One of the solutions that the Minnesota Department of Transportation is proposing for traffic control starting at Dick's Northside heading west on Paul Bunyan Drive is a number of roundabouts and a continuous center median barrier. (This would be part of the reconstruction project for the corridor slated for 2023-2025.)
This will affect many intersections but not at Irvine Avenue because there is too high of a traffic count at that intersection. The other affected businesses surrounding those intersections will have mostly a negative impact from the resulting loss of real estate, difficult access to their business and, in general, the confusion that is created by roundabouts.
This type of a traffic solution should not be implemented in a Central Business District zoning situation. The Central Business District zoning is for businesses, small and large. Installing a concrete median down the center of the entire length of the strip will cause a great deal of back-tracking and confusion, since cars will not be allowed to cross the street. To navigate, cars will have to turn in one direction only, find the next roundabout, make a 180-degree swing, and then proceed in the direction originally intended.
Sound confusing? That's because it is.
MNDOT should not move forward with this approach for major redevelopment of our main business district, it will cause some businesses to fold for difficult access and others will experience a drop in business due to the confusion. I ask the general public to weigh in and the businesses need to contact all elected officials to try and prevent this from happening.
There has to be a better solution.
Jim Lucachick is a Beltrami County Commissioner and a business owner.