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Cedar Street in Alexandria under scrutiny

The city has received complaints about speeding and traffic volumes on the street.

EP Alexandria City Government 2
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ALEXANDRIA — In response to complaints about speeding and volumes of traffic on Cedar Avenue between Fifth and 13th Avenues, the Alexandria City Council directed staff to re-stripe Cedar Street and to continue to monitor the busy street.

That portion of Cedar Street is classified as a collector street and receives municipal state aid funds.

The speed limit is 30 mph. The police department used its speed trailer to measure traffic volume and speed through the corridor during a three-day period. The total traffic count was 8,095 – about 2,020 vehicles per day, according to City Engineer Tim Schoonhoven.

The average speed was 27.9 miles per hour A total of 73.5% of vehicles traveled at or below the speed limit and 26.2% of vehicles traveled moderately above the speed limit (one to four miles over the limit) and 0.4% of vehicles traveled excessively above the speed limit (five miles or more over).

Crash data shows a total of 14 incidents over a five-year period. There were no incidents between 10th Avenue and 13th Avenue.

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The measured traffic volume corresponds with the state-aid assumed traffic count of 2,100 vehicles per day between 5th Avenue and 10th Avenue, according to Schoonhoven.

The traffic drops to about half (approximately 1,000 vehicles per day) between 10th and 13th Avenue.

The city’s highway committee reviewed the data and considered a number of options.

In other areas of Alexandria, the city has had very good results in reducing vehicle speed and addressing other traffic issues by changing the striping to reduce lane widths, according to Schoonhoven.

He added that re-striping changes the driver's perception of a corridor and slows the average vehicle speed. Steger Road, Birch Avenue and Broadway are all examples of streets where this strategy has been successful, Schoonhoven said.

SchoonhovenTim22.jpg
Tim Schoonhoven

At its Monday, July 25 meeting, the council agreed with the highway committee’s recommendations to revise the striping on Cedar Street, between Fifth Avenue and 10th Avenue, to 11-foot-wide driving lanes. Also, individual parking stalls on the 700 block of Cedar will be striped.

The committee recommended no change in striping at this time between 10th and 13th Avenue.

Following are other items from the July 25 meeting not included in other council coverage.

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Change considered for hockey liquor sales

The council approved a preliminary reading of an ordinance that would allow the city to issue on-sale liquor licenses to the Alexandria Blizzard, a junior league hockey team, to allow the owners to serve strong beer and wine at the Runestone Community Center.

Without the city knowing about it, the state Legislature passed a law this past session saying that the city "may" issue a license to the owner of a junior league hockey team.

Past practices at the RCC has been for the Blizzard to contract out the liquor service at the RCC to a local on-sale liquor license holder that also has a state-issued catering license.

City staff determined that having the city issue the license directly to the provider is better than having the liquor served through a vendor hired by the junior team that has a catering license.

The license would only be in effect for junior hockey games, players aged 16-21, and excludes high school hockey games. Alcohol would only be available for those 21 and older and must be consumed in the RCC.

Other events at the RCC would still need to use a different vendor for alcohol service.

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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