CROOKSTON AND MNDOT TO HOLD HIGHWAY 2 CORRIDOR STUDY OPEN HOUSE ON TUESDAY

The City of Crookston and the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) will be holding an Open House for a Study on the Highway 2 Corridor on Tuesday, May 24, from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. at Crookston City Hall. The Open House is free and open to the public to give their thoughts about the Study.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation plans to expand the sidewalks along Highway 2 (Broadway and Main Street) from 10 feet wide from the building fronts to 15 to 17 feet wide to comply with the proper slopes at storefront entrances and intersections to make it safer for pedestrians to walk along the sidewalks and cross the streets. “Currently, it’s fairly wide for pedestrians to cross the road. It’s 50 to 60 feet for them to cross the road, and they’re looking to shorten that by about 24 feet,” Public Works Director Brandon Carlson explained. “To get there, they’re narrowing North Broadway downtown from the Fire Hall Bridge down to Domino’s at the end of the road. That’s essentially the corridor’s parameters, and they’re looking to do the work between those areas to achieve the narrower crossings and reduce it to two lanes,” he added. With the expansion of the sidewalks, the roads will be narrowed down to be two lanes, and the City’s Community Review Panel has come down to two options on how the flow of traffic will be affected by the narrowed lanes. The first option is to reduce them to two lanes but still have one-way traffic for both roads, while the other is to switch Main Street to Highway 2’s truck traffic and turn Broadway back into a local road with two-way traffic. Both options will also include bike lanes for bicycle traffic to separate them from sidewalk traffic.

Along with expanding the sidewalk to make the roads safer for pedestrians to cross them, MnDOT and the Community Review Panel are also looking to add other safety features to improve mobility for cars and freights, manage access and improve safety measures for motorists and pedestrians. Currently, MnDOT is monitoring traffic at the intersections throughout the corridors to learn which intersections require stoplights and other traffic signal measures. “There’re talks about using pedestrian-activated signals like the ones on Fisher Ave. where the pedestrian would hit the button when they’re going to cross the road, and the strobes would start flashing, so those are a couple of the options they are looking at,” Director Brandon Carlson explained.

The Open House will have SRF Consulting Group members Chris Brown and Molly Stewart presenting the options to the public and explaining some of the design choices and decisions that they and the Community Review Panel made in order to narrow the choices down to these two options. Including some that they had scrapped and will explain why they chose not to go forward with those ideas and how they may have impacted the current options. There will be two banners displayed for both options, and attendees can write and share their thoughts and inputs on them and with the SRF members on any thoughts, suggestions, or criticisms they have on the ideas. “Those are the two options that we’ll be looking at on Tuesday night, not that we’re set in stone on those options at this point,” Director Brandon Carlson explained. “That’s just the Community Review Board has settled down to, and we’d like to hear everybody’s input and encourage anybody that wants to be heard or just hear the conversations to attend that night,” he added.

After the Open House, MnDOT and Community Review Panel will take the public’s feedback and discuss them in a private meeting on Wednesday, June 1, followed by a Project Management Team Meeting in the middle of June. They will then make the adjustments to the options and present them at a final Open House on Monday, June 27 of what they will be presenting to the City Council. The Panel will then take the final option that the majority of the public approves and bring it before the City Council to be approved before beginning construction. Public Works Director Brandon Carlson reports that construction on the changes to the corridor may begin as late as 2025 or 2026 as MnDOT still has much to do on the final design.

The Highway 2 Corridor Study: Open House will be held at Crookston City Hall on Tuesday, May 24, from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. The Open House is open to the public to come and provide their feedback on the draft roadway alternatives. A flyer with a map of Highway 2 can be seen below. To learn more about the Open House and the Study, you can go to www.mndot.gov/d2/projects/studies/hwy2-crookston to see the Study’s schedule, learn more about the purpose of the Study, or submit an online comment.

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