Could a recreation trail for bicycle riders and pedestrians connect Le Mars and Sioux City?
The trail question may be answered with a study by the Siouxland Interstate Metropolitan Planning Council (SIMPCO).
The study is in the very beginning stages, said Kellee Van Bruggen, the project leader for SIMPCO.
"We had a meeting in April to discuss if this is something that would be worth pursuing and since then we've met twice," she said.
The trail would not necessarily be a separate pave path, but could be a route marked by signs on roads. No decisions have been made.
Bringing together people with an interest in recreation trails is one of SIMPCO's tasks at this stage of the study.
Early discussions have included local government representatives, according to Van Bruggen.
Elected officials and city staff from Le Mars, Merrill, Hinton and Sioux City have been contacted about the study, she said.
At the Plymouth County level, Engineer Tom Rohe and Supervisor Don Kass have attended a meeting.
Plymouth County Cyclists, a local group; Siouxland Cyclists; and the Siouxland Trails Foundation have also been contacted, she said.
"We're getting the bike groups involved because they have the most knowledge about what roads are safe and which ones they're comfortable on," Van Bruggen said.
Information for the study is also being gathered through Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) staff at the district office, in Sioux City, and the state bike and pedestrian coordinator for the DOT, she said.
The early talks about the concept of a Le Mars to Sioux City recreation trail have included the option of signs.
"What we're looking at doing right now is looking at what we could do to put signs along existing roadways that bicyclists are already using," Van Bruggen said.
The signs would help drivers of vehicles know that bicycles are going to be out there, she said.
The trail project study by SIMPCO will also look at other trail options modeled after a Lewis and Clark Trail study for a route linking southeastern Iowa and Sioux City.
"The Lewis and Clark trail study looked at future routes where there was opportunity to put a dedicated trail off the roadway and different loops from the trail into communities," Van Bruggen said.
The loops might take trail users to an attraction in a city or a trail through a community, she explained.
As part of the study, SIMPCO staff hopes to initially involve the public through an online survey in approximately the next month.
Options that may be included in the survey are a trail based on using the shoulder of county or state roads as well as a separate trail dedicated to bicycle or pedestrian use, she explained.
"What we're looking at asking the public at large is what they would like to see from a trail," Van Bruggen.