Leadership Dubuque ‘Big Ideas’ Workshop Highlights + Poll Results

Leadership Dubuque Workshop
January 11, 2017 12:15-1:15 PM
Holiday Inn, 450 Main Street
RSVP for the 2/21 Environmental Integrity Workshop (Food + Beverages Provided)

On Wednesday, January 11th, Comprehensive Plan outreach was conducted with Leadership Dubuque, the Dubuque Area Chamber of Commerce’s network of rising professional leaders.  Over 30 participants shared their thoughts on how Dubuque can become a more viable, livable, and equitable community while focusing on the concerns of young professionals. The event included an overview of the Comprehensive Plan, a digital polling exercise, and a BIG IDEAS Brainstorm + Mind Mapping session; scroll down to view the timelapse video!

Introduction + Digital Poll

Dave Johnson, Assistant Planner with the City of Dubuque and Mike Hoffman, project consultant with Teska Associates, Inc., opened the meeting with a description of Imagine Dubuque, the importance of public input in directing the future of the city, and the vital role that young professionals play in the city’s future success.

The group then provided ideas using their smartphones on what they believed to be the greatest strengths and most pressing challenges facing Dubuque.  Participants were also asked to rank possible transportation and mobility improvements.


Members of Leadership Dubuque participate in an online polling exercise using their smartphones.

Question #1: What are Dubuque’s greatest assets?

Repeatedly, the river and Dubuque’s people were recorded by young leaders as Dubuque’s greatest assets.  Similarly, natural and recreational amenities such as the port, parks, walking trails, and bluffs were identified, as well as people-related answers such as community, local businesses, and leaders.


Question #2: What are Dubuque’s greatest challenges?

Dubuque’s greatest challenges pertained to diversity, retaining young professionals, and a welcoming attitude toward new ideas.  Connectivity, infrastructure, and road design were also noted.


Question #3: When thinking about mobility improvements, what level of importance do you place on the following?

The most important mobility improvements were an enhanced trail network and improved roadways.  Walkability and the arrival of Uber/Lyft were also highly ranked.  While the majority (58%) of participants felt that on-road bike lanes were important, a few (25%) felt they were less so.  Additional comments during discussion included:

  • Fix uneven pavement
  • More roundabouts
  • Improve dangerous Highway 20 intersections


BIG IDEAS + Mind Mapping

Topic #1: Mobility

In the mind mapping exercise, Leadership Dubuque was asked: How do we improve mobility?  A wide range of responses were offered with multiple participants calling for Uber and Lyft service, expanded bus service, and less stoplights for cross-town travel.  One participant explained that they are more likely to stay at home during the weekends because there is no affordable way to get downtown and experience bars and restaurants without driving.  Other participants echoed that this can lead to a feeling of isolation for recent transplants.  Additional ideas related to mobility:

  • Dedicated turn lanes
  • Bike share downtown
  • Optimized signal timing
  • Trail connectivity
  • Train access to other cities
  • Divert traffic around downtown
  • Reduce one-way streets


Topic #2: Amenities + Initiatives

Participants were asked what community amenities or initiatives are important to retaining and attracting area talent.  Notably, participants called for more social gatherings, opportunities to make new friends, and ways to feel more connected to the community.  Better air service and a wider variety of music, entertainment, and recreational offerings were also mentioned.  Other ideas included:

  • Better paying jobs
  • Greater diversity
  • Rock climbing
  • Walking tour app
  • Better bar scene
  • Clean up downtown
  • Business opportunities for woman
  • More ethnic restaurants
  • Better educate residents on existing community assets


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