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Bemidji City Council: Irvine Avenue striping will be discussed

A center turn lane or bike lanes - these are the options facing the Bemidji City Council Monday as it must decide what the final striping of Irvine Avenue Northwest will look like following reconstruction.

The council will convene for a regular meeting at 7 p.m. Monday at City Hall.

Irvine Avenue will be closed Monday as the roadway, from Third Street to Paul Bunyan Drive/Highway 197 will be reconstructed between then and Oct. 30.

No change will be done to the section of roadway between Third and Sixth streets - but the council will be asked to make a determination about striping from Sixth Street to Paul Bunyan Drive.

Irvine Avenue has traditionally been a two-lane road with a parking lane/shoulder.

However, last summer, during the reconstruction of Bemidji Avenue North, Irvine Avenue was striped to have two lanes with a center turn lane.

Both layouts have support from area residents.

Director of Public Works/City Engineer Craig Gray has recommended that the road be returned to its traditional layout.

"Although a continuous center turn lane will reduce traffic dleays, I don't think this benefit is sufficiently off-set by the loss of the parking/shoulder areas," Gray wrote in a memo to the council. "This parking lane also provides an important area for bicycles and pedestrians."

Area residents have been sent letter encouraging them to voice their opinions either by phone or by attending Monday's meeting.