulations, a switch back and bridges that cross the creek back and forth.
The most recent modifications were completed late 2011 to early 2012. It is these modifications that have made it confusing. Part of the trail is in violation of Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA and a large portion of the trail is dangerous to use because of severe cracks and blind spots.
The photographs were taken in sections over the course of a 3 week period from Pearl Street to Stone Park Blvd. To view the larger image click on the photo. If it does not open in a separate window click back to return to the report/article.
The bicycle shown in the photos is mine. I took these photos over a the course of 3 weeks as i commuted home from work. The reason it starts at Pearl Street is that is where i access the Perry Creek Trail on my way home.
Along the trail are trail markers that are supposed to be set at about every one tenth of a mile. Many are damaged and several are missing. With emergency communication and dispatch systems there is a feature that allows the crew to be directed using GPS to such a trail marker. Not a good thing if emergency crews have to try and locate someone and take longer to do so, (longer response time), and cannot because of a missing trail and damaged trail markers that are unreadable. This is the very first thing I notices making this a dangerous trail to use.
This section is from Pearl Street to marker PC 130. No signage as to what the street is. Nothing indicating the very large building on the right in the first photo. The trail also passes very near another city amenity but there is no signage about it. It is not seen in the photo but I am referring to the farmers market.
Between markers PC 129 and 128 is where the cracks start. The cracks are a trip hazard and can catch the wheel of a roller bladder and even catch a bicycle tire causing trail users to fall. The only way to correctly fix this problem is tear out the sections of concrete and replace it. The city likes to be cheap about it and use crack filler. That is similar to putting a band aid when stitches are needed to close a wound.
This sections also has issues when it rains. The rain runoff washes mud which covers the trail. The drainage needs to be improved.
From trail markers PC 128 to 127 there are more problems with drainage when it rains. There is also a problem with trail marking and signage. This is where there is a connection to the trail from a downtown street. But nothing to mark what the street is, where any of the nearby amenities are located, etc. This is what makes this trail confusing, especially for visitors and new users.
Between trail markers PC 127 and 126 there are cracks that will get worse. But the biggest danger of all along this section of the trail is the scaffold that has been erected for use by whom ever is working on the bridge that goes over the trail. There are no signs indicating one half of the trail is blocked or impacted by this and it is in an area that has blind curves coming from both sides. Trail users do not know about it until it is too late and they are already upon this danger. The scaffold has been there for at least 3 weeks.
Between markers PC 126 and 125 is a poorly installed walk signal control on one of the traffic light poles. For some reason when it was installed it was done so on the wrong side of the pole. If someone is on the trail wanting to cross 6th street and are heading north the walk signal control is on the incorrect side. There are also more cracks, some large enough to be a trip hazard and have an effect on cyclists and those who roller blade.
Between trail markers PC 125 to 124 is one of the worst sections with cracks and broken concrete. There are broken sections with loose concrete jutting up that can catch a wheel and pull someone to the ground.
The section between PC 124 and 123 has broken and cracked concrete. None of this has been repaired and looks like it has been happening for a while. This indicates the city does little to nothing to inspect the trails to see what preventative maintenance needs to be done. This section also has a connection to another part of the trail. The problem is there is no signage indicating what is the main trail and where the connection goes or terminates. There are also no signs indicating who has the right of way. This is a dangerous situation. If there is a collision between a cyclist on one part of the trail and a pedestrian on the other part, or between 2 cyclists who is at fault, who has the right of way? Right now no one knows. I have used trails in other communities that have traffic control signs indicating who has to yield, who has the right of way, etc. These same trails also have signs stating the name of streets and if there are amenities such as a museum, park, etc. nearby a trail access point.
Between trail markers PC 123 and 119 is the first area where there is runoff and drainage problems on the trail where it passes under a bridge. The problems is not at the rail level, though that is where the mud ends up. It thickly coats the trail surface making this area a dangerous spot to ride on. The problem starts up and just under the bridge where it connects to the roadway above the trail. What the exact problem is unknown but the photos show a rut cut into the dirt by water that runs down the embankment to the trail.
