Baxter man says measures needed to slow traffic at new trail crossings
The Baxter City Council approved plans to launch projects in 2020 to upgrade a number of trail crossings and intersections across the community.
BAXTER — The Baxter City Council approved plans and authorized staffers Tuesday, Jan. 7, to bid the 2020 Fairview Road, Golf Course Drive, Excelsior Road & Trail Connection and 2020 Oakwood Drive trail connection improvements project.
In addition, the latter portion of the resolution stated staffers are directed to look at adding more lighting installations to the Golf Course Drive portion of the project.
The project looks to revamp the crossings, entrances and stretches of trails that make up a number of branches of the larger Baxter city trail network, with an emphasis on safety and convenience for pedestrians. The project that affects residents situated on Oakwood Drive, Golf Course Drive, Excelsior Drive and Fairview Road had an estimated appraisal at roughly $3.2 according to the July feasibility study.
During Tuesday’s meeting, project engineers and council members discussed the need to establish more lighting at crossing intersections for the safety of bike and foot traffic pedestrians on the trails, but one member of the community said the city should take safety measures a step further.
Gary Morgenroth, a resident on Springwood Drive, said the city needed to take extra steps to ensure crossing points and intersections were safe. While the city can take steps to better illuminate areas with lights, many drivers don’t slow down for these areas, Morgenroth said, which means measures to slow traffic are in order. In particular, he noted crossings at Highway 10 and Golf Course Drive could be treacherous to use.
“Based on my experience since I’ve been up here, I’ve seen people take the proper precautions and push the little button to give them a yellow light and right of way,” Morgenroth said. “But, people still blow past them. … Most of them don’t stop for nothing, not stop signs or anything, they just drive through.”
The projects lowdown
Installing a multi-use trail near Oakwood Drive from Cedar Scenic Road to Whipple Beach Recreational Area. The city of Baxter is acquiring 30 feet of right-of-way from Crow Wing County to accommodate a proposed 12-food-wide bituminous multi-use trial, as well as pedestrian crossings and flashers near the Camp Vanasek ball field. Driveway access for future logging truck traffic will also be included.
Installing a new trail connecting the intersection of Highway 210 and Golf Course Drive. The new trail will be routed around the current Kohl’s site through right-of-way provided by the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
Included alongside the following proposals, all three projects incorporate plans for 6-inch bituminous pavement over 6 inches of aggregate base beneath, a new concrete curb and gutter, new street lighting with 40-foot poles and LED units spaced 200 feet apart, as well as replacement of sanitary sewer manhole adjustment rings and stormwater sewer.
Reconstruction of Excelsior Road from Highway 371 to 600 feet west of Cypress Drive. This would entail the construction of a 49-foot three-lane urban section with 7-foot eastbound, westbound bike lanes, a 13-foot center turn lane and a 11-foot thru lanes as well as two pedestrian crossings with flashers. Estimated costs sit at $972,600 currently.
Reconstruction of Fairview Road from Golf Course Drive to 700 feet east of the road. Included in this project is the installation of a 28-foot two-lane urban section, with 14-foot through lanes and an adjacent trail. Total estimated cost is $260,634.
Reconstruction of Golf Course Drive from Highway 210 to Excelsior Road. Crews would construct a 36-foot two-lane urban section with 7-foot bike lanes and 11-foot through lanes, as well as a 3-foot subcut for soil corrections. Total estimated costs hover at $325,639.
Footing the bill
For the 2020 summary of proposed street improvements, WSB project engineer Chris Sonmor said in a previous meeting the estimated total cost stands at $3,119,413.99 — of which, 23.5% or $732,913.61 will be funded via special assessments to adjacent properties; 21.9% or $682,157.05 will be funded via state aid funding; and the remaining 54.6% or $1,704,343 will be taken up by the city of Baxter.
$260,634.64 for Fairview Road roadway improvements.
$325,639.62 for Golf Course Drive roadway improvements.
$972,600.81 for Excelsior Drive roadway improvements.
$418,969.96 for total storm sewer improvements.
$25,915.63 for total water main improvements.
$313,990.19 for total streetlight improvements.
$28,915.63 for total traffic signal improvements.
$390,134.42 for trail improvements from Excelsior Road to Fairview Road.
$383,493.57 for the Oakwood Drive trail.
Assessments will cover 100% of reconstruction costs up to 44-feet of street width in commercial areas, while beyond 44-feet will be paid by the city. All costs for trailers, traffic signals, street lighting, storm sewer, water main and sanitary sewer will be shouldered by the city.
In terms of the Excelsior Road reconstruction, of the $972,600.81 bill the city will take up $504,223.87 and $468,376.94 will be assessed to property owners at $157.87 per linear foot.
For the Fairview Road project, the city will foot $172,720.03 (including 700 feet of Highway 210) and $87,914.61 will be assessed to property owners at $125.77 per linear foot.
To reconstruct Golf Course Drive, the city will spend $140,775.13 and property owners will pay $184,864.48 at $116.92 per linear foot for a total of $325,639.92.
In terms of the assessed portions of these costs, Sonmor said payments will be collected annually with property taxes starting in 2021, for 12 years at an interest rate determined when the bonds are sold and certified. Property owners can apply for 2021 deferements by Nov. 15, 2020. Assessment hearings will be hosted in 2020.