On a recent evening, cyclists lined up their bikes outside GT’s Pub on Ingersoll Avenue as cars drove by single-file in both directions.

Bike lanes flanked the road on both sides, sandwiched between traffic and parked cars.

Across town, cars zipped down Hubbell Avenue past Des Moines Fire Station No. 3, a Kmart and the east branch library. A double yellow line divided the four lanes of traffic, all catering to motor vehicles.

Des Moines officials tried to install bike lanes on both busy streets — but with very different results.

As bike advocates push to make Des Moines a safer and more convenient city for cyclists — especially those who use bikes to commute — the two streets highlight the divisive nature of bike lanes and offer lessons on what works and what doesn’t.

“We didn’t approach Hubbell correctly,” said Jeremy Lewis, executive director of the Des Moines Bicycle Collective, a nonprofit bike advocacy group. “We abandoned it too quickly, and we didn’t couple those efforts with an adequate public education campaign.”


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