Suscribe to Weekly RiverCitiesReader.com Updates
* indicates required

View previous campaigns.

  • Buy Lynda.com - CSS For Developers (en)
  • Buy Cheap Adobe Illustrator CS5 Classroom in a Book
  • Discount - Propellerhead Reason 4 MAC
  • Buy Cheap Alsoft DiskWarrior 4 MAC
  • Buy OEM Adobe Illustrator CS5 on Demand
  • Buy OEM Autodesk AutoCAD LT 2012 (64-bit)
  • Buy OEM QuarkXPress 7.3 Passport
  • Discount - Lynda.com - Photoshop for Designers: Type Effects
  • 9.95$ Photoshop Elements 8 for Mac: The Missing Manual cheap oem
  • Buy OEM Lynda.com - HTML5 Structure Syntax and Semantics
  • Buy Autodesk Navisworks Simulate 2011 (en,de,es,fr,it,ja,ko,pt,ru,zh)
  • Buy OEM Vmware Workstation 10
  • Buy OEM Adobe Creative Suite 5 Master Collection Student and Teacher Edition MAC
  • Feature Stories
    Putting the Brakes on Traffic Cameras: The Iowa DOT’s Regulations Are a Good Start, but the Issue Begs for Legislative Action PDF Print E-mail
    News/Features - Feature Stories
    Written by Jeff Ignatius   
    Thursday, 25 June 2015 05:10

    Davenport started Iowa’s debate over using cameras to ticket vehicle owners for speeding and running red lights, so it’s appropriate to look at one of its intersections as an illustration of the current situation – 11 years after the city began automated enforcement.

    From 2001 to 2004 – before any traffic cameras were installed – Kimberly Road and Elmore Avenue averaged 7.0 red-light broadside crashes per year. From 2011 to 2014 – years when speed and red-light cameras were in operation – it averaged 1.0 red-light crash annually, a drop of 86 percent. The percentage decrease is slightly greater if one only considers red-light crashes in the directions of camera enforcement – east- and west-bound speed and red-light cameras.

    From the city’s perspective, this represents clear evidence that the traffic cameras have improved safety at the intersection.

    Yet earlier this year, the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) ordered that the City of Davenport turn off traffic cameras at Kimberly and Elmore, which it did in April. While the city presented data on broadside crashes – those in which somebody running a red light was a direct cause of an accident – the state looked at all crashes within 150 feet of the intersection.

    And here the picture becomes muddled. In three pre-camera years, total crashes averaged 10.3. The DOT evaluation found 15.5 total crashes per year after camera activation, including 23 in 2013.

    Gary Statz, a traffic engineer with the City of Davenport, said those numbers aren’t really in conflict: “In 2013, we had a spike in crashes out there, and I don’t know why, but we just did. So the average of [total crashes] those two years was pretty high, and they came to the conclusion that the cameras weren’t effective ... .

    “My argument would be that most of the crashes had nothing to do with the cameras. The red-light crashes were almost nonexistent, but we had a lot of rear-end crashes that were well back from the intersection. Traffic backed up further than people thought, [and they] just weren’t prepared to stop. That seemed to be most of them. ...

    “I found the vast majority of the rear-end crashes occurred well back from the intersection” but within 150 feet of it. “We only found three [in 2013] ... that occurred during the yellow or at the beginning of the red. ... When it happens five seconds after it’s red, and it’s 10 car lengths back from the stop bar, you can safely say the camera had nothing to do with it.”

    Ultimately, though, the City of Davenport opted not to appeal the DOT’s order at Kimberly and Elmore. “I didn’t really agree with what they said,” Statz said, “but we didn’t argue it.”

    This anecdote highlights a few key elements of the present battle over Automated Traffic Enforcement (ATE).

     
    A Band-Aid for Roads: Iowa’s Gas-Tax Hike Is a Short-Term Fix for a Long-Term Problem PDF Print E-mail
    News/Features - Feature Stories
    Written by Jeff Ignatius   
    Thursday, 12 March 2015 15:07

    When Iowa’s motor-fuel tax increased by 10 cents a gallon on March 1, it represented a road that was both brave and opportunistic.

    It was also stupid, for two key reasons: Raising the gas tax doesn’t fully address the funding need for critical road improvements, and over time it will provide less and less money while road-construction costs continue to increase.

    Despite that, the hike was still brave, because raising taxes is never popular among voters – especially when they feel the pain every time they visit the gas pump. The Des Moines Register has polled Iowans about a gas-tax hike for the past five years. While the amount of the hike in the question has varied over the years, opposition to an increase was 70 percent in 2011. Opposition has eroded since then, but it was still 58 percent in February 2014.

