More than 100 gather to hear safety proposals for road where Eagan teen was killed

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For Marie Paulson, turning out for a public meeting on better safety along Diffley Road in Eagan was a personal and emotional journey Thursday night as she made her way to the Eagan Community Center.

In November, 13-year-old Patric Vitek was struck and killed while riding his bicycle on the way to school on Diffley Road.

"I was there and did go over and try to help Patric," Paulson told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS. "I was not able to do much when I got to him, but I did hold him until the ambulance arrived."

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About 100 people turned out to look over two proposed safety options for Diflley Road, both of which center around making the area safer for students at Eagan High School, a neighboring middle school and a nearby elementary school.

One plan would create a pedestrian underpass leading to the campuses of the middle and high school, and the other option is called a "road diet" which creates smaller traffic lanes, reduces speed limits and is more pedestrian-friendly.

Dakota County Comissioner Joe Atkins told KSTP there will be more meetings in the coming weeks to get as much feedback from people as possible before a final decision is made by the end of the year.

"This has been really great, and the turnout tells me people want to have a say in this as they should," Atkins said. "Right now, everybody I have talked to here tonight has supported the 'road diet' with restricted lanes, slower speeds and more pedestrian-friendly approaches."

Dakota County expects to start construction on one of the two plans and have it done sometime in 2021.