IRL intermodal facility project scaled back, moves ahead

By Pat Shaver

CORALVILLE — Another project in the developing Iowa River Landing district will likely move ahead, scaled back from the original plans.

The Coralville City Council approved a resolution last week that reduced the cost the city will pay to architects to design the intermodal facility plans. The change is in reaction to reduced funding from the Federal Transit Authority.

The budget of the intermodal project decreased to meet reduced funding from the Federal Transit Authority, which led to the reduction of the amount due to the project’s architect, Neumann Monson.

The project was originally expected to cost $25.8 million, but because of reduced funding from the FTA, that was reduced to a cost of $10.9 million.

The city had initially planned to pay Neumann Monson about $1.8 million for design plans. That number was reduced to $765,000. Those changes were approved at the council meeting Aug. 14.

The project has been in the works for about 10 years to secure federal funding. Vicky Robrock, director of parking and transportation for the city, said Coralville has about $6.5 million in federal funding. The project also involves a 20 percent local match, she added.

That will be enough money to fund phase one of the project, Ms. Robrock said.

“We will now start on the design process (for phase one),” she said. Up until now, the plans have been conceptual. As part of the resolution the city approved at its formal meeting last week, Neumann Monson Architects will help Coralville with the design of the project at a reduced price.

Phase one of the project includes approximately 270 park and ride spaces, a terminal building that will include room for offices, restrooms, bike lockers and other amenities. The terminal will have a large canopy for busses to pull in and out. There will also be retail parking spaces above the terminal building, Ms. Robrock said.

The Coralville Intermodal Facility will be located in the Iowa River Landing, just south of Interstate 80 at Exit 242. It will be west of Backpocket Brewing,903 Quarry Rd., Coralville.

The city has been working with the FTA to determine an acceptable project scope for phase one of the Coralville Intermodal Facility.  Phase one will be designed to maximize the city’s FTA dollars if the city decides to pursue phase two, Ms. Robrock said.

The transit portion of the fees (transit interchange and terminal, offices, restrooms, and 270 park and ride spaces) are FTA eligible expenses utilizing the $2.4 million in previous earmarked funds and the $4 million from the Bus Livability grant. The remaining non‐transit elements (170 retail parking spaces) are not eligible FTA expenses and would need to be locally funded.

Neumann Monson will be responsible for professional services and design of a 440-450 space parking facility, 3,500-square-foot terminal, which includes spaces for a transit lobby, restroom facilities, and transit and parking offices.  The agreement also includes master planning for Phase two which would include a bicycle shop, a 10,000-square-foot day-care facility and a Phase two terminal.

Although the agreement involves phase two planning, the city is not committed to that part of the project. The council will decide later whether to continue with the second phase of the project. That will depend on available federal funding, Ms. Robrock said.

The facility could also be tied to the railroad and if the area gets commuter trains, it would be a stop between Iowa City, Cedar Rapids and the Amana Colonies. The route is not connected to the potential service betweenChicagoandIowa City.

Additionally, the facility will be used by the University of Iowa for employee parking and will also act as a catalyst for economic development in the Iowa River Landing District.