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Colored crosswalks idea to make downtown pop

The block-style crosswalks would likely be blue or green with white outlines.

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Brainerd city staff and council members talk about an initiative Monday, March 1, to paint downtown crosswalks with blue or green to help differentiate the downtown area from the rest of the city and promote walk ability. Theresa Bourke / Brainerd Dispatch

Colorful crosswalks are the latest initiative to highlight Brainerd’s downtown area and simultaneously help with parking woes.

Mayor Dave Badeaux told council members Monday, March 1, the idea came from the city’s parking commission, which was formed last year to help alleviate some of the parking issues downtown. The group talked about wayfinding, Badeaux said, and creating a more pleasant experience for people when getting out of their cars and walking.

“And one of the ways we can do that is identify an area that makes people feel as though they’re within distance of where they’re going,” he said, noting people may be more inclined to park a little farther away from their destination and walk if they still feel like they’re in the general vicinity.

The colors for the crosswalks are not yet set in stone, but staff and council members seemed to like the idea of blue and green to align with the city’s seal. Each crosswalk could be a combination of those colors, they said, or north/south streets could have one color, while east/west streets have another. There would still be white lines on the outside of the crosswalks for the sake of visibility and safety.

City Engineer Paul Sandy gave council members the idea of the design with a picture of a block-style crosswalk, where all the blocks are different colors and the outlines are still white. He said he will make up some designs showing how it would look with blues and greens to bring back to council members at their next meeting.

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A photo of multi-colored crosswalks serves as inspiration for an initiative in Brainerd to color downtown sidewalks to differentiate the area from the rest of the city. Brainerd's crosswalks would likely be green and blue. Submitted photo

To start, Badeaux said he would like to see the colored crosswalks from at least the intersection of South Ninth and Front streets to the intersection of South Fifth and Maple streets. There is always parking available on Maple and South Ninth streets, Badeaux said, so that would be a good area to highlight.

Council member Dave Pritschet said he liked the idea and liked being able to test it out on a small area at first to see how the public reacts.

Sandy this project should be fairly simple and inexpensive to accomplish, and if the colors don’t end up turning out as they hoped, the crosswalks can always be painted over.

In other business Monday, the council:

Approved an on-sale, beer wine and Sunday liquor license for Jr.’s No. 19 BBQ at 302 Washington St.

Approved a bid from Anderson Brothers Construction for the Northwest Fourth Street reconstruction project for $1,145,303.32.

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Accepted a feasibility report for a proposed reconstruction project on Jackson and Northwest Third streets and set a public hearing for the project for 7:30 p.m. April 5.

Accepted a feasibility report for a proposed improvement project on Madison Street and set a public hearing for the project for 7:30 p.m. April 5.

Appointed Toni Beiser to the Economic Development Authority.

Approved a conditional use permit for Anderson Brothers Construction to build a new maintenance facility at 11325 State Highway 210 with a height in excess of 30 feet.

Adjourned to a joint meeting with the Economic Development Authority at 5 p.m. March 8 in the city council chambers.

THERESA BOURKE may be reached at theresa.bourke@brainerddispatch.com or 218-855-5860. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DispatchTheresa .
Related Topics: GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
Theresa Bourke started working at the Dispatch in July 2018, covering Brainerd city government and area education, including Brainerd Public Schools and Central Lakes College.
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