Southwest Infrastructure Study
Corey Bogenreif, P.E.
Principal Traffic EngineerEmail
In 1998, The Southwest Diagonal Corridor Study recommended the alignment of the Southwest Connector. The Southwest Connector was proposed to be a five-lane roadway with a landscaped median that ran from SW 7th Street, diagonally across the southwest portion of Des Moines to SW 63rd Street at SW McKinley Avenue. The study recommended this new roadway be built to serve a planned airport terminal on the west side of the airport and anticipated traffic volume increases on Park Avenue and Fleur Drive. Since the 1998 study, the Des Moines Airport Authority completed a Terminal Area Concept Plan which proposes a new terminal complex along Fleur Drive instead of on the west side of the airport. Additionally, traffic volumes on Park Avenue and Fleur Drive have not grown as projected in the study. In 2018 the MPO removed the Southwest Connector was removed from the Long Range Transportation.
In 2020, the City initiated the Southwest Infrastructure and Planning Study to review existing infrastructure and develop recommendations to determine what roadway network improvements and/or changes would be needed after the removal of the Southwest Connector project. A Land Use Master Plan for the area south of Gray's Lake and a drainage analysis for a wetland identified in the Gray's Lake Master Plan were also being completed in conjunction with the infrastructure study. An overview of the planning study areas is shown below.
Goals of the Study
- Establish a regional, multimodal transportation infrastructure development strategy.
- Improve network reliability, efficiency, and safety for all modes as demand increases.
- Accommodate long-term economic development opportunities in a flexible way.
- Protect recreational and natural resources throughout the study area.
Stakeholder Engagement and Public Outreach
Throughout the study process, several stakeholder groups were involved in planning meetings to guide the study. Stakeholders and organizations represented during the project planning process included: City of Des Moines, Airport Engineering and Planning, Des Moines MPO, Des Moines Water Works, Wastewater Reclamation Authority, Des Moines Public Schools, Southwest Hills Neighborhood Association, Gray's Lake Neighborhood Association, Des Moines Street Collective, DART, Des Moines Water Works Foundation, Gray's Lake and Meredith Trail Advisory Committee, Des Moines Parks and Recreation Board, and the Friend's of Des Moines Parks.
An overview of the recommended network and roadway typologies is shown below.
On July 28, 2021, a public open house was held to share concept recommendations for future improvements to the transportation network. Approximately 90 people attended the public open house. Information about various road segments and alternatives were presented for visitors to review and provide comments. The project team and City staff were on-site to answer questions and facilitate discussion about the concepts.
The Open House Station boards and Station Guides may be viewed below. Questions or comments about the open house material may be sent to City of Des Moines Principal Traffic Engineer Corey Bogenreif, PE at ENG-TT-ENG@dmgov.orgDownload materials
On August 8, 2021, the Southwest Infrastructure and Planning Study was presented at a Des Moines City Council Work Session. The Southwest Infrastructure and Planning study was completed in February 2022. The study recommendations include 37 individual roadway, activity transportation, operational, and safety projects within the study area. In total, the recommendations from this study amount to approximately $72 million of transportation infrastructure improvements. Some highlight study recommendations include:
- Street typology changes and new typology assignments for the streets within the study area.
- The realignment of George Flagg Parkway to connect with Bell Avenue near SW 30th Street. This project would include raising George Flagg Parkway from Park Avenue to Bell Avenue above the 100-year flood plain.
- A new roundabout intersection at George Flagg Parkway and Park Avenue included a grade-separated trail crossing for the Great Western Trail.
- A new, currently unnamed street, west of the airport to support future commercial and industrial development.
- Street improvements to Thomas Beck Road to provide a safer, more efficient driver experience while also enhancing pedestrian and active transportation connectivity.
South of Gray's Lake Master Plan
A component of the Southwest Infrastructure and Planning Study included a Master Plan of the area south of Gray's Lake Park. The purpose of this Master Plan was to identify a vision for potential redevelopment of the study area shown below. Gray's. Lake Park is a highly coveted gem within the Des Moines metro area. The South of Gray's Lake Study Area is a key potential redevelopment site. The site is well suited for a mixture of uses given its proximity to Gray's Lake Park, regional trails, key transportation routes as well as Downtown Des Moines.
The South of Gray's Lake Master Plan was presented at a City Council Work Session on September 13, 2021. Click below for more information about the South of Gray's Lake Master Plan.South of Gray’s Lake Master Plan
What are the next steps?
The Southwest Infrastructure and Planning Study will be brought to the City Council for approval and adoption. After adoption, recommended projects from the study will be prioritized and added to the City's Capital Improvement Program (CIP) for implementation as funding allows.