Muscatine area residents met with RAGBRAI Muscatine leaders on Tuesday, May 3 to discuss the impact that being chosen as the ending point for the annual state-wide bike ride will have on local residents and businesses.
The 2016 Registers Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI) will begin in Glenwood, Iowa, on Sunday, July 24 and end in Muscatine on Saturday, July 30. Riders and support staff will travel across the state, staying overnight in towns along the way.
Muscatine is not an overnight stop for most, as riders will come into town on Saturday to dip their tires in the Mississippi River to signify the end of their journey before resting. The unique opportunity that Muscatine has is that riders and their support staff may be in the area twice.
Teams are anticipated to be in the area as early as Friday, July 22 and Saturday, July 23. Riders will be parking cars in Muscatine before loading their gear into transport vehicles to drive to Glenwood to start the ride.
RAGBRAI participants will be directed to park their vehicles at Muscatine High School for the week. Tent camping will also be available at the high school, both the weekend prior to RAGBRAI and the weekend of July 30.
The weekend of July 30, parking downtown will be at a premium. In addition to RAGBRAI traffic, the Muscatine Area Farmer’s Market and Great River Days will occur at the same time.
Police Chief Bret Talkington said there is a plan in place to help ease congestion, though residents should expect some delays when travelling downtown, especially in the morning. To assist in traffic control, the Great River Days committee has decided to cancel the parade this year. All other aspects of GRD will be held as usual. The main stage live entertainment is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m., though the entertainment stage will open in the morning, offering entertainment for both GRD attendees and RAGBRAI participants to enjoy.
Mississippi Drive along the riverfront will be closed to all traffic during the day, with cross-town traffic being directed to use 8th Street when possible.
Talkington said Hershey Avenue will be closed to inbound traffic, to allow riders the entire width of the lane. Outbound traffic will be allowed, though cautioned to reduce speed.
Several volunteer opportunities are available to assist with the events of the day. Residents willing to volunteer can learn more by signing up at VolunteerMuscatine.org, a website managed by the United Way of Muscatine. Volunteers can create a profile and receive updates as opportunities are made available.