    Which leads us to opportunistic. Mirroring national trends, from July 2014 to early 2015 gas prices dropped from more than $3.50 per gallon in the Quad Cities and Des Moines to under $2, according to GasBuddy.com.

    Prices have risen since then but are still more than a dollar cheaper than in mid-2014, so legislators saw a window of opportunity. The February 2015 Des Moines Register poll found 48 percent support for a 10-cent gas-tax hike and only 50 percent opposition – and the cost of fuel was certainly a factor in that shift.

    The timing was great in political terms, too, just after a statewide-election cycle. The problem of deteriorating roads and bridges – and the choice for a solution – had been on the table since late 2011, but there’s nothing like the longest period of time before an election to spur legislators into unpopular action.

     
    Undoing the Arab Spring: Amaney A. Jamal, February 9 at St. Ambrose University PDF Print E-mail
    News/Features - Feature Stories
    Written by Jeff Ignatius   
    Tuesday, 03 February 2015 17:28

    Amaney A. Jamal

    Since 2005, the Arab Barometer project that Amaney A. Jamal co-founded has interviewed ordinary people in the Arab world about their views on (according to ArabBarometer.org) “governance, political life, and political, social, and cultural values.”

    So Jamal had extraordinary insight into the Arab Spring that began in 2010, and its aftermath. In a phone interview last week, she said she had seen the seeds of change but didn’t know if or when they would blossom. “It was very clear and obvious in our public-opinion polls that the status quo was not sustainable,” she said. “That the levels of frustration, the levels of mass discontent with the status quo were there. What was not clear was whether ... there was going to be some sort of trigger to bring it all down.”

    Jamal will present “The Arab Spring: Did All Go Wrong?” – St. Ambrose University’s Folwell Lecture in Political Science & Pre-Law – on February 9, and the answer to that question should be obvious enough to anybody who pays attention to international news.

     
    Small Solutions for a Big Problem: Sheryl WuDunn on the Oppression of Women, October 21 at St. Ambrose University PDF Print E-mail
    News/Features - Feature Stories
    Written by Jeff Ignatius   
    Tuesday, 14 October 2014 09:14

    Sheryl WuDunnThe 2009 book Half the Sky is filled with stories that are heartbreaking and inspiring – and often both. The Pulitzer Prize-winning husband-and-wife team of Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn gives you precisely what you’d expect from a book subtitled Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. There are lots of anecdotes supporting the idea that women across the globe face horrific violence, discrimination, and marginalization. That’s countered by personal stories that provide hope for change. And both are supported by statistics and academic studies.

    “We think that one of the greatest moral challenges of our time is the gender inequality and the brutality that many women and girls face around the world because of their gender,” said WuDunn – who will present a lecture version of the book on October 21 at St. Ambrose University – in a recent phone interview. “We also think one of the most effective ways to address a lot of the inequality is through educating girls and bringing them into the formal labor force ... . And we talk about a lot of these issues by telling stories of women who have been facing these challenges, and of other women and men who have come up with solutions.”

    But the book is also surprising – in ways that are both very small and very big.

     
    The Shrinking Gambling Pie: Jumer’s Boosted the Local Casino Market – but It Can’t Hide the Quad Cities’ Decade of Decline PDF Print E-mail
    News/Features - Feature Stories
    Written by Jeff Ignatius   
    Thursday, 21 August 2014 05:28

    It’s long been an article of faith with me that the seemingly perpetual growth in the number of state-sponsored gambling outlets is poor public policy. Common sense says that the amount of money people will spend on these games has a ceiling – one that we’ve almost certainly reached by now.

    If that’s correct, then further expansion of legalized gambling is a fool’s errand, as the money generated by it won’t increase meaningfully. Once gambling has reached a saturation point in a region, revenues will just get shifted from gaming company to gaming company and state to state and local government to local government.

    But like all articles of faith, I had no proof for my hypothesis. So I decided to test it, and the Quad Cities market seemed like an excellent laboratory.

    What is now the Isle of Capri casino in Bettendorf opened in April 1995 – making us a three-casino community. (I’ll refer to the casinos by their present names throughout this article.) We now have almost two decades of gaming information with the three-casino marketplace, and a handful of variables allow us to see what happened here when this happened there: the December 2008 move of Jumer’s from downtown Rock Island to Interstate 280; the recession that hit in 2007-8; new casino competitors in eastern Iowa in 2006 and 2007; and the 2012 introduction of video-gambling machines in Illinois outside of casinos.

    What I found didn’t exactly support my hypothesis of a Quad Cities gambling pie with a fixed size. Rather, the data suggest there are ways to add new customers to the local gambling market – but that the pie has nonetheless been shrinking for a decade.

     
    << Start < Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Next > End >>