Editor's column

I saw Robert Jones, MnDOT project manager, on the sidewalk a little over a week ago. He is in town quite often, due to the project at the intersection and the preliminary work being done now for next summer’s big Highway 14 project. So, when I saw him, I shouted out, “Hey, did you read my column?” Jones said, “I always read your column.”

How satisfying. At least someone is reading it.

That day, Jones was actually in town with a bunch of MnDOT guys who were looking at the sidewalks with their accessibility engineer. Jones said all the sidewalks along Main Street will be replaced next summer. The downtown sidewalks will have less slope when the project is completed.

The other topic we spoke about was the Main Street and First Avenue intersection. Attempting to drive across Main Street had been the topic of my column - the one I was teasing him about. He told me they would be using their yellow paint.

Have you seen the new yellow paint? MnDOT painted fresh yellow markings, at all four corners, and removed one parking stall at all four corners.

Jones sent me an email after our sidewalk conversation. He wrote, “We have heard from the public and investigated the situation, resulting in combined efforts from the city and state to make this improvement this fall. We hope this will help for site distance concerns, to allow traffic to see the pedestrians better, as well as for vehicular traffic turning onto and crossing Highway 14 from First Avenue. We believe this will be a good safety fix until our project comes through there next spring.”

Next spring/summer, when the highway project is being done, MnDOT will change the flashing crosswalk light to what they call an “envelope” system. One flasher from in front of the Edward Jones business corner will be moved in front of the First Security Bank corner. They will also add four pedestrian activation push buttons on all four corners to help pedestrians crossing Highway 14 on both the east and west side. Jones said this was also something they learned from their evaluation period of the system, “as well as input from local residents. We are working hard to make this project safe and ensure our improvements are the best they can be for the traveling public.”

See? It is kind of like my topic from last week—don’t just complain, do something about it. The same is true for safety issues you see around town. If you have a concern, talk to the people who can do something about it. Complaining and tsk-tsking to your friends will get you no where. Speak up, keep it positive, and good things happen