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City leaders looking at ways to reduce crashes on 50th Ave. in Alexandria

The Highway Committee recommended having city staff meet with business owners in the area to discuss the idea of setting up a demonstration project in the intersection.

In an effort to reduce crashes, Alexandria's Highway Committee is deciding whether to extend the median island on 50th Avenue at Twin Boulevard.

The committee recommended having city staff meet with business owners in the area to discuss the idea of setting up a demonstration project in the intersection. Temporary plastic bollards would be set up, such as the ones used on Third Avenue, to prohibit left turns from 50th Avenue, north to Twin Boulevard.

The intersection experiences a very high number of crashes, according to City Engineer Tim Schoonhoven. The Minnesota Department of Transportation believes that eliminating this turning movement would help prevent a large number of those crashes, he said.

The demonstration will likely be set up next summer for six to eight weeks, Schoonhoven said.

The committee also talked about two other topics:

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  • Review of Nokomis improvement project (3rd Avenue to 22nd Avenue). Nokomis is planned for resurfacing between 3rd Avenue and 22nd Avenue in 2022. The project was originally programmed as a simple mill and overlay project but the highway committee feels the city should take a more comprehensive approach to the project and consider a longer term solution, Schoonhoven said. Nokomis is a very important north-south collector street and is one of the busiest streets in Alexandria, he said. With the proposed work on 18th Avenue and on 3rd Avenue, Schoonhoven said it seems to be a good time to look at ways to improve traffic flow through this corridor. The committee reviewed a preliminary exhibit that showed potential intersection improvements at the major intersections and pedestrian improvements throughout. This route is on the state aid system. Improvements can be funded with municipal state aid. Because of the complexity of the project, the committee recommended presenting more information to the council at a future work session.

  • Discussion of parking restrictions on 10th Avenue (Rosewood Lane to McKay). The city has received a request from the apartment building developer to reconsider the parking restrictions on 10th Avenue between Rosewood Lane and McKay Avenue. In mid-June, the city put up signs restricting parking on both sides of this street. The committee reviewed the email and considered the request but recommends no change at this time. The committee felt that the apartment buildings were designed with sufficient parking for all residents and that the street parking is not necessary and is being used primarily for the convenience of the tenants. The committee thought the issue could be revisited in the future, perhaps after next winter.

Audit services extended

In other action from the Aug. 11 meeting not covered in other stories, the council agreed to extend the audit services agreement with Abdo, Eick and Meyers, LLP.

The company will continue to examine the city's financial records and processes for at least another three years. The agreement covers the city, its two liquor stores and ALP Utilities.

Last year, the base cost of the audits totaled $46,450: $23,650 for the city audit, $14,700 for ALP Utilities and $8,100 for the liquor stores.

Under the new extension agreements, the amount may not exceed $46,450 for 2021, $49,350 for 2022, and $50,200 for 2023.

The city’s Board of Public Works will meet on Aug. 23 to discuss the council’s recommendation.

Soil to be tested on Runestone Community Center site

The council agreed to pay Braun Intertec $10,735 to collect soil borings on the Runestone Community Center property.

The ice arena facility will be undergoing an $11.2 million expansion. City Administrator Marty Schultz said it's common to get soil borings on a construction project like this.

The soil will be collected after the Douglas County Fair.

Al Edenloff is the editor of the twice-weekly Echo Press. He started his journalism career when he was in 10th grade, writing football and basketball stories for the Parkers Prairie Independent.
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