Safe Routes project near Harrison means less on-street parking
The proposal from city staff is to install a median as a traffic calming measure and to provide a pedestrian island for those crossing the street.
BRAINERD — On-street parking will be removed on a portion of Oak Street near Harrison Elementary School to allow for a Safe Routes to School project.
A pedestrian crossing median will be installed on Oak Street between Southeast 15th and 16th streets as a way to make the area more pedestrian friendly. The goal of the federal Safe Routes to School program is to identify improvements around schools that could be done to develop safer routes for students to walk and bike to schools.
Harrison is the latest school for which the city of Brainerd received funding through the Minnesota Department of Transportation to undertake Safe Routes to School projects.
The proposal from city staff is to install a median as a traffic calming measure and to provide a pedestrian island for those crossing the street. Also included in the plans are slight curb adjustments at the crossing locations to bump out the curbs and narrow the crossing distance.
To accommodate the median, on-street parking will have to be removed on the north side of Oak Street from Southeast 15th Street to roughly 150 feet west and from Southeast 16th Street to roughly 150 feet east.
“There’s going to be tapered areas at the west and east ends that we’ll need to shift traffic in and out of that segment of street,” City Engineer/Public Works Director Jessie Dehn told the City Council’s Safety and Public Works Committee Feb. 21.
This change will have little effect on the east side of the road, which is adjacent to the school parking lot, but would mean the removal of on-street parking for two residences on the west side. One of the properties — 1423 Oak St. — is a corner lot and will still have access to street parking on Southeast 15th Street. The other property — 1421 Oak St. — would be limited to alley parking behind the property.
“Because the council wished to keep parking available on the south side of Oak Street last fall, there really aren’t a lot of other options to shift the infrastructure to allow parking to stay in these areas,” Dehn said.
Committee Chair Mike O’Day said he was OK with the plan but noted other council members might have reservations.
In December , council members rejected a previous design for the project on a split vote. The proposal to construct an 8-foot-wide median, 12-foot travel lanes and a 6-foot-wide shoulder, eliminating parking on both sides of Oak Street between Southeast 15th and 16th streets, failed when Mayor Dave Badeaux broke a 3-3 tie on the measure. He joined Gabe Johnson, Tiffany Stenglein and Kelly Bevans in his opposition. Badeaux reiterated his long-standing support for on-street parking in lieu of parking lots and noted there are residents who voiced opposition to losing their on-street parking.
During last week’s full City Council meeting, Johnson maintained his opposition to losing on-street parking, but the measure for the new design passed 6-1, with everyone else in favor.
Those parking restrictions will go into effect June 2, as construction begins on the project.
THERESA BOURKE may be reached at email@example.com or 218-855-5860. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DispatchTheresa .