This section also shows multiple junction points to the trail. It is for better lack of a term a trail interchange point. This was recently done when the Wesley Parkway corridor project was started. Some buildings were torn down and Wesley Parkway was widened. Part of the trail was moved over, a trail bridge was relocated and more connecting points were added to the trail. The problem is the serious lack of signage indicating what street the trail has access to and who has the right of way at these junction points, turn offs, Y's, entrances and exits to and from the trail. This is equivalent to an interstate interchange with no signage informing drivers what exit leads to what street and more importantly who has the right of what and when due to lack of yield signs and other traffic control signage. As mentioned before the lack of informational signage makes trail use in this section very confusing, especially for new people or visitors to Sioux City. With no traffic control signs it makes this section dangerous because no one knows who has the right of way and who doesn't.
Between trail markers PC 119 and 118 is another section under a bridge that has problems with drainage when it rains. There is also another trail junction point, no signage indicating what is the main trail and what street it leads to or who has the right of way. PC 118 has damage to it, one is side is unreadable.
Between trail markers PC 118 and PC 117 are cracks. It should be noticed by now there has been an attempt made to repair the cracks with the black crack filler material. As already stated this does not work. The crack continues to form, becomes larger causing a change in the level of the concrete to on each side of the crack. In the photos to come the cracks are much worse.
Between trail markers PC 117 and 116 there is another section with drainage and run off problems under a bridge.
Between trail markers PC 116 and 115 there are more cracks and drainage/run off problems under a bridge.
The only problem with the section between trail markers PC 115 and 114 is another confusing junction or interchange point on the trail.
Between trail markers PC 113 and 110 there are missing trail markers, a few cracks, a confusing trial interchange/junction/access point with no signage and at the end of one of the trail access points a clear violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA. ADA more or less states when ever public facilities such as trails and sidewalks are built or improved ADA compliance has to be followed. As such where public trails, multi-use paths and sidewalks intersect with public roadways there has to be the smooth transition from the path or walk way to the the street with no curb and there has to be the bump pads for those who are blind. There is no smooth transition or bump pad at the end of this section of the trail where it intersects with the street.
This section of the trail is one of the newest. It is unclear as to whether or not it was a mistake in the engineering plans, the contractor made the mistake and did not build the trail correctly or the city made a mistake. Whom ever is at fault makes no difference. It needs to be corrected, quickly. However this has been brought before the city's attention but nothing has been done to correct the problem. Therefore this information has been sent to the ADA of Iowa prior to it being sent to the City of Sioux City. This will hopefully put pressure on the city to motivate them to correct this very quickly.
The section between trail markers PC 110 and 105 is the most dangerous. It has the worst cracks. These cracks can certainly cause a cyclists or a roller bladder to crash and a pedestrian to trip and fall. Some of these are so wide the 1.5" wide tires on my bike easily fit down inside the crack. There is also another confusing junction point with no signage. This section also has a confusing junction or interchange point at the end of which some of the dangerous cracks are located.
From tail marker PC 105 to the end of the trail at Stone Park Blvd there are confusing interchange/junction/ access points with no signage. There are also dangerous blind spots where fences are located. The fences either need to come down or the end/corner that creates the blind spot on the trail needs to be pushed back so traffic on the trail can see. It is unknown whether the fences are owned by the city or the property owner who's property line borders the trail. If a collision occurs between trail users whom ever does own the fence can be held civilly liable for damage and injuries. There are also some cracks in the trail surface as well. At this end of the trail and at certain access points there are signs that list the rules of the trail in both English and Spanish. One rule in particular needs to be removed, changed or modified. It is the first one on this sign about not speeding. If there is going to be mention of a speed limit in any way then there needs to be a posted speed limit along the trail that is enforced. Otherwise that rule is null and void. If someone was cited for speeding on the trail it could easily be challenged and overturned in court because there are no posted speed limits on the trail.