Axios Des Moines

Why it matters: Axios Des Moines, anchored by Jason Clayworth and Linh Ta, is here to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news and developments unfolding in their own backyard.

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Linh Ta, author of Des Moines
22 hours ago - Axios Des Moines

Iowa's traffic nears pre-pandemic levels

Expand chart
Data: Iowa DOT; Chart: Axios Visuals

If Des Moines-area traffic jams bring you back, circa 2019 — you're not wrong.

Driving the news: Traffic in the Des Moines metro has returned to within nearly 5% of pre-pandemic levels, according to the Iowa Department of Transportation.

  • Afternoon traffic volumes are higher than mornings, state DOT official Jeff Von Brown told Axios.

Flashback: Traffic levels plummeted to 28% below normal in the metro last spring, when the pandemic and restrictions forced people to stay home.

  • It dipped again in the winter when Gov. Kim Reynolds urged Iowans not to travel. But it rebounded this spring as vaccines became more widely available.

What's ahead: Employees are returning to downtown workplaces this summer through fall, said Tiffany Tauscheck, chief operations officer for the Greater Des Moines Partnership.

  • Wells Fargo, Principal, Meredith, Krause Group and EMC are planning returns by September, the Register reports.
  • But companies like Nationwide are expecting a "yearslong" return, nixing its pre-pandemic work model.

Of note: The state DOT is planning on installing stop-and-go lights along I-235 on-ramps to control traffic flow, starting 2023.

22 hours ago - Axios Des Moines

Des Moines seeks to curb disruptive City Council meetings

The public hearing portion of the Des Moines City Council meeting Monday was postponed due to disruptions. Photo courtesy of the city of DSM’s live meeting video

DSM is evaluating extra safety and decorum protocols after dozens of protestors disrupted Monday's City Council meeting, city officials told Axios.

Driving the news: Demonstrators showed up to the council's first in-person meeting of the year with defund police signs, demanding that the city deny a nearly $11K police officer training proposed for later this summer.

Why it matters: While the protests were peaceful, some are concerned they put public safety at risk, including to demonstrators themselves.

  • City leaders are now warning of arrests or citations if such disruptions continue at future meetings.
  • Plus: Unruly meetings make it difficult for citizens to tell elected officials about their concerns.
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