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Bemidji City Council nixes center turn lane for Irvine Avenue

Irvine Avenue's layout will return to its former self following this summer's reconstruction project.

The Bemidji City Council voted 5-0 Monday to have Irvine Avenue striped without a center turn lane, opting instead for a two-lane road with parking shoulders/bike lanes.

The roadway between Third and Sixth streets has always been planned to remain the same - but the council had been asked to consider two striping options for the street between Sixth Street and 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.

Five individuals addressed the City Council during its discussion; all were in favor of the traditional layout.

"I liked the center turn lane," said Mayor Richard Lehmann. "However, I don't see it necessary through the whole length."

There will be a left-turn lane at the intersection with 15th Street, said Public Works Director/City Engineer Craig Gray.

Councilor Greg Negard asked about the possibility for a left-turn lane at the intersection at Seventh Street, near the Beltrami County campus, but Gray said it did not seem necessary.

"The most I've waited there is 15-20 seconds for one or two left-turning vehicles," he said.