Alexandria adopts snow removal policyAfter a big snowfall, which roads do the city of Alexandria plow first? How long does it take? Are their parking restrictions in the winter? These questions and more are addressed in a snow removal policy that was adopted by the Alexandria City Council at its Monday night meeting.
By: Al Edenloff, Alexandria Echo Press
After a big snowfall, which roads do the city of Alexandria plow first?
How long does it take?
Are their parking restrictions in the winter?
These questions and more are addressed in a snow removal policy that was adopted by the Alexandria City Council at its Monday night meeting.
Public Works Coordinator Bryan Bjorgaard put together the policy after noticing that the city doesn’t have a written procedure explaining snow removal.
Bjorgaard said the strategy the city uses to plow streets and sidewalks depends on a combination of factors – time the snow began, its duration, type of snow, temperatures before and after the snowfall, high winds and drifting, snow accumulation and the available equipment.
Generally, if it snows two or more inches, the city plows all streets and alleys, Bjorgaard said. The work typically begins at 3 a.m. and the goal is to complete the plowing for the entire city within 12 hours.
The arterial and major collector streets in the city, along with the streets and alleys in the downtown business district, are plowed first. These are high-volume traffic streets that connect major sections of the city and provide access for emergency vehicles, Bjorgaard explained.
Next, all residential streets and city parking lots are plowed, followed by alleys outside the downtown business district.
After that, pedestrian bridges, steps and sidewalks that abut city property are plowed.
During the plowing process, snow may be thrown into driveways and sidewalks, Bjorgaard said. He added that the street department works to minimize this but there’s no way to prevent some of this from happening.
Those who put snow or ice back on the street when clearing their property are violating state law and city ordinances, Bjorgaard said. Violators are reported to the Alexandria Police Department.
The street department doesn’t clear private driveways or sidewalks; residents need to make those arrangements themselves.
Property owners and tenants are responsible for the sidewalks adjacent to their property. Sidewalks must be clear of ice and snow 24 hours after the snow or ice has subsided.
Winter parking restrictions go into effect November 1 and remain in effect until April 1. If a snow emergency is declared and a vehicle is parked in violation of the ordinance, it can be towed to facilitate plowing. Snow emergencies are announced on local radio stations.
Bjorgaard offered a note of caution in his report: “Snow removal equipment is very difficult to operate, requiring intense concentration of the operators. Please give them a wide area to operate in.”
hired for police project
In other action (not previously reported in Wednesday‘s newspaper), the council:
•Hired ORB Management of Alexandria to provide construction management services for the city’s proposed stand-alone police station project.
At one time, the city was working jointly with the county in building a law enforcement center and ORB Management was part of the agreement. The county has since opted out of the project.
The city agreed to pay ORB Management $132,000 during the pre-construction phase and $88,000 during the
construction. This amounts to about 4 percent of the total project’s estimated cost. A construction manager provides alternative designs, cost estimates and alternative bids before construction, which is helpful in reducing the cost of the project, said Jim Taddei, city administrator. The company’s services are also critical during the construction phase in keeping the project on schedule, he added.
Mayor Dan Ness noted that the city isn’t required to call for bids to hire a construction manager and that he felt good about hiring a local firm for the job.
•Approved an engineering agreement with Widseth Smith Nolting and Associates for a water main and improvements to Elm Street between 11th and 12th Avenue.
The street will be widened to the city’s standard residential size – 36 feet – with curb and gutter. An eight-inch diameter water main will also be extended from the existing stubs at 11th and 12th Avenue.
New water services will be installed at each property. The project also includes sidewalk repair and turf restoration.
The engineering costs for the estimated $76,557 project were set at $11,678. All costs of the project will be split 50-50 between the city and Alexandria Light and Power.
Property owners in the area will be contacted to see if they want to replace their sidewalk. The cost would be split 50-50 between the owner and the city.
•Approved an engineering agreement with Widseth Smith Nolting and Associates for an improvement project on Nokomis Street, from 3rd to 5th Avenue.
Nokomis will be widened slightly between 3rd and 4th Avenue and restriped between 4th and 5th Avenue to add an additional lane of traffic. A retaining wall will be moved back 10 to 12 feet, said City Engineer Tim Schoonhoven.
The project includes traffic signal improvements, removing and replacing sidewalks and retaining walls, adding curb and gutter, restriping and acquiring roughly 800 feet of right-of-way.
The engineering work for the estimated $194,523 project is expected to cost $34,020.
State aid street
•Approved a resolution requesting the Minnesota Department of Transportation to advance state aid funds to the city for street improvement projects next year.
A total of $478,000 will be advanced. The city has requested this funding in advance for the past several years, said Schoonhoven.
•Approved a labor contract with police officers and sergeants for 2010-2011.
City council members were pleased that the officers agreed to a wage freeze for 2010, which follows what other city employees are getting. The 2011 wages were left open for negotiation.
Assistant City Attorney Tom Jacobson, who helped negotiate the agreement, told the council the spirit of cooperation with the police officers was outstanding.
Police station points
•Received an update on the police station project. A handout contained a list of “talking points” as to why the existing police station is inadequate, why the second floor space at the current law enforcement center is not cost effective and an analysis of why the existing park department garage is not reusable as a stand-alone police station.
Odds and ends
•Approved an ordinance to vacate a portion of a dedicated but unbuilt, unnamed street located east of Nokomis Street near the former site of Alexandria Golf Cars.
The city determined it had no current or future need for that portion of the street.
•Amended the city’s 2007 comprehensive plan by changing the future land use map to incorporate the Zavadil Development Master Plan.
The amendment allows the property to be rezoned but doesn’t confer any development rights.
The property encompasses about 660 acres and 6,000 feet of lakeshore, all of which are currently zoned agricultural.
The master plan allows a marina, green spaces, parks, walking trails, residential lots, apartments, townhomes, executive housing, affordable housing, assisted living and other types of housing.
•Approved 2010 license renewals for 28 more businesses and organizations (several others were approved at the previous council meeting).
The licenses included club on sale, excavating, garbage hauler, heating contractor, massage therapist, motorized vehicles, off-sale liquor, on-sale beer and taxi cab.
In related action, the council approved the Runestone Go-Kart Association 2010 schedule. The season runs from May 7 to September 10 and includes 18 race dates.
•Agreed to have the city subordinate an existing revolving loan with Naneek Properties (Lawrence and Sandra Keenan) to State Bank and Trust. The Keenans are refinancing the loan with the bank. The current balance on the loan is $16,250.
•Approved a final reading to correct the numbering sequence in the city’s chapter 10 code.