January 04, 2018 10:44 PM
It may be the dead of winter, but in Minnnesota, construction season is always just around the corner.
This summer in St. Paul, the city plans to upgrade pedestrian safety along a one-mile stretch on Grand Avenue from Hamline Avenue to Victoria Street.
Peg Kaiser often walks along the busy commercial district and sees the problems.
"People proceed even if they see pedestrians," she said. "They continue on their way rather than stop."
Data from the city shows five pedestrian-related crashes on this stretch of Grand Avenue since 2016.
The city hopes to stop future accidents with improved traffic signals at three intersections. Curbs will be extended at five other intersections, making the street narrower and reducing the amount of time people spend crossing.
A spokesperson from the city's public works department said it will be funded by a federal grant.
Some business owners, though, wonder if the changes are necessary.
Nick Nadeau's family has owned 1st Grand Avenue Liquors at the corner of Milton Street since 1962.
"I have been here 35 years and I have never seen an accident out here regarding pedestrians," Nadeau said.
He knows pedestrian safety is important, but worries about access to his business during the busy summer months.
"Getting around is going to be a little rough because it is populated and there's lots of cars around," Nadeau said.
The city insisted construction will be mostly minor, and that no parking spaces will be lost.
Construction is scheduled to begin after Grand Old Day in June and should end by November.
The city was hosting a public meeting Thursday night at the Linwood Community Recreation Center to address questions about the Grand Avenue project.
These changes are part of a bigger focus on improving pedestrian safety in St. Paul.
The most recent city-compiled data for 2017 showed 177 pedestrian-involved crashes, 147 injuries and three deaths through Nov. 14. The city hired a pedestrian safety coordinator in 2017, who is putting together an official plan to tackle the problem.
Updated: January 04, 2018 10:44 PM
Created: January 04, 2018 05:07 PM
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