3/28/2013 11:57:00 AM Tweaking of pairs design not a simple decision
BY DENISE MARTIN
When it comes to large scale roadwork it can be expensive to change your mind.
The Lindstrom City Council last week was not supportive of a request from the owner of Lindstrom Hardware, Jeff Blesener, to re-do Park Street, for access directly off Hwy. 8, to his building.
The preliminary cost estimate came in at a minimum of $12,000 for the project that was recommended by the city planning commission. It would switch Park St. to a one-way southbound, so people could turn directly off Highway 8 onto Park. Re-designing for a two-way street would cost about twice this. Park Street was reconfigured during the Lindstrom pairs project, into a one-way northbound, adding diagonal parking stalls angled in along one side. There’s a “bumpout” on the corner that serves as a landing for pedestrians, a deterrent to turning illegally, and is a calming feature for the through-traffic. Council member Joe Wishy said Blesener missed many opportunities for the one way layout to be contested, earlier in the Hwy. 8 design process.
The vote was 4-1 ‘no’ on turning Park into a one way southbound, for direct access to Park Street businesses. The exception was Mayor Keith Carlson, who thought it was a “reasonable compromise.” This issue apparently wasn’t finished, though. The consensus after brief continued discussion appeared to be that the city engineer should take the southbound one-way conceptual drawings to MnDOT and see what the state feedback is. The council asked for specific input on safety concerns having angled parking close to a highway intersection, if people backing out would be a hazard to anyone turning south onto Park St. City Engineer Jon Herdegen told council contractors will begin their project closing tasks in early May, and if there’s going to be any changes before the last layer of asphalt goes down-- the clock is ticking. “Pushing this (Park St.) out to the next meeting could be tight,” Herdegen cautioned.
On the topic of the highway, Lakes Area Chief of Police Kevin Stenson told council drivers aren’t adjusting to the new system of flashing yellow on the left turn arrows. There have been several crashes where drivers have actually told police they thought flashing yellow meant they had the right-of-way. They turned only to be hit by on-coming vehicles. MnDOT is utilizing flashing yellow arrows so people aren’t left sitting at solid red arrows for extended periods of time, while intersection lights cycle through programmed movements. Engineers were realizing that people were illegally turning on red arrows while waiting in little traffic. The flashing yellow left turn indicator is relatively new statewide. The only time you have the “right of way” is on a solid green arrow. Stenson said speeding is also a factor. His officers are doing the best they can to enforce laws.
The city is looking into mounting permanent speed readout signage along the route. Portable speed read-out trailers are currently positioned at various spots. City Administrator John Olinger said upon total completion of the highway rebuild, MnDOT will do a speed study and determine zones and limits permanently in town.
The council amended the trapping ordinance 5-0. New rules restrict use of traps on city-owned public property only. Traps regulated do not include “quick kill” devices for moles, gophers, mice, etc. Anybody with questions about use of a trapping device anywhere off their private property should contact the city administrator. There is a provision in the ordinance for a “special permit” in certain instances. Lindstrom was responding to concerns about the discovery of a trap in Alemansratt Park, and members of the public were worried pets or children would encounter these devices.
The city parking lot, First Street extension and stormwater projects to finalize the highway pairs work (story on projects Feb. 28) were awarded last week to Landwehr Construction. The company had the low bid of three main bidders, at $199,896. Resident John Nelson was in the audience and asked for review of the positioning of a rain garden, proposed as part of this bid in the general area of platted Lake Ave. The corridor is not an obvious roadway, but is used at various times by the neighborhood and Nelson said it would be unwise to block it with a rain garden. The city engineer will take a second look before work gets started. Council also agreed (4-1 with Wishy opposed) on selling a city-owned lot at Terryl St. and Newlander. It had been advertised, and the city hoped to get $30,000 or more.
The only offer in over a year has been from neighboring homeowner Colleen Sherman. Last week council agreed on a sale price of $13,500. Eighth District U.S. Congressman Rick Nolan’s constituent services rep, Rick Olseen, was on the agenda and met briefly with council members. Olseen said Nolan plans to visit the Chisago Lakes area soon. Nolan first served in congress about 30 years ago, and upon returning to D.C. with his win last November Olseen said one of Nolan surprises returning to D.C., is that the work week is really about three days not five.