A traffic study of five Pequot Lakes intersections will be done in May to determine vehicle and pedestrian patterns now that the four-lane Highway 371 has been open for nearly a year and a half.
The Pequot Lakes City Council voted 3-1 Tuesday, March 5, to have Widseth Smith Nolting engineering firm conduct the traffic study for no more than $20,000. Council member Mimi Swanson casting the opposing vote. Council member Jerry Akerson was not in attendance.
That decision came after a vote to do a larger traffic study of 12 city intersections for $27,475 failed 2-2. Swanson and council member Scott Pederson were opposed.
"I don't see the wisdom of conducting this traffic study at all," Swanson said, noting she foresees the city getting the data and not using it.
Pederson said the traffic study makes sense, but he questioned if it was the best use of money to include all the proposed intersections. For example, why not wait to study traffic patterns on all of Patriot Avenue until it's time to resurface the whole road, he said. Studying the downtown intersections makes sense; studying the outlying intersections doesn't make sense, he said.
Pederson and council member Cheri Seils said a traffic study would reveal whether the city-owned stoplight is needed downtown. Seils said information from the study would help the city with economic development and as it tries to sell Heart of the Good Life business lots.
Pederson said the city is looking to improve Rasmussen Road, so information is needed there. He said the council should look at the "why," or the reason, it needed the information for each proposed intersection.
The council ultimately voted 3-1 to study the following intersections:
• Second and Main streets.
• Patriot Avenue and Main Street (stoplight).
• Rasmussen Road and Main Street (four-way stop signs).
• Patriot Avenue and Woodman Street.
• Patriot Avenue and West Lake Street.
The larger traffic study proposed the intersections at the north and south ends of Patriot Avenue with Highway 371, the County State Aid Highway 11/Highway 371 interchanges (roundabouts), Patriot Avenue and Front Street, and Patriot Avenue and CSAH 17.
The primary goal of the traffic study is to provide vehicle, pedestrian and bicycle traffic data on the city's primary roads so the council can plan for current and future needs. The traffic counts will be done from May 13-24, and the council will receive the report in August.
School will still be in session, and video data will be collected on weekdays to capture "normal" travel conditions.
The council tabled action on a project to improve two blocks north and two blocks south of Rasmussen Road's intersection with Main Street for an estimated $1.2 million.
WSN had proposed to design that project for $73,900.